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Melody Martin

Real Name: Melody Amanda Martin
Aliases: None known
Wanted For: Abduction
Missing Since: September 9, 1989

Case[]

Details: Melody Martin is wanted for abducting her daughter, Paloma Gibson, from her father, Paul. He and Melody fell in love in 1970 and undertook the difficult challenges of an interracial marriage. Both were deeply religious. Together, they vowed to overcome the barriers they knew they'd encounter. Two years later, they had their first child, Matthew. In 1976, they moved from New York to Pasadena, California where their daughter, Sojie, was born. They waited seven years to have another child. In 1984, Paloma was born; her skin tone was much lighter than Matthew and Sojie's.
After Paloma's birth, Paul felt that Melody began to ignore Matthew and Sojie. She seemed obsessed with Paloma and hostile toward him. Paul consulted a physician who suggested that Melody might be suffering from post-partum depression. He requested that she go in for treatment, but she did not. Their marriage quickly deteriorated.
In August 1984, Paul and Matthew returned home from a Boy Scout camping trip. Paul was shocked to find Melody on the front porch with a restraining order, citing extreme mental abuse. He was forced to leave the house; he wasn't even able to say goodbye to the children. In May 1985, Melody filed for a divorce. According to Paul, she would not let the children speak to him on the telephone. His Christmas gifts were returned unopened. Melody began calling Paloma "Jubilee". She often claimed that "Jubilee" was too ill to see Paul.
Matthew recalled that around that time, Melody pulled him aside and told him that he was not allowed to hug her unless he asked permission. She was cited more than fifty times for contempt of the visitation orders. She began making official complaints that Paul was sexually molesting Sojie and Paloma. Paul knew that the allegations weren't true, but he feared that he would lose his teaching job as a result. In spring 1986, he was cleared of all molestation charges. The court also reversed its previous custody ruling, giving him full custody of the children.
Paul moved back into the Pasadena house and Melody was granted visitation rights. In September 1986, he married Gene Pozee and they adopted a son, Lawrence. She supported Paul's efforts to fix the problems in his family. Matthew remembered that during each visitation with Melody, she would change Paloma's clothes to "match her lighter complexion". She would then change them back before the children were returned. Paloma got upset when this would happen.
According to Gene, Melody would tell Paloma that black people would do bad things and hurt white people. She would also tell her to be afraid of black people. Gene recalled that Paloma asked her if she was going to kill her and if she really loved her. Paul claimed that Paloma told her that Melody was going to steal her and burn the house down.
On Labor Day, September 9, 1989, Paul was working when Melody picked up the children at 9am for a scheduled visit. They first went to a restaurant and the children were told that they could get "anything they want". Matthew thought this was strange because Melody normally did not have much money. They then went to the Pasadena Convention Center. Shortly before they entered it, Melody told Matthew and Sojie that she had to make a phone call. She took Paloma with her and they all agreed to meet at the front steps at 1pm.
At 11:30am, Melody called Gene to say she would bring the children back at 6pm. At 1pm, Matthew and Sojie were waiting at the front of the convention center. After doing so for a while, it was clear that Melody and Paloma were not returning. They called Gene to pick them up. Paul was shocked, not only that Melody had taken Paloma, but that she had also abandoned Matthew and Sojie. According to a social worker working with the Gibsons, Matthew and Sojie have been emotionally troubled by the abandonment by Melody and separation from Paloma.
Melody has been charged with one count of felony child abduction. She and Paloma have not been seen in almost two years.
Extra Notes: This case first aired of the February 13, 1991 episode.
Results: Captured. Shortly after the broadcast, Melody was arrested at Miami International Airport while trying to enter the United States from Uruguay. Paloma was immediately placed in protective custody. She was reunited with Paul and the rest of her family in Pasadena soon after.
Five weeks later, Melody pleaded guilty to felony child abduction and was given a three-year prison sentence. She has since been released. All of her visitation rights were revoked. As an adult, Paloma and her siblings are close to both parents and their families.
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