Rachel Mellon's disappearance from Bolingbrook home remains unsolved 25 years later

BOLINGBROOK, Ill. (WLS) -- Twenty-five years ago this Sunday, a Bolingbrook teenager vanished without a trace.

No one has ever been charged in the disappearance of Rachel Mellon - and she's never been found.

As that sad anniversary approaches, Rachel's father talked to the I-Team about one of Chicago's most inexplicable crime mysteries and how it began on a bitter cold day, Jan. 31, 1996.

Jeff Skemp said he would like to see justice for his daughter in the form of an arrest and conviction for Rachel's abductor and likely killer. He said his daughter lives only in his heart now.

"I know she's in a better place," said Skemp. "And she's not suffering."

Rachel Mellon was a popular, smart seventh grader. She was last seen alive when she stayed home sick from school in her family's Bolingbrook home.

Her stepfather Vincent Mellon was the only other person there that day.

"Whoever did this, and I have my suspicions about what happened, did a really good job of covering up," Skemp said. "And that's the problem."

Mellon told police he left only to take their dog for a walk and that hours later he realized Rachel was gone. From the start police considered him their prime suspect, especially after he flunked key parts of a lie detector test.

"I didn't really look around the neighborhood as far as thinking you know something might be suspicious," Mellon said in 1996 interview with ABC-7. "So, I didn't know what to say other than I didn't notice anything out of the ordinary at that point."

Skemp said he can't criticize police, but that they missed a chance to find her body.

"I think that if the police searched, their garage.. the night that they first got called there, especially knowing how many times they've been called to that house ... If they searched that garage and open up the trunk of that car that didn't run ... I bet they find her, right then and there," he said.

The I-Team spoke Thursday with retired Des Plaines police chief Bill Kushner, who solved several cold cases in his long career.

"Sooner or later, time and guilt catch up with people. Maybe it's a family member that knew something and decided not to tell because they were trying to protect someone," Kushner said. "Maybe it's the individual who's responsible for the disappearance themselves finally realizes that they're getting down near the end of the road and they want to make peace, somewhere there's a break."

Vince Mellon and Rachel's mother Amy moved to Tennessee years ago. The phone numbers listed for the couple were either disconnected or there was no answer.

Bolingbrook police said in a written statement Thursday the case is still "active" and evidence preserved, awaiting possible scientific advancements. Even though public attention might help their investigation, Bolingbrook police would not do a television interview, explaining they have "no new information" to provide.

Skemp said if his daughter were around today, amid the pandemic, she would be "on the frontlines fighting against racial injustice, social injustice, police corruption...doing everything within her power to help those of us who are struggling and suffering."

"That makes me happy," he said.
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