A face on the screen at the FBI Laboratory brought back a flood of sad memories. At the beginning of a briefing on evidence response teams and evidence analysis, they showed several victims of crimes including Melissa Brannen. She was 5 years old when she disappeared from a Christmas party in Lorton, Virginia. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children created an image of what Melissa would have looked like at age 21.
Melissa’s mother, Tammy Brannen, used to come on the air with us at WAVA and plead for her child’s safe return. She told us how she and Melissa would listen to our station together in the car. Tammy hoped that her daughter might still be alive and listening while captive.
The case received local and national publicity, including an article in People Magazine. A man who worked at the apartment complex was convicted of abducting Melissa, who has never been found. According to The Charley Project’s website, he could be released in 2010.