Sex offender linked to missing woman sentenced

Posted: Updated:

Nearly a year after the disappearance of Brooklyn resident Laura Garza, the last person seen with her was sentenced Thursday to one to three years in prison for failing to register as a sex offender.

Judge Nicholas DeRosa called 23-year-old Michael Mele's sexual offenses "shocking" and similar to acts more often seen in a zoo. However, Mele's attorney, Craig Brown, called his client's conviction a technical violation.

According to authorities, Mele was the man who accompanied Laura Garza on the night of her disappearance last December, but no charges have been filed against him in connection to that case.

Mele's attorney says the Orange County district attorney is appealing an earlier ruling that dismissed stolen credit cards found in Mele's apartment after Garza's disappearance as evidence.

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