Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance
Details of Disappearance
Melissa Rodriguez, from Delaware County, Pa., disappeared on April 19, 2013 after planning a trip to Newark, New Jersey to visit friends. Supposedly, the last phone call that the then 30-year-old mother of two made that afternoon was to her estranged husband, Jose Rodriguez, alerting him of her planned trip.
The family says she was heading to the 69th Street Terminal to take the train to 30th Street Station, where she planned to pick up an Amtrak line from there. She typically packed her things in a black weekend bag and took Amtrak to New Jersey, where her friends would pick her up. Jose Rodriguez told police his wife's weekend bag was pink.
After not hearing from her all weekend, her husband sent her a text message on Monday, April 22nd with no response. Her husband says he received a call from their children’s school on Monday advising him that she never picked them up. She never showed up to her new job which she was supposed to start on Monday.
Friends who were waiting for Melissa said she never arrived in Newark. She's been missing ever since. Rodriguez’s vehicle was found parked at her residence in Collingdale.
According to family it would be uncharacteristic of Melissa to go away without communicating with her family, especially her daughters.
Police searched Jose's work truck, and brought cadaver dogs and diggers to search for evidence at the home, but came up empty-handed. After reporting his wife missing, Jose retained a criminal defense attorney and reportedly moved to New Jersey with the couple's children.
Police have been called to the Rodriguez home in the past for domestic disturbances. Less than two months before Melissa Rodriguez disappeared, she applied for a protection from abuse order, which was denied. In court documents filed in connection with her disappearance, it was revealed that she had discovered her husband had a second family in New Jersey.
According to several friends, Jose Louis Rodriguez controlled his wife by refusing to give her money or credit cards and at times taking her Amtrak rail pass and hiding it from her, according to the court document. Police were called to the couple's home on Lafayette Avenue on Feb. 25 when Melissa Rodriguez attempted to leave her husband.
Jose Rodriguez is reportedly the last person to have seen the young mother, telling police he was with her the morning of April 19 as she readied their daughters for school. He initially told police he left for work before his wife left with the two girls, but later changed his story saying he watched her leave with the children, the affidavit states. He said he has not seen or heard from her since. Two days before Rodriguez reported her missing, a co-worker says he showed up unannounced at the Amtrak site where he works in New Brunswick and asked to take two mop heads and a gallon of interior concentrate cleaner, but he did not say what it was for.
On April 25, investigators obtained information from AT&T for Melissa Rodriguez’s mobile phone. The information indicated the phone had been turned off on April 19 and was still off when the request for information was made. In his one and only interview with police, Rodriguez allegedly told detectives he had spoken with Melissa several times that weekend. However, phone records don’t show any calls between the two, police said.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Collingdale Police Department