ATMORE, Ala. (WALA) - When Melinda McGhee's family returned to their Atmore home in March 2003, they expected to find her there. Instead, the house was a mess, and it was clear there had been a struggle.
"The children ran in, and they came back out and reported to their father that there was blood. He went in and looked, and Melinda was not there. There was blood in the house. He came out, and they called my office. That's how it began," said Escambia County Sheriff Grover W. Smith.
For nine years, the Escambia County Sheriff's Office has tirelessly searched for any sign of McGhee.
"Hoping we would find some sign of her or locate her body, and unfortunately, we have come up empty every time and everywhere we've looked," said Smith.
But that doesn't mean this cold case is coming to an end. Even now, Smith said the investigation is active and open, and that deputies are not giving up. McGhee's family isn't either.
"She was the sweetest thing you have ever seen, just sweet," said Melinda McGhee's aunt, Irma Dannelley.
Dannelley said it's been difficult for the family to have so many unanswered questions.
"Life was good. She was doing good. Going to school, had those two boys, then all of sudden she was gone," said Dannelley.
With no trace of her niece, Dannelley said she tries to be a source of strength for her brother who desperately wants to find his daughter.
"My brother is 60, and he probably looks 80. He doesn't go anywhere without looking for her. Every dump he goes by, he checks out. He can't even go to work," said Dannelley.
Everyone hopes before there's another anniversary, the questions about McGhee's disappearance will finally be answered.
If you have any information about the disappearance of Melinda McGhee, contact the Escambia County Sheriff's Office.
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