This was a case a friend of mine asked me to look into. While he didn’t know Melissa all that well, he was introduced to her at a party and spoke to her a few times over the phone the summer of 1988. Although they didn’t become good friends and only spoke to her briefly a few times, when he learned of her disappearance years later, it stunned him and stuck with him ever since. Sadly, this was a case I couldn’t find anything on. Nothing. I couldn’t even get a few names of people that might have information. Based on what I could tell, most—if not all, members of her immediate family are deceased and what few distant relatives she has remaining are incarcerated. I can honestly say, this is one case that I could get nothing on.
I reached out to some folks I know in the Lockport and in New Lennox to see what they could find as far as records and newspaper articles. Then I talked to a couple of old friends in Joliet to see if they could get anything on Melissa. Since Lockport is only thirty minutes away, I decided to meet up with them and visit some places where I thought I might be able to get some information. Nothing. One troubling revelation that I could not confirm for a fact from law enforcement, was that informants and acquaintances of hers allegedly had heard that Melissa was killed and dismembered by a tree grinder/woodchipper.
It is my hope that someone will read this, like many of the other cases and provide me with some information or someone I could get some background information on Melissa, so that we can create awareness that this case deserves and desperately needs.
Today when someone goes missing or is senselessly murdered, even if the media doesn’t pick up the story or that person doesn’t have close family to push and get their story out there, social media and true crime junkies are those who might just keep their story alive. Just one person who devotes even a few minutes of their time— might be the only thing stopping someone from falling into the void of being forever lost, a purgatory that maybe only a select few may have of faded memory of. Ultimately, at least some information is out there about them that hopefully someone can find who just might have pull, resources or the ability to make their story known. Today a person can just write a post on social media, a website, blog or even copy & paste a small story they read on a message board, and a record of that person exists, possibly forever, waiting for someone to come across it who may be able to contribute a little more. Perhaps just enough to spark a mind, inspire or remind the right person.
It’s troubling researching a particular case— murder or missing person especially and hardly any information is available. If you’re lucky, you’ll find a newspaper clipping with three or four lines. Most people want to believe that all cases are treated equal, investigator’s number one priority. No biases or misconceptions. Neutral and determined to solve the case for justice and justice alone, passing no judgement on the victim. After all, who better to understanding that you’d expect the same if it was your loved one.
Sadly, we all already know that’s often not the case.
There was a time not so long ago, that if local newspapers or television stations didn’t mention the abduction, disappearance and/or murder of someone, there is little, if any record of it today. Even just twenty or thirty years ago, hundreds of cases that were covered in newspapers— some even popular; got lost over time. Time is the biggest threat to history and one’s existence. Newspapers slowly die today, but decades ago many didn’t survive either. These companies restructured, merged, went bankrupt and sometimes just quit. While many locked away volumes of content in libraries, courthouses, city and town halls— decades of records and articles in an attempt to preserve history on the local level, it was all virtually printed on the cheapest paper possible not meant to last long. Besides, it seems like every courthouse, county and city records building, library and old newspaper press caught fire or flooded every couple decades destroying valuable irreplaceable history. Once people age, their memories fade and eventually a generation dies out. No longer can someone speak as a witness to an event.
Even though technology has evolved that now preserves history good, bad & ugly, intended or not, effortlessly cementing one’s existence and legacy for one to seek or even stumble upon; a horrible element that has lasted for thousands of generations still exists to this very day. No, its not just the view or agenda of the winning side either. Whether we’d like to believe or admit it or not… people are still marginalized, victims are still blamed, certain communities are profiled and yes, missing white woman syndrome is real.
Many teenagers, young men and women are almost immediately forgotten when they become the victims of violent crime, regardless of the reason why. For that reason alone, there is little press coverage and minimal police commitment and/or incentive to resolve murders or abductions solely because the victims are immediately “profiled” and classified as runaways, prostitutes, sluts, drug addicts/dealers and/or gangbangers. True or not (and most often its not), what is infuriating is that individuals classified by law enforcement in those very categories are at the highest risk… they’re not just “more likely” to become victims of sexual assault, abduction, murder or violence— the vast majority already have been sexually assaulted, abused, beaten and robbed. Once an individual is labeled a gang member, investigators often assume they have runaway and are being sheltered and protected by the gang. Its not different than when a teenage girl who has a history of running away from home, police will assume it has happened again.
Those in law enforcement, sleuthers and the True Crime community overall, all know the first 48 hours are critical in locating an endangered missing person. After the first 48 hours, the odds of finding them alive plummets. Same goes for when one is murdered or a woman is raped. Locating the crime scene, obtaining and preserving evidence and locating the suspect within the first 48 hours is c. After that, the odds of catching them and obtaining crucial evidence for conviction dramatically decreases. Sadly, in the eighties and nineties, it was policy at the vast majority of law enforcement agencies across the nation to not even take a report until after a person has not been seen or heard from least 24 hours. Other agencies’ official policy were that a person had to be missing for at least 48 hours and some it was 72 hours. Unfortunately, valuable time was already lost in those cases. So victims, never had a chance.
The Disappearance of Melissa Ann Page is one of those examples.
I reached out to some folks I know in the Lockport and New Lennox area and talked to a couple old friends in Joliet to see if they could get anything on Melissa. Since Lockport is only thirty minutes away, I decided to meet up with a couple friends and visit some places where I thought I might be able to get some information. Nothing. One troubling revelation that I could not confirm for a fact from law enforcement, was that informants and acquaintances of hers had heard that Melissa was killed and dismembered by a tree grinder/woodchipper.
Melissa Ann Page was born June 14, 1967, aside from that, little is known about her or been publicly released. According to investigators and the media, it was well known that Melissa associated with drug dealers & gang members from in and around Joliet, Illinois. That is the only clue investigators have released, and it is believed that those she associated with may have murdered her.
On September 17, 1990, Melissa Ann Page was seen at the Oasis Tavern, a bar she frequented in Lockport, Illinois. Early reports from years ago indicated she was at the tavern with two known local drug dealers. Later reports state they (two drug dealers) came into Oasis Tavern had a few drinks and she left with them a short time later. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary except that after she left, she was never seen again.
According to police, Melissa Ann Page was last seen wearing black overalls with a white blouse, a black leather jacket on and black shoes.
Melissa Ann Page is a black female, 5’6″, petite weighing 105 lbs at the time of her disappearance. She has black hair and brown eyes. One distinguishing characteristic is that she has a scar over her right eye.
If you have any information on Melissa Ann Page, her whereabouts or information regarding her disappearance, please contact the Will County Sheriff’s Department at 815-727-8575
Resources and Further Reading
- The Charley Project – Melissa Ann Page
- Illinois State Police – Melissa Ann Page
- The Doe Network – Melissa Ann Page