Suspect in missing woman case moved to Orange Co.

Posted: Updated:

A convicted sex offender and the prime suspect in the disappearance of a Brooklyn woman was moved Tuesday from Rockland to Orange County, where he is facing new parole violations.

So far, Michael Mele, 23, has not been charged with any wrongdoing in the disappearance of Laura Garza, but he remains behind bars while law enforcement agencies continue to search for the 25-year-old woman.

Garza went missing last week after allegedly leaving a Manhattan nightclub with Mele. The two were later reportedly seen together in Newburgh.

State police have scoured Mele's Middletown condominium, looking for evidence. They say the residence was wiped down with bleach and a section of carpet was missing.

Investigators also searched a pond near Mele's home, but so far no body had been found, and no related charges were filed against Mele.

In the past, Mele has been convicted multiple times for exposing himself and masturbating in the presence of women, some underage, at the Palisades Center Mall. A warrant has also been issued for his arrest in Paramus, N.J. for a similar incident.

A bail was tripled Tuesday for Mele at $150,000. He will stay at the Orange County jail until he can post his bail.

Police question OC man in case of missing woman

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