December 8th, 2008
03:06 PM ET

Laura goes missing

Gabriel Falcon
AC360 Writer

The Marquee Night Club in NYC bills itself as a premiere hot spot. It is a place for big stars…and the star-struck.

But just before dawn last Wednesday, this upscale lounge was the setting for an encounter between a convicted sex offender and a young woman – new to New York City- who hasn't been seen since.

The disappearance of Laura Garza, a 25-year-old transplant from Texas, has been splashed across the front pages of New York's local newspapers over speculation that what began as a mystery could in fact turn into a case of murder.

Right now, police are focusing their attention on this sex offender named Michael Mele. He owns a Quiznos franchise in upstate New York. He reportedly may have been trying to destroy evidence connecting him to Ms. Garza. According to the New York Daily News, investigators say large patches of rug were removed from Mele's home when they investigated over the weekend.

But there is more. The Daily News says Mele had scratch marks on his neck and bite marks on his hands. They also recovered a machete and a woman's shoe from a dumpster near his home in Upstate NY.

Mele has not been charged with any crime as of now. The 23-year-old is, however, in custody on an unrelated probation violation.

Security cameras from the Marquee apparently captured Mele and Garza getting cozy inside the club. CCTV cams also captured Mele and Garza leaving together last Wednesday night, the night she was last seen.

Garza lives in Brooklyn. She is described as a bright, beautiful young woman by those who knew her. Question is: Will she ever be seen again?

Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Gabe Falcon
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Bev

    Another monster on the prowl. With a previous record like his perhaps these sick people should have to wear monitors. I guess another devastated family will never be the same.

    December 8, 2008 at 5:56 pm |
  2. Anon E. Mouse

    First of all he fits the profile to a tee – total Anti-social personality disorder (sociopath) probabaly didn't mean to kill her. In other words, probably not "pre-meditated." I will tell you most likely what happened, he saw her, wanted to screw her, is not used to "little sluts" (his mind thinking) saying no to him.

    She probably said no she didn't want to have sex and maybe hit him or something which set him off, he probably started forcing himself on her more, she started biting kicking and scratching, then it escalated and he killed her by "accident."

    No I am not saying he is innocent or a good person. I am saying he doesn't fit the profile of a killer – or someone who would set out to kill someone. He does fit the profile of someone who would commit rape.

    December 8, 2008 at 5:04 pm |
  3. Vickie MO.

    Had, the murder never taken place. Mele would still be lost? The law enforcement failed to find him before the murder

    December 8, 2008 at 4:49 pm |
  4. Melissa, Los Angeles

    It's too bad she left the club and chose to be alone with a man she had just met. Now her family may never know what happened to her.

    December 8, 2008 at 4:29 pm |
  5. Mary V., Salt Lake City, UT

    SO sad, she and her family are in my prayers.

    December 8, 2008 at 4:02 pm |
  6. hugh ~ california

    The news seems pretty sad and grim. I wish there was a way to rid the world of these sick monsters. Mele appears guilty as hell.
    My heart goes out to Laura's family and friends, their lives will never be the same.

    December 8, 2008 at 3:58 pm |
  7. Cindy

    Well I haven't heard one word about this. I guess it hasn't gotten out of the confines of NY yet.

    From everything that is stated here it seems that this Mele guy killed Garza, disposed of her body and is now trying to hide the evidence.

    I hope for her families sake that she is found so that they can have a proper burial and they aren't left wondering.


    December 8, 2008 at 3:12 pm |