Taunton’s Debra Melo still missing, 20 years later

Taunton's Debra Melo still missing, 20 years later

TAUNTON, Mass. — Every time I drive along Route 18 in Weymouth, I think about Debra Melo.

I have been covering Debra Melo’s case from the very beginning. And it has always bothered me.

It was on Route 18, on the afternoon of June 20, 2000, that the pretty Taunton mother of two simply vanished after supposedly getting into an argument with her husband, Luis Melo.

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Two decades have come and gone since that day, and there is still not one single piece of evidence to tell anyone what happened to Debra and where she is right now.

On Wednesday, I spoke to Patricia White, Debra’s sister.

Patricia described for me a heartache that has only grown over the passage of time.

“As I drive, wherever I go, I go by woods, if I do any of that. It’s constantly on my mind,” White said. It’s one of those things that will never go away until she is found.”

Luis Melo told police that he and his wife argued over money after she visited a dermatologist’s office.

Luis said Debra ordered him to pull over the car so she could get out.

He said he did, and Debra stormed off and was never seen again.

Patricia White tells me her sister left behind her cellphone and her wallet, including her identification, in her husband’s car.

Patricia is confident her sister did not voluntarily run away.

“She would have told me if she was taking off. And leaving. She never said anything,‘' White said.

Steve D’Amoura is Debra’s brother-in-law.

He tells me Luis and Debra had a volatile relationship, and that at the time of her disappearance, Debra was making plans.

“She already told us, ‘I’m going to get a divorce, I’m keeping the house, I’m taking the kids, he’s going to move out,’” D’Amoura tells me.

I tried to reach out to Luis Melo through a family member, but I was told, in no uncertain terms, that Luis was not interested in talking to me.

Twenty years.

Debra Melo is somewhere; people don’t simply vanish into thin air.

But where?

“I need to know,” Patricia White said. “I mean it’s 20 years, we need to know what happened to Debra. And we need to know where she is to bring her home.”

Call Massachusetts State Police if you can help.