Never give up hope
It seems like only yesterday, but 370 days ago, our town became involved in a mystery that still haunts us to this day. How can so few days seem to span an eternity, a question which can really only be answered by the family and friends of Melinda Wall McGhee.
March 24, 2004 marked the one year anniversary of Melinda's disappearance from her home on Kent Road. That morning seemed to start off just as normal as any other day had. She came home after work, called her mom and her husband, and then was going to lie down and rest. After that it is anyone's guess as to what actually occurred, and even though that day started like any other, it would end like no other experienced by the McGhee family.
There can always be hope for Melinda's safe return, and that hope should continue. Throughout the year many events were held in an attempt to discover Melinda and help assist her family through this difficult time. A search would be conducted where over 250 people would come out to help local law enforcement officials in their search. Seven days later $5,000 was raised to help assist her family and later Governor Bob Riley would issue a reward for that same sum of $5,000. Now five days ago, over 60 people attended a candlelight vigil in honor of Melinda. The lighting of a candle and a simply prayer for Melinda was all that was asked from her family to those attending the vigil at Cross Point Baptist Church last Wednesday.
We will never know the pain or the emotions being felt by those closest to Melinda, but what we do know is that this is a community that cares for her and hope must never be lost. Remember Elizabeth Smart, a 14 year old girl taken from her home as she and her family slept back in June of 2002. Nine months – almost a year later – she was found and reunited with her family. Miracles do exist and we hope that as you remember each candle being lit for Melinda that you remember how the darkness was diminished by the light. Family and friends of Melinda, residents of Atmore, never give up hope. We offer our prayers to her that she will return to those that love her most.
If you have any information on the disappearance of Melinda Wall McGhee, please contact the Escambia County Sheriff's Department at (251) 809-0741.