“We started calling every hospital, we started calling every friend, everybody that we could possibly try to get a hold of to find out where she was and what happened,” Patricia recalled.
“She was my best friend. We did everything together.”
Authorities also got to work, launching their investigation. They found that Debra’s wallet and cell phone had reportedly been left behind in the vehicle– which was her husband’s.
Upon being interviewed by investigators, Luis also claimed that Debra demanded to exit the vehicle before storming off.
As for why he drove away, Luis said he assumed that Debra would just go home at a later time. Authorities did look inside Luis’ car but reportedly found no evidence indicating foul play.
Investigators also launched extensive air and ground searches in both Tainton and Weymouth. Unfortunately, though, none of these efforts ever revealed any indicators of Debra’s location.
Despite this, her family is certain that she would have never abandoned her children. Instead, Patricia White believes something happened to her sister that day.
“It’s like a bad dream recurring every year, every day,” Patricia said of the search for Debra.
“I mean, there’s not a day that goes by… I think about it every single day. There’s always something that comes up or things that are said, or I see something that reminds me of her.”
So, over the last two decades, Debra’s loved ones have held an annual vigil to remember her. The community has also never stopped searching for answers.
Online, a Facebook page entitled “Missing Debbie Melo” was created by Debra’s family to raise awareness about the case.