In recent months, Melissa Clements’ mother had grown concerned that her daughter’s boyfriend was becoming increasingly violent.
On Jan. 23, the body of the 30-year-old woman was found burned along a Delta road, and earlier this week, Sacramento County sheriff’s deputies arrested her boyfriend, Robert Juan Enriquez, 38, in connection with her death. A Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman said the couple had been dating at least five years and had a child together. The child, an 18-month-old boy, has been taken into protective custody.
Clements’ mother, Caralyn Joynes, said she last saw her daughter Jan. 13. She said Clements was afraid of Enriquez, and Joynes said she had heard him threaten her daughter. Joynes said she and her husband, Bryan Joynes, Clements’ stepfather since she was 4 years old, periodically helped out Clements and Enriquez, providing groceries and gas money. She said her husband last heard from Enriquez when Enriquez asked him to bring some cleaning supplies to their Foothill Farms apartment.
Caralyn Joynes said she was in Reno caring for a relative the week her daughter went missing.
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Detectives named Enriquez as a suspect after he called authorities Sunday morning to report Clements missing. He said Clements had not returned since leaving their Oakhollow Drive apartment on Jan. 22.
The deputy taking the report noted similarities between Enriquez’s description of his girlfriend and that of the woman whose body had been found Jan. 23. Although she was burned beyond recognition, the coroner’s office was able to provide an approximate physical description.
Upon further questioning of Enriquez, detectives discovered “inconsistencies” in his statements and other investigative details that linked the missing person report to the body.
Detectives believe Clements was killed at the Oakhollow apartment before her body was transported to a Delta levee road. Her body was about 20 feet off the road, a quarter-mile north of Twin Cities Road and just east of Snodgrass Slough.
There, detectives allege, Enriquez set fire to her body in an effort to conceal evidence.
Joynes said Clements grew up in Sacramento, attending Isabelle Jackson Elementary School, James Rutter Middle School and Sheldon High School. She said Clements enjoyed shopping and camping, and had long wanted to be a mother.
“She always wanted to have children, so I always bought her dolls and doll clothes,” recalled Caralyn Joynes.
Clements had two other sons with a previous boyfriend, now deceased, Joynes said, and the boys, ages 8 and 9, live with his grandmother.
Joynes described Clements as a devoted mother, who took good care of her 18-month-old son. Joynes said she got together with her daughter about once a week to help her with the youngster.
“He was a happy-go-lucky baby,” she said.
Joynes said she has a 45-year-old son, but Clements “was my baby.”