Real Name: Paloma Joy Gibson
Location: Pasadena, California
Date: September 9, 1989
Date of Birth: 1984
Weight: 43 pounds
Marital Status: Unrevealed
Characteristics: Biracial female. Blond hair, green eyes.
Details: Paloma Gibson is the young daughter of Paul Gibson and Melody Martin. The couple fell in love in 1970 and undertook the difficult challenges of an interracial marriage. Both of them 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 was much lighter than Matthew and Sojie's.
After Paloma's birth, Paul felt that Melody began to ignore the older children. She seemed obsessed with Paloma and hostile towards 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 of 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 of 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 the baby "Jubilee" instead of Paloma. 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. Melody was cited more than fifty times for contempt of the visitation orders. She began making official complaints that Paul was sexually molesting their daughters. Paul knew that the allegations weren't true, but he feared that he would lose his teaching job as a result. In the spring of 1986, he was cleared of all molestation charges. The court also reversed its previous custody ruling, giving Paul full custody of the children.
Paul moved back into the Pasadena house and Melody was granted visitation rights. In September of 1986, he married Gene Pozee and they adopted a son, Lawrence. She supported her husband's efforts to fix the problems in his family. Matthew remembered that during each visitation with his mother, she would change Paloma's clothing to "match her lighter complexion". She would then change the clothes 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 his mother normally did not have much money. After the restaurant, they went to the Pasadena Convention Center. Shortly before they entered the convention center, 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 waiting for awhile, 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 their other two children. According to a social worker working with the Gibsons, Matthew and Sojie have been emotionally troubled by the abandonment by their mother and separation from their sister.
Melody has been charged with one count of felony child abduction. She and Paloma have not been seen in almost two years.
Suspects: Melody Martin
Extra Notes: The case was featured as a part of the February 13, 1991 episode. This case was excluded from the Amazon Prime release of the series.
Results: Solved. Shortly after the story aired, Melody Martin 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. She now lives in Rhode Island.