The episode titled ‘The Disappearance of Nadine Mendonça (Massachusetts)’ of Dark Downeast Podcast provides a detailed glimpse into the mysterious disappearance case of 25-year-old Nadine Mendonça on a July night in 1991. With a move to Texas on the horizon, Nadine visited her favorite hang-out spot for another casual night out, something she used to do on the regular. So, when her family did not hear from her after that night, they did not expect her to disappear into thin air like that. The podcast episode explores the events of the night and how the family and authorities handled the situation.
What Happened to Nadine Mendonça?
Nadine Joyce Mendonça was born on August 1, 1965, in Fall River, Massachusetts, to Rita and Fernando. Although it was not a small town, almost everyone knew who Nadine was in Fall River, where she was brought up along with her siblings, Shawn and Angela Mendonça. Apart from having a comfortable presence and a friendly nature, she was also known for her vocal and guitar skills. Her loved ones claimed that she loved to make people laugh and was good-natured with everyone.
Apart from music, Nadine was also good at pool and had her own pool cue, with which she used to beat most of her opponents. On the weekends, she liked to spend time with her friends over a series of games of pool. She enjoyed life and had fun but aged 25, in the summer of 1991, she also started to think about what she wanted to do next in life. Having been laid off just the previous year, Nadine found it hard to find work and was living off unemployment checks. She even earned a certificate in secretarial skills in hopes of finding a job for herself. With no employment opportunities in sight, she started contemplating leaving her hometown to start afresh.
So, Nadine decided to move to Texas to live with her elder sister and niece, in the first week of August 1991. Before that, she went to stay with her parents for a few weeks. On July 12, 1991, Nadine had a night out of pool and darts planned with the girls at her usual spot — Jake’s Saloon on Pleasant Street. She was in the bar into the early hours of the next morning, but after that, there was no trace of her. Nadine used to call her family every day but when she didn’t the following morning, her mother tried her at her apartment but nobody picked up. Worried about her daughter, Fernando drove to her place and found her car missing from the property. After waiting for another day or two, the Mendonça family reported Nadine missing to the authorities and an extensive search was launched.
Nadine Mendonça is Still Missing
As the investigation began, the police interrogated a series of witnesses who were present at the bar on the Friday night when Nadine disappeared. Through some of the witnesses, they got to know that she was accompanied by some guy. They allegedly stayed at Jake’s Saloon until around 2 am and left in her car together. To learn more about it, the investigators managed to identify the man Nadine was with that night and interrogated him.
During the interview, the man claimed to be a friend of Nadine’s and testified that she gave him a ride home to New Bedford during the early hours of July 13. But he also claimed that she left right after dropping him off at his house. When the police corroborated the story, it all added up and his alibi checked out. After that, the authorities moved on to their next detail — finding out where Nadine went next and the location of her car. But they couldn’t get any leads whatsoever for the next two weeks. The case progressed when a driver on Weld Street discovered a black Monte Carlo, the side window of which was smashed. Its license plate confirmed that it was Nadine’s car. When the investigators reached Weld Square, they searched in and around the abandoned car and found blood in the trunk.
The DNA testing of the blood confirmed that it belonged to Nadine. The blood confirmed that she suffered some physical harm, at the very least, if not death. But as her body remained undiscovered, anything could have happened to her. Investigators uploaded all the evidence into a database with the hopes of finding the answers someday. In 2018, there was a renewed interest in Nadine’s disappearance case, which included the authorities looking at DNA, using new advanced technology, and sending blood samples to the database. While both her parents passed away, her mother in 1996 and her father in 2017, without ever knowing what happened to their daughter, it is her brother Shawn who was leading the determined search for her missing sister, as of 2018.