Melanson Case Back in the Spotlight
A Wakefield man's arrest brings Melanie Melanson's missing person case to light, 22 years after she disappeared.
A Wakefield man, who was connected to the missing person's case of Melanie Melanson in Woburn in 1989, was arrested for armed robbery Monday night.
Wakefield Police said that according to witness accounts and security video footage, Eugene Bertini, 37, entered the Local Gas Station around 6:40 p.m. Monday wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt and sweatpants. He allegedly pistol-whipped the male attendant and demanded money from the cash register. The victim said he also stole a silver necklace that he had been wearing.
The victims described the suspect as 5’8”, about 30 years old, wearing a dark sweatshirt and gray sweatpants. He was last seen running form the gas station across North Ave to the area of Tuttle Street.
After a search of the area, Wakefield Police were unable to locate the suspect.
Wakefield Police reviewed security footage from the gas station, as well as security footage from the Dunkin Donuts located across the street, and said they recognized the suspect from the tape as Bertini.
Working with a telephone company to track Bertini’s cell phone, police obtained Bertini’s location at the Avalon Motel in Saugus on Route 1. When police arrived, Bertini’s wife, Lesli Bertini, 39, answered the door. Lesli Bertini also had an active warrant for her arrest for domestic assault and battery and several other charges from an alleged incident this last weekend.
When detectives entered the hotel room, they found Bertini sitting on the bed in the room. Next to him were a black sweatshirt and gray sweatpants that detectives recognized from the security footage. Police also located a handgun, believed to be a BB gun, in the hotel room.
Bertini reportedly told detectives he had entered the gas station to buy cigarettes but said they did not have them and he left. Police said they found money under an insole in Bertini’s shoes, and also found the silver chain reported as stolen from the victim.
Bertini is charged with two counts of armed robbery with a firearm, and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. He was arraigned today in Malden District Court.
Connection to Melanie
According to family and friends of Melanie Melanson, Bertini was one of the last two people to see Melanie alive in 1989.
Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone said Melanie went to a party on the Woburn/Stoneham line in 1989, when she was 14-years-old and a freshman at Woburn High. She was never seen alive after the party.
Authorities are still searching for Melanie or any information related to the case. Members of the public with information that they believe would be helpful to the investigation can contact the Woburn Police Department at 781-933-1212 x853 or State Police assigned to the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office at 781-897-6650.