On the 9th of June, 1996 Melanie Hall (25) was last seen sitting on a stool at the edge of the dance floor at the Cadillacs nightclub in Bath, Somerset, UK.
Melanie had attended the club with her boyfriend Philip Karlbaum and another couple, however, Philip had left angrily after seeing her dance with another man. It was around 1 am that Melanie was last seen, however, she wasn't reported missing until the 11th of June when her parents realized she had failed to attend work. Despite searches in the River Avon, no signs of Debbie were found and she was legally declared dead on the 17th of November 2004.
Then on the 5th of October 2009, a motorway worker clearing vegetation from a slip road on the M4 discovered a bag containing human remains. The bones in the bag included a skull, pelvis, and thigh bone and further remains were found buried and spread around the field by the side of the motorway. Police confirmed that the remains were human, and they showed a piece of jewellery found at the site to Hall's parents, who confirmed that it had belonged to their daughter. At autopsy, it was discovered that Melanie had been tied up with blue rope and had suffered severe blunt trauma to her head resulting in a fractured skull, cheekbone and jaw.
Interestingly, items of Melanie's have still not been found including, a pale blue silk dress with a round neck, black suede mule shoes with straps across the front and an open toe, size 5 or 6, a cream single-breasted, long-sleeved jacket, and a black satchel-type handbag. In Melanie’s handbag were cosmetics and a Midland cheque book and bank card. Also missing are items of jewellery including a Next watch with expanding bracelet and silver drop earrings.
In October 2019, police revealed they had obtained a partial DNA profile from the rope wrapped around the bag containing Hall's remains. In total 11 people have been arrested but none have ever been charged.
Thoughts / Theories
Melanie had a good relationship with her boyfriend at the time she went missing, and she was supposed to be staying with him that night. Because of this, it would be very out of character for Melanie to have decided to go home with another man. She had also been dropped at her boyfriend's house by her mother, so she didn't have a car with her at the nightclub to drive home.
It's possible that Melanie was jumped on the way home (her boyfriend or her home), or that she accepted a ride from someone who had bad intentions. The fact that Melanie was tied up with blue rope could suggest that she was restrained in order to transport her, either alive or dead. Her remains were found in vegetation on a slip road by the motorway, meaning that whoever took her must have driven her there - likely at night.
Because her remains were found partially in the slip road vegetation and partially in an adjoining field, it's possible that she had originally been buried, but that her grave had been disturbed by animal activity.
As items of clothing, jewellery, and her handbag were missing, it's possible that they had been discarded elsewhere, or even that Melanie was killed elsewhere and then dumped at the side of the slip road. I wonder if the killer kept items as a trophy, or even passed them on as a gift to a partner.