Bodies found in embankment believed to be missing Washington mom, 7-year-old daughter
CLARK COUNTY, Wash. (TCD) — Investigators believe two bodies found in “thick brush” down an embankment are likely those of a missing Vancouver mother and her daughter.
According to the Vancouver Police Department, Meshay Melendez, 27, and her 7-year-old daughter, Layla Stewart, were last seen in the early hours of March 12 near the 7700 block of Vancouver Mall Drive. Police asked the public to check surveillance cameras for a maroon Dodge Charger, 1999 white Chevrolet Lumina, and a 2011 white Chrysler 200.
Family members told Vancouver Police they had not been in contact with Melendez since March 11, and a friend reportedly noted Melendez’s dog was inside her apartment barking. One of Melendez’s family members let police into her apartment March 18, and no one was home except for the dog.
Vancouver Police investigators found out Layla, Melendez, and Melendez’s boyfriend, Kirkland Warren, were at an acquaintance’s house the night of March 11 and left early the next day in the Dodge Charger. On March 19, Melendez’s mom reportedly found her Chrysler 2000 in the 7800 block of NE Loowit Loop. Police obtained a warrant to search the car.
The same day her car was located, police executed a search warrant at Warren’s home and arrested him for tampering with a witness, violation of domestic violence orders, assault, drive-by shooting, and unlawful possession of a firearm. Vancouver Police said Melendez had a protection order against Warren.
On March 22, at 9:40 a.m., a passerby called the Clark County Sheriff’s Office to report there were two “life-size mannequins” in an embankment near SE Sunset View Road in Washougal, Washington. A deputy arrived at the scene and found two deceased individuals.
Vancouver Police said they believe the people found in Washougal are Melendez and her daughter “based on unique identifying genetic marks.”
Their cause and manner of death remain pending.
According to The Columbian, in December, Warren allegedly shot at Melendez’s apartment and was not allowed to have any contact with her. Prosecutors reportedly said during a hearing for those charges that he was an “extreme risk” to Melendez. Additionally, he is reportedly wanted in Arkansas relating to a 2017 homicide case.
Clark County Jail records show he is being held without bail, though bail was previously set at $1 million.