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  1. #1
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    FL - Melinda Harder, 30, St Petersburg, 27 July 1980

    http://www.charleyproject.org/cases/...r_melinda.html

    http://blogs.tampabay.com/breakingne...al-remain.html

    October 15, 2008

    Skeletal remains found in 1989 identified as St. Petersburg woman missing since 1980

    ST. PETERSBURG -- Skeletal remains found in Maximo Park in March 1989 have been identified as a woman who went missing in 1980, according to the St. Petersburg Police Department.
    On the evening of July 26, 1980, police said, Melinda Harder, 30, of 2136 23rd Ave. N in St. Petersburg went out with her sister-in-law while her ex-husband watched her three children. When the two women returned home, Harder walked to her boyfriend's house in the area of 17th Street and 20th Avenue N, police said. She never came back, and a missing persons report was filed the next day.

    Nine years later, a bulldozer clearing brush from an area in Maximo Park, 6500 34th St. S, uncovered a rolled-up carpet containing the bones of a female, police said. There were no signs of trauma, but the Medical Examiners Office said the cause of death was homicidal violence. The manner of death and her identity was undetermined.
    Using the bones as a guide, a clay composite of the unidentified woman was reconstructed and sent to law enforcement agencies across the country. Brenda Stevenson, a St. Petersburg Police civilian investigator assigned to the homicide unit who routinely revisits cold cases, submitted forensic evidence of the remains to the FBI. Police said Stevenson then reviewed an FBI list of missing white females over a 10 year period from when the bones were found. She noticed that the Maximo Park clay composite looked a lot like a photo of missing Melinda Harder. Stevenson waited more than a year for DNA results.
    Based on cheek swabs from Harder's daughter and mother, police said, the DNA proved Stevenson's suspicions.
    There are no known suspects in Harder's homicide. St. Petersburg Police are now seeking clues about how she died. Police ask that anyone with information call the department at (727) 893-7780 or the confidential tip line at (727) 892-5000.
    Cindi Lou


    Some people may consider me crazy, I say I'm just inspired.

  2. #2
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    I'm so glad that her family finally knows where she is but my gosh, did that take a long time. I wish there would have been something on Doe Network about unidentified remains as well as the clay composite. I'm sure one of the WS' would have figured out who she was long ago! Glad to hear she's found but would like to now know who killed her. I wonder if they looked or are looking at the boyfriend?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucy's mom View Post
    I'm so glad that her family finally knows where she is but my gosh, did that take a long time. I wish there would have been something on Doe Network about unidentified remains as well as the clay composite. I'm sure one of the WS' would have figured out who she was long ago! Glad to hear she's found but would like to now know who killed her. I wonder if they looked or are looking at the boyfriend?
    Yes, the fact that she was found rolled up in carpet makes me suspicious that it was someone she knew and went to their home. It has been so long now I wonder if the same carpet would be in the boyfriends house now or if he or his family lives there after all this time.
    Cindi Lou


    Some people may consider me crazy, I say I'm just inspired.

  4. #4
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    Hi

    This is very good they found out who she is.I always use to think this Jane Doe(I heard about her many years ago)was a victim of Bobby Joe Long (A serial Killer in Tampa Florida)In this link it says this?Is this unidentified girl still unidentified today?


    http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/s...ong/index.html


    Then other bodies were found.

    Bobby Joe Long, 1984


    On November 19, 1984, a woman's corpse floated up in the
    ALL EVIL NEEDS TO SUCCEED IS FOR GOOD PEOPLE TO DO NOTHING!!!!

  5. #5
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    In this link it says this?Is this unidentified girl still unidentified today?


    On November 19, 1984, a woman's corpse floated up in the Hillsborough River. She had been strangled with some type of device. She was never identified, but she fit Long's profile.
    ALL EVIL NEEDS TO SUCCEED IS FOR GOOD PEOPLE TO DO NOTHING!!!!

  6. #6
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    From October 2008:

    http://www.starnewsonline.com/articl...CLES/810162995

    While growing up in Florida, Monica Caison felt crime was all around. Children walked in groups or with a dog and always knew where a safe house was in case there was trouble. Despite the precautions, when Caison was a teenager the danger hit home. Her friends’ older sister vanished. Melinda Harder was 21 when she was last seen the night of July 26, 1980, walking to her boyfriend’s house...

    For years, she avoided the case – searching for someone she knew seemed different... Finally three years ago, Caison met with Harder’s mother, Joan Wells, 73, to review the cold case... Caison told Wacker to put family DNA in a national database...

    This month, a detective with the St. Petersburg Police Department told Wacker they’d found a match with the family’s DNA. Harder was a Jane Doe, a woman found killed, with an unknown cause of death. A bulldozer, clearing brush, found her body in 1989.
    From January 2009:

    http://www.tampabay.com/news/obituar...ars-ago/971788

    Harder, 21, left her home that night on foot, perhaps to head to a boyfriend's. She had been to a bar earlier that night... One police officer told the St. Petersburg Times he was certain Harder had just partied too long. "We aren't even looking into it," the officer said. "The whole thing has been exploited by the news media"...

    In 1989, authorities found a body in Maximo Park, just north of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Again, Harder's family watched as bulldozers scraped the earth, uncovering a skeleton, its wrists bound with stockings. An analysis said the body was probably that of a young black woman. Disappointed, they put it out of their minds...

    On the afternoon of Oct. 9, a police van with two detectives pulled up... The officers had come to tell Wacker that her DNA had been matched to a body. The skeleton unearthed in Maximo Park was her mother.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by OkieGranny View Post
    Hands where tied with stockings makes me think of a serial killer. How awful that the police though she was just "partying too hard" and disappeared on her own accord is that I make of that.
    Cindi Lou


    Some people may consider me crazy, I say I'm just inspired.

  8. #8
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    It does not surprise me that Billy Mansfield allegedly confessed to her murder. She apparently wasn't one of the unidentified Does they found on his property. http://www.tampabay.com/news/publics...sappear/856933
    Cindi Lou


    Some people may consider me crazy, I say I'm just inspired.

  9. #9
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    He did like brown hair parted in the middle.

    He supposedly was not adverse to transporting victims to nearby relatives homes. (I don't believe the pond near his cousin's home was searched.) A family member rented a home nearby at the time of the murder.

    Does anyone know which section of the current Maximo Park that she was located in? I am trying to pinpoint the exact location. They mention bulldozers found her. I am wondering if they were working around the area of the park near the disc course or pavilions.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by strangenurse View Post
    Does anyone know which section of the current Maximo Park that she was located in? I am trying to pinpoint the exact location.
    Welcome to Websleuths strangenurse! I'm not sure if this helps you pinpoint a more exact location, but

    In 1989, authorities found a body in Maximo Park, just north of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.
    http://www.tampabay.com/news/obituar...ars-ago/971788

    I'll keep looking for more information about the circumstances surrounding the discovery of her remains.


  11. #11
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    Thank you for the welcome! At the time of her disappearance, the area was quite different. I am trying to determine if they were clearing the area for the pavilions and disc course with the bulldozer. That would place her close to the entrance of the park.

    Thank you for your help.

  12. #12
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    I will keep looking, but hopefully someone with better skills than I have will be able to answer your question. I'm not at all familiar with the area, sorry I wasn't any help! It's always nice to see a new face in the Cold Case area.



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