Gabby Petito’s Father Reacts After Search For Missing Mom Ends With Dead Body & Husband In Jail

An unfortunate update to this disappearance case…

Melissa Molinari, the 38-year-old New York mother of five who had been missing for weeks, was sadly found dead on Thursday.

Per multiple reports, her body was discovered by Suffolk County police in the Rocky Point Barrens State Forest in Long Island, New York, almost a week after a friend filed a missing person’s report. While no other details were announced about the situation at first, WABC reports that authorities announced that they arrested and charged her 43-year-old husband Marcello Molinari with second-degree murder, later stating they believe he planned the crime for weeks.

As we previously reported, Melissa had been last seen on November 21 when she left her car at her Centereach home. She was subsequently reported missing on December 2. When authorities started investigating her disappearance, they didn’t say whether or not it was suspicious in nature. But now, clearly, things have changed.

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According to WABC, police believe she was killed in the couple’s basement, as a search of the home uncovered traces of blood and other evidence in the space. The GPS on Marcello’s phone also showed that he was in the Pine Barrens Rocky Point Park, where his wife’s body was found, on the morning of November 23. Authorities believe he stabbed Melissa roughly 20 times in the torso.

Just awful…

As for the motive, prosecutors claim that Melissa and Marcello ended their family trip to Disney World early in the beginning of November when he learned she was having an affair. After that, they say, the father began plotting her murder. He even allegedly planned on possibly being caught — online searches from his phone showed him looking up locations where he wouldn’t be extradited.

His attorney Christopher Gioe issued a statement to WABC following the arrest, saying:

“The charges were here at the courthouse. The first time he was given an attorney was here at the courthouse. He’s informed me that he has asked for an attorney from the beginning of this investigation and he was denied the entire time. There’s certainly going to be an investigation conducted by the defense in this case and we’re certainly going to proceed forward with a trial in this manner.”

So they’re putting the system on trial. If police really did deny him a lawyer, leading to him getting off, that would be a real tragedy. Marcello is currently being held without bail.

During the investigation, Joseph Petito — the father of Gabby Petito, who disappeared and died after a cross-country road trip with her fiancé Brian Laundrie earlier this year — actually helped search efforts. Sharing her information on social media, he pleaded with his followers on social media to help find her. In the weeks since his daughter was killed, he has become an advocate for missing persons and in particular victims of domestic violence.

When the heartbreaking news broke that police found her dead — and that her own husband had been arrested — he reacted passionately on Twitter, writing:

“Why? Why do we keep doing the same thing and expecting a different result? We have to teach our young ones better to stop the cycle. #DomesticViolence #TogetherWeCan #melissamolinari”

We’re keeping Melissa’s children in our thoughts during this tragic time.

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