Over two years ago, a 25-year-old Brooklyn woman disappeared and was believed to have been murdered after a night of clubbing; this past April, the remains of Laura Garza were finally found in Pennsylvania. And today, the prime suspect in the case who has long been suspected of having killed Garza will be indicted in connection with the murder. The only surprising thing is how long it's taken prosecutors to be able to charge him.
Registered sex offender Michael Mele was spotted dancing with and leaving Chelsea nightclub Marquee with Garza on the night of her disappearance in December 2008. Police searched his house at the time, and found blood stains and a suspiciously missing chunk of carpeting. Mele, the son of a retired MTA Assistant Deputy Police Chief, was soon revealed as a creep of the highest order: a man who "followed women to their cars and then masturbated in front of them," someone who was described as a terrible boss and a predator by those who knew him. But without the body, police only had circumstantial evidence, and could not bring the case to trial.
Garza is currently behind bars on unrelated parole violation charges. The Orange County district attorney will hold a news conference later this afternoon to formally announce the indictment.
Garza's family is relieved with the news of the indictment. Last week, a family spokesman released a statement warning young women to be alert when they go out, "I'm begging these young ladies, please be careful when they're out there partying with their friends and loved ones. Make sure they don't take drinks from any strangers and from anyone, and even their own drinks when they put them down, make sure they're touching the drink the whole time, or throw it away because just stepping away for a second that's all they need to throw something in their drink."