In this episode, I chat with Michelle about the murder of her sister. Michelle feels like the news stations did not do a good job of portraying who Melanie really was. She was more than just a drug addict. Michelle shares how they did their own detective work because the cops weren’t taking the situation too seriously until a couple months after they had reported her missing. You’ll hear the sad truth of what really happened.*

Melanie is Michelle’s sister and that’s who this episode is about. We start off talking about the way they grew up. Melanie had been sexual abused by a close family member from ages 5-9. When the family member died, Melanie began acting out sexually and using drugs. There was also a strong line of mental illness within their family.

Michelle Standley - Quote 1

By age 11, Melanie was running away from home to the streets. By age 17 or 18, the whole family moved from California to Utah. At that time, Melanie had her first marriage. Her last marriage was to a man named John. It lasted about 15 years. In 1999, Michelle’s oldest daughter was born and at that point, Melanie’s addiction changed. She loved this new niece and said she was never leaving again.

In a letter from Melanie’s counselor after she passed, he stated, “Melanie never had a lot, but she would share whatever she had.” Michelle said that said a lot about Melanie’s character. She was always willing to help those in need. Often times, Melanie would call Michelle and say so-and-so was staying on her couch and would ask if Michelle had any clothes or food for the person.

After Melanie’s divorce from John, she jumped into another relationship rather quickly. The first time Michelle met the new guy, Ed, her radar immediately went off and she hated him, but she just couldn’t quite put her finger on what it was. Ed had began grooming Michelle’s oldest daughter and they later learned that there was some domestic violence going on in the home. Ed would also control Melanie’s pills. Sometimes he would only let her have X amount and other times he would give her a little more to make her loosen up.. Instead of trying to help her stay clean.

Michelle Standley - Quote 2

On September 21, 2014, Ed called Melanie’s mom and said that Melanie had ran away to San Francisco. The news was passed to Michelle and she immediately thought it was the perfect murder cover up. Michelle reported Melanie missing to the police on September 24. The police just kind of brushed Michelle off and said she’s been known to run off. But it had been 20+ years since she last left, so that wasn’t accurate and (understandably so) rubbed Michelle the wrong way. When their mom returned, she went to the police station and received the same answer Michelle did.

At that point, Michelle said they were going to have to do their own detective work. Together, they went to Ed’s house. Michelle’s mom wore a wire and Michelle sat down with a pen and paper to interrogate Ed. Right off the bat, Michelle knew he was lying about where Melanie was. Ed was constantly stumbling over his lies and nothing was making sense.

September 30 was Michelle’s birthday. She knew Melanie wouldn’t let the day get away without calling to wish her a happy birthday. That night at a dinner celebration, Michelle’s dad and daughter both got a text and Michelle’s mom called saying she received a text from Melanie. Their dad text back and said there was a family emergency and she needed to call right away. No response.

Michelle was going through every scenario in her head. She was calling and emailing homeless shelters, she was looking at traffic cams of people on the streets. In between all this, Ed went to the police and reported Melanie missing. By this time, the police were starting to get suspicious. Then Ed changed his story completely. He had also hired an attorney and filed for divorce.

Towards the first of November, the police had let the family know they were bringing in some cadaver dogs to search a couple of areas. One night, Michelle just had the feeling that Melanie was really gone. Michelle could feel Melanie over her shoulder and in her ear letting her know there would be a conclusion to this story.

November 13, 2014, Ed was arrested. The Chief of Police called Michelle and told her that she needed to get to the police station now and bring her parents with. At the police station, they learned that Ed had crushed up an enormous amount of pills and put them in her drink. From there, he dismembered her body and cremated her. After they learned the horrible news, the police told them they needed to leave and notify everyone they could because the news would be their soon to broadcast the story.

Listen to the full episode to hear all the details.

*Please note: this is the guest’s story. Their story is how they perceive it. It is not my judgement or responsibility to determine whether or not this story and the things said are true. Please be open minded when listening to/reading these stories.

-KUTV The Justice Files – part 1part 2
Never Happen Again
-Michelle’s favorite product: Overnight Watermelon Glow Mask
-My ending song recommendation: Breaking Your Own Heart by Kelly Clarkson (listen on the Hard Knocks playlist on Spotify)

“Staying positive does not mean that things will turn out okay; rather it is knowing that you will be okay no matter how things turn out.”

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