Boone's body found
Published 5:40 pm Friday, April 9, 2004
By By Chuck Bodiford Publisher
After a week of searching, the family of Melba Jeanette Boone can finally have closure. The body of Boone was found on April 4, her birthday, in a wooded area of Nokomis.
On Sunday, March 28, 2004, the Atmore Police Department was made aware of Boone's disappearance when one of her sister's, June Godwin, stopped at the Police department to list Boone as missing. According to Godwin, Boone was to spend the day at her residence in Little River, but never arrived. After numerous attempts to reach her by phone, Godwin traveled to Boone's residence in Atmore only to find no sign of Boone. Godwin spoke with neighbors who said they saw Boone packing her car and confirmed that she had plans to travel to Little River. Also, the Police surveyed the outside of the home and found no signs of foul play.
That following Tuesday, Police Chief Jason Dean traveled the route, that Boone was expected to take, by both car and helicopter. The Alabama Forestry Commission also assisted in the aerial survey hoping to find some trace of Boone's Ford Taurus. Posters were put up in area restaurants, such as Church's Chicken's drive thru window, showing a picture of Boone and listing her as missing while giving facts such as her height, weight and her vehicle's description.
According to a press release prepared by Major Mike Murphy, Chief Deputy of the Escambia County Sheriff's Department, Boone was located at approximately 9:30 a.m. on Sunday morning by a group of local hunters. The hunters found Boone and her 1995 gray Ford Taurus in a wooded area off of Timber Lane in the Nokomis Community. According to Murphy, "Both Atmore PD and the Escambia County Sheriff's Office responded to the call once it was received." The hunters of the local hunting club took Sheriff Grover W. Smith, Atmore Police Chief Jason Dean and Major Mike Murphy to the location in the woods where Boone's body was found.
Indications are that Boone apparently became confused in the area that she was driving. Boone's vehicle was bogged down in some sand and her body was found within 10 yards of her vehicle. There is no indication that foul play was involved. Three different entrances are available into the hunting club and many dirt roads within it, which makes it easy to get lost.
The Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences in Mobile was called to assist process the scene. The forensic pathologist who was at the scene indicated that Boone's death was consistent with natural causes, however, an autopsy would be preformed to determine the exact cause of death. Murphy stated, "Ms. Boone apparently tried digging the front wheels out of the sand and even tried using small tree limbs to get her vehicle free. This is just a bad situation; she couldn't survive the conditions she found herself in out there."
Sheriff Grover W. Smith stated," the Atmore Police Department did an excellent job on the preliminary investigation."
Jason Dean, Atmore Chief of Police said, ". I appreciate all the help the following agencies provided with the search for Ms. Boone, the Alabama Forestry Commission, the Alabama State Troopers, and the Sheriff's Department. I am relieved she (Boone) was located, but I hate it was under these circumstances."