Melinda Davis of Mansfield Ohio went missing on February 25. Her body was found more than two weeks later in the trunk of a car.
Trigger warning: Contains details of domestic abuse that may be distressing to some.
Violence against women has been on the rise and the number of victims continues to pile up. Whether it's 33-year-old Sarah Everard in London or 33-year-old Melinda Kay Davis from Ohio, the wave of violence against our kind has been appalling. Melinda Davis was a mother-of-four who went missing on February 25. Her body was found more than two weeks later in the trunk of a car.
Unlike Sarah, Melinda knew the man suspected of kidnapping and killing her. The American mom also knew that her ex-boyfriend was bad news when she decided to return to his place to collect her things. She had alerted her friend about what she was going to do, just like Sarah had checked in with her boyfriend before walking home. In both instances, the perpetrators were men, and still, we continue to tell the women that it was their fault for being attacked.
Whether we take precautions or not doesn't seem to matter when someone decides to target us. Melinda of Shelby was last heard from when she was going to Mansfield to pick up her things that had been left behind at the home of her ex-boyfriend, John Mack Jr., 43, according to the Richland County Sheriff's Office. Before arriving at John's home, she called a friend, saying, "If you don't hear from me, call the police," according to court documents obtained by the Mansfield News Journal.
The mom-of-4's friend, Paula Littlefield, said that Melinda's message had worried her. "She said, 'I'm almost to Johnny's house,'" she told News 5 Cleveland. "'If you don't hear from me in a few hours, something may have gone wrong.' I said, 'Oh my gosh, you've got me freaked out.'" Melinda had also instructed her to call the police.
Paula waited for her friend to call but the phone call never came. Melinda was reported missing after failing to show up for breakfast with her niece. Paula drove to John's home to look for her friend. "When I pulled onto the road, I saw a sheriff’s car and Melinda’s niece and I knew, I knew something was wrong," she said.
Melinda's family, friends, and volunteers in the community joined the police to look for her and her black Volkswagen Jetta. They also offered a $10,000 reward for a tip about her location. They were hoping to find her alive and well, but tragedy had already struck.
Her body was found on March 15 in the trunk of her car at an apartment complex near Galloway, Ohio. The Richland County Sheriff J. Steve Sheldon said that a tip from a citizen helped them find her body, according to the Mansfield News Journal. The police were called by a coworker of John, who found the vehicle after his coworkers came looking for the car in the complex since employees sometimes park there to avoid parking fees. The apartment complex is only half a mile away from the J.B. Hunt Transport Services, where Mack Jr. worked as a truck driver.
Tiffany Kyser, who lives about two miles from Galloway, said she had observed the car being parked there since it didn't belong to anyone she knew of. She also took a video in the parking lot on February 27 and it shows the Jetta in the background. "I get in my car to smoke a lot of times," she said. "What if she was alive and I was right there?" This is a horrifying situation everyone woman is scared of finding themselves in.
Tiffany also said that she didn't notice a smell but it appeared messy. So, she had glanced inside to make sure nobody was sleeping there. She added that an official with the U.S. Marshals Service looked at footage from her security camera, but the spot where the car was parked didn't get captured. She said she feels terrible for not being more vigilant or calling the police herself. "What could I have done?" she said. "She was right beside me."
John, his son and son's wife, were arrested on March 1, reported People. John was charged with kidnapping in connection with Melinda's disappearance. However, authorities found blood evidence in his home. He was arraigned in Mansfield Municipal Court on the kidnapping charge. He pleaded not guilty. He is likely going to be charged with more serious crimes now.
Cover image source: Shelby Ohio Police Department