January 31, 1996, was a particularly frigid winter day in Bolingbrook, Illinois. Facing -20°F weather and not wanting to leave the warmth of her bed, 13-year-old Rachel Marie Mellon decided to stay home from school and rest her sore throat. Rachel’s mother, Amy, left for work early that morning; she kissed her daughter goodbye unaware it would be her last time.
According to The Charley Project, when Amy returned home at 5 pm, Rachel was nowhere to be found and her unemployed stepfather, Vince Mellon, claimed he had no idea the 7th grader was even missing. Amy called all of Rachel’s friends but no one had seen her; she frantically dialled 911 and reported the teen missing.
When authorities attended the Mellon home they found Vince covered in scratches; he claimed he injured himself while repairing his vehicle.
Vince told authorities he spent the afternoon playing Nintendo with Rachel in the living room. After she fell asleep on the couch at 2:30 pm, he took the family German Shepherd, Duke, on a walk. Vince claimed the leash slipped out of his hand and the dog went chasing after a rabbit, causing him to be late.
Vince claimed he left the door unlocked and when he returned home at 3, Rachel was no longer lying on the couch covered in a blue blanket as he had left her. Rather than check the house for his stepdaughter, Vince assumed Rachel was in her bedroom and went about his day.
According to The Morbid Library, Rachel’s winter coat, shoes, and purse were all left behind while two pillows and the blue blanket were missing from the home. At the time of her disappearance, she was wearing a pink top, yellow sweatpants and red house slippers and likely wouldn’t have survived long in the cold.
While searching for clues, detectives stumbled upon a disturbing entry in Rachel’s diary. Months prior to her disappearance, she wrote her stepfather had kissed and touched her inappropriately. She ran away from home around that time but returned a few days later. According to authorities, Vince failed a polygraph test regarding Rachel’s whereabouts and has a history of domestic violence.
The investigation was reignited when Rachel’s case appeared on an episode of America’s Most Wanted. On January 29, 2000, authorities served Vince with a warrant for his DNA. After nine hours of questioning, he was released. A few days later, the Mellons were forced to attend a grand jury hearing. No charges were filed as a result and 25 years later, Rachel remains missing.
Vince and Amy separated for a brief period following Rachel’s disappearance but later got back together and moved away to Tennessee.
According to The Charley Project, Rachel’s biological father, Jeff Skemp, lived in Dallas, Texas at the time of her disappearance. Jeff and Amy Mellon separated when Rachel was just a toddler. He told local news outlets he believes Rachel was met with foul play and claims he knows the person responsible for the teen’s disappearance.
“Whoever did this, and I have my suspicions about what happened, did a really good job of covering up. I think that if the police searched, their (the Mellon) garage the night that they first got called there, especially knowing how many times they’ve been called to that house, if they searched that garage and opened up the trunk of that car that didn’t run, I bet they find her, right then and there.” — Jeff Skemp
Jeff runs Remembering Rachel, a site dedicated to spreading information about his daughter’s disappearance. He has kept the same home phone number ever since, in the hopes she is still alive.
Rachel was an honour student at Warn Middle School. She was described as a silly, fun-loving girl with an old soul and a big heart whose favourite subject was science. She loved nature and encouraged others to recycle. Rachel was 5'0" and weighed 80 lbs. She was of mixed-race ethnicity; her mother is Filipino while her father is Caucasian. If alive, she would be 39 today.
If you have any information regarding the disappearance of Rachel Marie Mellon, contact the Bolingbrook Police Department at 630 226 8620.