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Grandmother of 13-year-old raped, found dead in an alley, wants answers

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Posted at 10:20 PM, Jun 12, 2024

AKRON, Ohio — It’s been one year since Melanie Elkins’ body was found in an Akron alley near South Arlington Street.

Now, her grandmother said she’s making sure her name is not forgotten.

“It seems like yesterday, and it seems like forever ago,” said Rhonda Elkins-Chapman.

13-year-old girl's body found in Akron; police investigating

READ MORE: 13-year-old girl's body found in Akron; police investigating

Elkins-Chapman said she’s still at a loss for words every day she realizes her granddaughter, Melanie, is no longer here.

“You miss her, but you know she’s in good hands,” said Elkins-Chapman.

One year ago, on June 12, Akron Police found the 13-year-old’s body in Minordy Place, an alley near South Arlington Street, after receiving a call from a nearby resident.

At that time, authorities did not find any apparent signs of trauma on Melanie’s body and described her circumstances as a sudden death.

Yet, the Summit County Medical Examiner later determined she died from a combination of methamphetamine and fentanyl.

It hurts to know that there’s a child that laid dead in this alley,” said Former Akron Councilwoman Tara Mosley Weems on June 13, 2023.

Several days before Melanie’s body was discovered, Melanie’s father reported her missing, according to an Akron Police report.

He said the family had issues, which caused her to run away.

But this past February, Rhonda told News 5 that Melanie revealed to her on Thanksgiving Day in 2022 she had been raped by 30-year-old Anthony Mignano, who Summit County Prosecutors said moved in with the then 12-year-old and her father.

“After the Thanksgiving weekend, I approached the courts in Akron, the juvenile court system,” said Elkins-Chapman on Feb. 8, 2024. “I spent seven months, all the way up until the week she died, trying to get her out of her situation.”

'She was a light,' grandmother of Akron 13-year-old raped, found dead in an alley says

RELATED LINK: 'She was a light,' says grandmother of Akron 13-year-old raped, found dead in an alley

Mignano has since been sentenced to life in prison for Melanie’s rape after he admitted to having sex with the young girl three times.

However, he is not charged in relation to her death.

READ MORE: Barberton man sentenced to life in prison for rape of girl later found dead in Akron alley

Meanwhile, in a separate case related to Melanie’s death, 31-year-old Keith Earley was arrested and sentenced to nine months in prison after he allegedly dumped her body in the Akron alley.

To this day, Akron Police Captain Michael Miller said detectives do not have any new information as to who’s responsible for her death.

Just looking for simple answers as always. The police are still doing their job on the case, and I’m looking to hear from the Juvenile Court System,” said Elkins-Chapman. “I just would like to have some final answers on her last interviews. They helped me for seven months, and this is where I’m at.”

The investigation is still ongoing for the Akron Police Department.

As for Summit County Child Services, News 5’s Remi Murrey reached out, but they have yet to respond to her request.

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