Mom who killed son taken off life support
Published: Tuesday, January 8, 2013 at 8:50 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 8, 2013 at 8:50 p.m.
OCALA - The young mother who killed her 6-month-old baby and turned the weapon on herself last week was taken off life support early Tuesday and was pronounced dead.
According to a Marion County Sheriff’s Office report, Melanie Reyes, 20, was pregnant. She and the father of the unborn child, Marcelino Febo, 21, had discussed going for an abortion on Jan. 5, according to the report.
The day before that, with deputies at her front door conducting a well-being check, Reyes shot and killed her son, Jonah Mendoza, and then herself.
In addition to an ongoing paternity battle involving Jonah’s father, Reyes also faced prosecution in criminal court for a domestic dispute involving Febo. She was arrested Dec. 20 and accused of striking him with a small baseball bat.
Sheriff’s Inspector Mike Mongeluzzo and Detective Stacey Skinner investigated the case. Mongeluzzo’s report shows that Febo was interviewed by Detective Ollue Myers.
Febo told Myers that Reyes was four weeks’ pregnant with his child and they were going to an abortion clinic on Jan. 5. He said they had recently separated because he was moving back to Australia.
Mongeluzzo was told by a medical examiner’s investigator that Reyes actually was 14 to 18 weeks pregnant.
Two days before the shooting, Febo said, Reyes had texted him threats that she would harm Jonah and commit suicide.
Febo said the last time he spoke to Reyes was shortly before 10 a.m. Friday, when he was heading to class. He told her he would call her when he was finished. He said when he got out of class he turned on his phone and found out what had happened.
It was not immediately known which class, or which school, Febo was referring to. He could not be reached for comment late Tuesday.
Mongeluzzo’s report gave more details about what led up to the murder/suicide.
Jose Elias, Reyes’ stepfather, told the inspector that Reyes and her son lived with him. Reyes and Jonah’s father, Jordan Mendoza, were “going through issues.”
He said Febo and his stepdaughter were having problems, as well, as evidenced by the Dec. 20 arrest.
On New Year’s Day, Elias said, Jordan Mendoza had called law enforcement officials to register a complaint against Reyes, but no one was arrested. Elias said Mendoza and Reyes were in court over “custody issues” and Mendoza wanted visitation rights.
He said though Reyes had “anger issues,” she had never shown suicidal tendencies. However, he said she may have been suffering from post-partum depression.
Mendoza told law officers that Reyes was sending him messages that he “was going to have the last tears.”
Messages between the two, which were shown to the inspector, showed that after Reyes told Mendoza about the last tears, he replied, “I know I will either way … you will still come out on top … you always do .. plz leave me alone.”
Reyes responded that she was glad he finally “gets it but it wasn’t the cherry on the cake” and ended with “ull b tagged in it shortly.”
Mendoza told the inspector that was not the first time Reyes has threatened to kill his son and that he had called police. He said they recently argued because he wouldn’t take her to her ex-boyfriend’s house and Reyes slapped him in the face with a wine bottle.
The copy of the Facebook posting that Reyes put up Friday was shown to the inspector. The message read like an obituary: “This is Melanie & Jonah Reyes they passed away today by suicide.” It continues by saying the reason for the tragedy was because “Melanie had been stressed and depressed.”
Reyes gave multiple reasons for stress, including arguing with Febo, whom she said she didn’t trust; arguing with her mother; going to court to fight for her child; and fighting with Mendoza.
She said she didn’t want to leave her son “in this world with people she did not trust beside her father, but he was just too far to get to.”
The post added, “After sobbing from taking the life of her child, the mother then turned the gun to her head and took her own life & her unexpected unborn child.”
It ended: “So can we please pray for my/their families .. R.I.P. Melanie & Jonah always and forever in our hearts.”
Reyes shot herself at least twice in the head. She shot Jonah twice in the chest. The weapon was a 9 mm handgun, which was recovered on scene.
Inside the bedroom with the bodies was a suicide note. It stated: “He’s not goin to win or take my child & I don’t want him @ our funeral.”
Mongeluzzo interviewed Yessenia Teresa Valle, who told him she was awakened by a text message from a friend who told her about Reyes’ Facebook posts.
Valle said she went to Reyes’ home, where she was met by a Department of Children and Families official who was there to talk with Reyes.
Valle texted Reyes, asking her what was going on. Reyes told her to “go home.”
Valle said she wasn’t going anywhere and wanted her to “just open the door.”
Valle told Reyes she was worried about her and it wasn’t the way “to handle things,” and “nobody wants to lose you or the baby.”
Valle told her the cops were there.
By then, Deputies Timothy Ogletree and Robert Youmans Jr., had arrived at the home in the 4800 block of Northwest 45th Court after receiving calls about a woman threatening to kill herself and her child.
Youmans knocked on the door while Ogletree went to the north side of the home. Youmans heard a muffled noise that sounded like a gunshot and notified a dispatcher. Hearing another noise, Youmans kicked in the front door and both deputies went in and found the mother and son in a bedroom.
Youmans removed the child to the living room and began CPR until medics arrived.
Detectives said the gun belongs to Reyes’ stepfather, who had it locked up in his bedroom. The man is a corrections officer.
Reyes got into the locked bedroom somehow and took the gun from a case next to the bed.
Jordan Mendoza’s attorney, Christina Miller, said late Tuesday her client “wants them (Reyes’ family) to grieve without any intrusion from him.” He also “wants to grieve in private, without judgment from anyone.”
“He cares very deeply for her and her family,” the attorney said.
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