Melissa Barthelemy’s Parents Can Finally Have a Sense of Peace Now

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In December 2010, during the investigation into the disappearance of Shannan Gilbert, the police stumbled upon skeletal remains. Upon further exploration of the area, they discovered the remains of three additional women within a 500-foot radius. All the bodies were unclothed and placed inside a burlap sack. One of the identified women was Melissa Barthelemy, whose family narrated her story on ABC’s ‘Truth and Lies: The Hunted,’ shedding light on her life and the circumstances surrounding her vanishing.

Who are Melissa Barthelemy’s Parents?

Lynn Barthelemy, the mother of Melissa Barthelemy, became concerned when she hadn’t heard from her daughter for several days. Consequently, on July 18, 2009, Lynn reported her missing. At the time, she was based in Buffalo, New York, alongside her longtime fiancé, Jeff Martina. As for Melissa, she spent some time with her father Mark Szpila in Texas upon graduating high school but soon returned to Buffalo. That’s where she pursued a cosmetology license from Continental Beauty School and briefly worked at a local salon. With aspirations of opening her salon, Melissa moved to the Bronx in 2007. Financial difficulties led her to mention to her mother that she needed to work as a dancer at an exotic club, but she did not give her any other details.

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Lynn, while filled with worry for her daughter Melissa, also held onto the belief that she was capable of taking care of herself. After all, during one of the latter’s final visits home, where concerns about finances were evident, she expressed her unhappiness but conveyed her determination to return to New York and build her own life. However, Melissa’s sister, Amanda Funderburg, was aware of a different aspect of her life – she actively engaged in sex work as an escort.

The investigation initiated by the police following Melissa’s disappearance revealed that the last sighting of her was on July 12, 2009, when she went to meet a client. Subsequently, they managed to track some cellphone activities linked to her right in Manhattan, Freeport, Massapequa, and Lindenhurst on July 13. However, the officials faced challenges in pinpointing the precise locations of the calls or obtaining any clues regarding Melissa’s whereabouts. Yet, seven days after the disappearance, her sister Amanda received a call on her cellphone that clearly displayed Melissa’s phone number, but it was a man on the line. This strange man persistently called Amanda seven times over approximately two weeks, subjecting her to taunts, humiliation, and comments that strongly suggested he knew her precise appearance.

Amanda thus conveyed this information to Lynn and Jeff, prompting them to report it to the authorities. Nevertheless, the challenges arose in tracing the calls due to their originating from densely populated areas and being of short duration. Despite the efforts, the authorities found it impossible to pinpoint the source. In the final call Amanda received, the man went to the extent of revealing that he had taken her sister’s life. Lynn and Jeff expressed the horror of hearing such statements, being threatened, and feeling utterly powerless in the face of these circumstances.

Where are Melissa Barthelemy’s Parents Now?

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On December 11, 2010, the remains of Melissa Barthelemy were discovered on the north side of Ocean Parkway, close to Gilgo Beach, as authorities were searching for Shannan Gilbert. She became the initial victim to be found, and three additional bodies in comparable positions were discovered in the same vicinity. She was revealed to be the second victim of a serial killer. The disturbing calls received by Melissa’s family played a significant role in the apprehension of a suspect named Rex Heuermann, who was arrested in 2023 in connection with the case.

In a statement to the media after his arrest, Lynn Barthelemy said, “I’d like him to suffer at the hands of other inmates. Let him receive what the girls received. Death is too good for him. It’s too easy.” Lynn and Jeff Martina, who operate a diner in Buffalo, have joined a support group with the families of other victims connected to Rex Heuermann. As the case continues to unfold, they, along with other affected families, closely monitor the developments. Lynn, a grandmother now, is beginning to feel a sense of peace after years of turmoil.

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