MELANIE Colon and her friend Reynaldo Torres were reported missing last week. On Sunday, police said that it was Colon, 22 — whom family members described as a beautiful woman and mother — whose decomposed body was found in a wooded area Saturday morning in the Juniata Park section of the city.
Police said that she died of multiple gunshot wounds. They did not know of a motive, and no one has been arrested in her death. Torres is still considered missing.
Colon was found by a passer-by in the woods behind an apartment building on Maple Lane near Wyoming Avenue about 5:50 a.m. Saturday. The woods are near Tacony Creek Park.
Colon and Torres, 41, were last seen together about 6 p.m. Tuesday outside the house she shared with her father, stepmother and siblings on Reese Street near Cumberland, in North Philadelphia.
As family members mourned her death on Sunday, her brother Rafael "Ralphiee" Colon, 17, said that he last saw his sister before she left their block in Torres' 1983 gold Mazda. His sister told him that she "was going to take a drive and chill" with Torres, he said.
Her brother said that he wanted to go with them but that Torres told him there wasn't room in the car.
Melanie's father, Louis Colon, 42, said that his daughter would have turned 23 this Thursday. She has a 4-year-old son, Joshua Rodriguez. "What a Mother's Day,"moaned the upset father. Melanie's mother, Zoraida Miranda, with whom Melanie previously lived, couldn't stop crying Sunday. "She waked up happy," the mother said of her daughter. "She never had a miserable day. She would make you laugh."
Miranda's sister, Gloria Valle, considers Torres a suspect. "She was last seen with him," she said. "He's not been seen."
But Torres' sister, Melissa Ruiz, with whom Torres and his 13-year-old daughter were living on Elsinore Street near Erie Avenue, in Juniata Park, said afterward that her brother has nothing to do with Colon's death. "We can't find him," she said. "It doesn't mean he's a murderer.
"Melanie was like his little sister," she said.
Torres' mother, Maria Colon (no relation to Melanie), came from her home in Puerto Rico to Philadelphia after he was reported missing Wednesday. "He wouldn't hurt a fly," she said.
Police said that the Mazda was recovered last week, unoccupied, on Rockland Street near Front, in Feltonville. n