Q: There was a childhood friend that was missing from Rancho Cordova in the 1990s named Melissa Espinoza. She lived off Mills Tower Drive with her mother and siblings. I was wondering what happened.
Rancho reporter, Rancho Cordova
A: Melissa Ann Espinoza was 12 years old when she was reported missing in December 1993.
According to stories in The Sacramento Bee, she stormed out of the Coloma House apartment she shared with her mother and three younger children about 11 p.m. Dec. 1 following a heated argument with her mother. She was last seen several hours later sitting on the hood of a car in the parking lot of the White Rock Road complex.
Espinoza’s parents were divorced, and she had moved back to her mother’s Rancho Cordova residence about a month before her disappearance after living four months with her father and two older siblings in downtown Sacramento. Her then 15-year-old brother told The Bee at the time that he had misgivings about some of the people he had seen Espinoza with near the Rancho Cordova apartment.
She had run away before but had always returned home, and she had kept in daily contact with her grandmother.
Although sheriff’s detectives in the months following Espinoza’s disappearance said they considered it a high-priority case, they said they had few leads to pursue.
Espinoza would be 35 now. Her case is included on the Polly Klaas Foundation website and a number of other missing-person websites.