ECSO assessing McGhee mystery

Published 9:53 pm Wednesday, February 15, 2006

By By Adam Prestridge
In an effort to breathe new life into the investigation of the disappearance of Melinda McGhee from her home on Kent Road in Atmore three years ago, the Escambia County Sheriff's Office is bringing in a cold case investigator.
According to sheriff Grover Smith, Tommy Calhoun, a retired Commander of the Criminal Investigative Division for the Mobile County District Attorney's Office, has reviewed the entire case file on the puzzling disappearance and has already helped develop a new direction for the investigation.
"Tommy is recognized as one of the very best investigators in this state, especially on cold cases and I consider ourselves very fortunate to have his assistance," Smith said. "I want to thank Mobile County District Attorney John Tyson for graciously allowing Tommy to work with us on the McGhee case and Mobile Police Chief Sam Cochran for recommending Tommy."
McGhee disappeared from her home on Kent Road in Atmore on March 24, 2003 after an all-night nursing shift at Oakland Nursing Home in Bay Minette. Smith stated in previous interviews that the 31-year-old mother of three worked 12-hour nights at the nursing home and at 7 or 8 that morning she called her mother to tell her that she was going home to sleep.
Her husband worked days at Masland Carpet and was already at work when his wife returned home. He picked up their children from school that afternoon and returned to the house to find Melinda missing.
"That afternoon he went home with the kids and one of the children went ahead of him inside," Smith said in a prior interview. "The child came back out and said there was blood. He (the husband) went in and saw signs of a struggle and called the sheriff's office."
Nothing else added up. Her car was parked near the house and the keys were locked inside, her purse and her phone were all at home as well.
The Escambia County Sheriff's Department, Alabama Bureau of Investigations, nearly a dozen other local agencies came to investigate, aid the investigation, or help in searching for McGhee, but all leads faded.
Since that time the department has interviewed hundreds of people in the hopes that they could shed new light on the case. Smith hopes Calhoun's expertise will help solve this mystery.
"Once again, I ask that anyone with information about Melinda's disappearance to come forward," Smith said. "If you think you know something that may help the investigation I urge you to contact someone in law enforcement immediately."
If you have any information on the Melinda McGhee disappearance contact the Escambia County Sheriff's Office at 368-4779.

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