Left and Center: Melissa circa, 1988
Right: Age Progressed to age 32
Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance
Missing Since: March 6, 1988
Missing From: Trenton, Mercer County, New Jersey
Classification: Non-Family Abduction
Date Of Birth: August 3, 1987
Age: 7 months old
Height and Weight: 2’4″ and 16 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian Female, Blonde hair, Blue eyes, Melissa has a pigmentation scar located on her right tricep and her last name might be spelled as “McQuinn”
Clothing/Jewelry Description: A dark pink colored hooded jacket, a pair of white flowered quilted overalls, and pink socks
NCMEC Number: 708328
Details of Disappearance
Melissa was last seen in Trenton, New Jersey on March 6th 1988. The child was last known to be in the company of a woman named Wanda Faye Reed. Reed is mentally disabled and has the mental state of a young child. She was living with Melissa’s parents and also had her husband who lived with her.
Melissa’s mother, Rebecca McGuinn, said she wanted to smoke a cigarette and Reed offered to take the child downstairs in the home. Reed apparently took her outside without Rebecca’s permission and came back a few minutes later with a neighbor. She didn’t have Melissa. She has never been seen again.
She told several conflicting stories of what occurred after she took the baby out for a walk. She initially claimed that she was attacked by an unknown African American male subject who jumped out of a car and proceeded to knock her down and take Melissa. Investigators were unable to find such a man who did this.
Some agencies state that McGuinn was taken from her bed by Reed during the morning at 8:30 am. Soon after her abduction story, Reed claimed she had dropped the baby into the Delaware River. Extensive searching done by police and dive teams failed to turn up any trace of the baby.
It’s also been noted that it would have been difficult for Reed to walk that distance to the river and back in 8 minutes. She then went on to claim that she gave the baby up for drugs and implicated the neighbor woman who came back with Reed as the one who had Melissa.
The woman denied having the child and has been cooperative in the investigation into the child’s disappearance. Melissa’s parents have also been cooperative in her disappearance and passed polygraphs in her case.
Two days after Melissa disappeared, Reed was arrested and arranged on charges of kidnapping Melissa. The charges were later dropped in December of 1989 after investigators found no physical evidence and Reeds mental state made her incompetent to stand trial. She was sent to live at a facility for mentally disabled persons. She currently lives in Louisiana with relatives. .
Investigators believe that Reed’s motive for making Melissa disappear was jealousy. Apparently the night before Melissa’s disappearance, there was a party at the residence and the party guests paid more attention to Melissa than to Reeds two month old child. Reed may have had two other children that she placed for adoption at some point before 1988.
Rebecca does not believe her daughter is dead. She believes that Melissa is alive and speculates her identity is being kept a secret by those who currently have her. Investigators also believe the child is still alive and want to find out what happened to Melissa that day.
Melissa’s father passed away in 2008. Her family had moved away from the area after Melissa’s disappearance in 1988. Her mother returned to the area in 2011 and that’s when she took her polygraph exam. She and her two sons are still alive and continue to search for her.
Melissa’s disappearance remains unsolved and her case is classified as a non family abduction.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Trenton Police Department 609-989-4144
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children