Melanie Colon and her friend Reynaldo Torres were reported missing last week. On Sunday, police said Colon, 22 — whom family members described as a beautiful woman and mother — was the person whose decomposed body had been found in a wooded area in the Juniata Park section of the city.
Police said she died of multiple gunshot wounds. They did not know of a motive, and no one had been arrested in her death. Torres was still considered missing.
Colon's body was found about 5:50 a.m. Saturday by a passerby in the woods behind an apartment building on Maple Lane near Wyoming Avenue. The woods are near Tacony Creek Park.
Colon and Torres, 41, were last seen together about 6 p.m. Tuesday outside the house Colon shared with her father, stepmother, and siblings on Reese Street near Cumberland in North Philadelphia.
As relatives mourned Colon's death Sunday, her brother Rafael "Ralphiee" Colon, 17, said he last saw his sister before she left their block in Torres' gold 1983 Mazda. His sister told him she "was going to take a drive and chill" with Torres, he said.
Her brother said he wanted to go with them, but Torres told him there wasn't room in the car.
Colon's father, Louis Colon, 42, said his daughter would have turned 23 Thursday.
She had a 4-year-old son, Joshua Rodriguez.
"What a Mother's Day," Louis Colon said.
Colon's mother, Zoraida Miranda, couldn't stop crying Sunday.
"She waked up happy," she said of her daughter. "She never had a miserable day. She would make you laugh."
Miranda's sister, Gloria Valle, said she wondered what Torres might know. "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 had nothing to do with Colon's death. "We can't find him. It doesn't mean he's a murderer."
Colon "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 the Mazda was recovered last week, unoccupied, on Rockland Street near Front in Feltonville.
Contact Julie Shaw at 215-854-2592, firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow on Twitter @julieshawphilly.