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    Shannon Melendi’s family is fighting to receive justice.

    Who was Shannon Melendi?

    Shannon Melendi, a 19-year-old goalkeeper at Atlanta’s Softball Country Club, was kidnapped while on the field on March 26, 1994. It has been more than 25 years since Shannon Melendi, then 19 years old, disappeared and never returned.

    She grew up in Miami, Florida, where she was a member of the local soccer team and her high school debating team. Her parents told 11Alive News in 2020 that her dreams and ambitions extended beyond her home. Her father, Luis Melendi, said, “every time I see a missing girl on the news, it brings up all kinds of awful memories.” “She wanted to join the Navy in the JAG Corps, and her whole plan was to go to Washington,” her mother, Yvonne, stated. “She had a dream to be on the Supreme Court. And I don’t doubt that she could have made it. “

    What happened to Shannon Melendi?

    Shannon Melendi was last seen alive at a softball field in DeKalb County, Georgia, where she was working in  March 1994. The next day, authorities received a call from someone claiming to be Shannon Melendi. According to police, who traced the call to a phone booth. They later found her car parked outside a gas station with the keys inside. Melendi’s rings were wrapped in tape inside a bag containing cobalt traces. The evidence was linked back to Butch Hinton, an umpire at the same softball field where Melendi worked.

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    Responders arrived at Hinton’s house, which had caught fire just before the connection was made, and he was charged with attempting to destroy a crime scene. He was sentenced to seven years in jail for insurance fraud and arson. Still, the evidence discovered in his backyard perplexed prosecutors police and “scared the dickens out of the jury,” according to Petrey.

    The investigator told the sources, “Buried in (Hinton’s) back yard– and we were amazed at that… Sweaters, clothing that was found in a variety of sizes. It was way too small for his wife. Skirts, sweaters, blouses, buried. It was bizarre.”
    Despite their efforts, detectives were unable to recover Melendi’s body.

    Hinton first denied any involvement in Melendi’s kidnapping, and when he was found guilty of Shannon Melendi’s murder by a jury in 2005, he appealed the decision. After his appeal had been denied, he confessed to rapping and murdering Melendi, though he never told prosecutors or police where she was buried.

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    Petrey stated, “Hinton raped her, left her tied up, went to a movie with, I think, some nieces and nephews… came back, checked on her again, gave her a glass of water, raped her again, strangled her, and killed her.”

    Hinton was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole for the murder of Shannon Melendi. According to Georgia’s judicial system, Hinton is eligible for parole every seven years, with his next date set for 2025.
    Luis Melendi explained, “We looked into Hinton and his jail experience, which was not a life sentence because 80 percent of Georgia killers escape after 20 years.” Melendi’s family sought to keep Hinton in prison, and a majority vote made a review board’s decision.

    Read Also – Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla dies at age 77

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