Police question OC man in case of missing woman

Posted: Updated:

Police say they have found a woman?s shoe and a blood-stained SUV at the residence of an Orange County man who was last seen with a missing Brooklyn woman.

Laura Garza, 25, of Bay Ridge, went missing at around 4 a.m. last Wednesday after she came out of the Marquee nightclub in Chelsea.

Police searched the residence and vehicle of Michael Mele, a 23-year-old registered sex offender and son of retired MTA Assistant Deputy Police Chief William Mele. Mele, who was allegedly one of the two men who accompanied Garza early Wednesday morning when she exited the nightclub, turned himself in to police on Friday for an unrelated charge. Police reported that Mele had bite marks on his hand and scratch marks on his neck when he turned himself in.

Mele is currently jailed in Rockland County for an alleged probation violation and is being questioned by authorities about Garza?s disappearance. He is being held on $50,000 bail.

Police say Mele lured the young woman to his Wallkill apartment or to his father?s house in Newburgh. Although Garza's body has not been found, police say they are considering the case a homicide.

Mele, who is on probation for a forcible touching conviction for masturbating on women in public, has a history of being sexually aggressive with women.

Police continue to search for Garza, who is described as 5-feet 2-inches tall, weighing 120 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes.

Police ask any women who had contact with Mele to please call New York State Police at 845-344-5300. They also ask anyone with information about the missing woman to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS.

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