Vulnerable in Ventura, the case of Cindy Lee Mellin
In the 1960’s and 1970’s, long before the comfort and security of a cell phone to aide in an emergency, or the cameras along every street to provide clues in the cases of missing persons, young women simply vanished from the face of the Earth never to be seen again. One such woman was Cynthia Lee Mellin.
On January 20,1970, 19 year old Cindy Lee Mellin, as most people knew her, left her job at Broadway department store in Ventura,California located in the Bueanaventura Shopping Center.
At 10:30 pm after closing, two of Cindy’s co-workers noticed Cindy standing by her car in the parking lot next to an unknown male,tall and slim, approximately 35-40 years old. The man was in the process of jacking up Cindy’s car. About thirty minutes later, after grabbing a cup of coffee, the co-workers passed by Cindy’s car once again. This time, they saw no people around it, and figured that Cindy’s father had come to pick her up after having car trouble. Sadly, that wasn’t the case.
The next morning, at 4:45 am, Cindy’s father awoke and immediately noticed that Cindy wasn’t home, and her car wan’t in the driveway. He quickly got dressed and drove to Cindy’s work to see if her car was there. He found her car,still up on the jack with the flat tire still on the car. Cindy’s father knew something was wrong and immediately alerted police.
The police came to the scene, and quickly determined that Cindy was likely the victim of foul play, as she was a ‘good girl’ and not the type to run off or vanish on her own. The only thing police had to go on was the vague description of the man seen helping Cindy, and he quickly became a suspect. One sinister fact stood out in Cindy’s case. Cindy’s father later examined the flat tire on her car, and found that it had been deliberately punctured with a large slash in one side.
Over the years, Cindy’s case went cold and she quickly became just another in a long line of young women missing in California during the time.