A Long Island mother of four who vanished more than two weeks ago was found dead in a state park Thursday – and her husband has been arrested for her murder.
Melissa Molinari, 38, was last seen at her home in Centereach, New York, on Nov. 21, according to the Suffolk County Police Department. Her vehicle was parked outside the family’s residence at 45 Lolly Lane. She was reported missing on Dec. 2 by a friend, police said.
After an extensive search for the young mother who missed Thanksgiving with her family, cops located her body about an hour from her home in the Rocky Point Pine Barrens State Forest, authorities said.
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Marcello Molinari, 43, was charged with second-degree murder and is awaiting arraignment at First District Court in Central Islip, according to a press release.
Her body was transported to the Suffolk County Medical Examiner to undergo an autopsy.
Shattered father Joseph Petito set aside his grief Sunday to help in the search for the missing woman.
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His daughter Gabby Petito’s disappearance dominated national headlines for weeks before she was found slain in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.
Joseph Petito tweeted out a plea to the public to help find Melissa Molinari.
Petito’s family converted their original #findgabby page on Facebook into a missing persons page.
They also launched the Gabby Petito Foundation to provide resources to other families trying to locate missing loved ones.
The 22-year-old’s disappearance kicked off a nationwide manhunt before her remains were found Sept. 19. A coroner later determined that she had died from strangulation.
Her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, was later found in a Florida swamp with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
The couple had been on a cross-country road trip in a white van when Laundrie returned to his parents’ home in Florida on Sept. 1 without her and refused to cooperate with police.
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Authorities named him a person of interest in her disappearance.