A woman who had been jogging around the high school recalled seeing two cars parked near the field — Melissa’s SUV and the friend’s Ford Mustang. The jogger saw the Ford leave, return, and then leave again. At one point, she heard gunshots and saw a white man walking from the field. He got in the SUV and drove away.
Melissa’s SUV was found a few days later after a man crashed into a home in Old East Dallas. The man fled the scene but was identified through fingerprints from the car. The man had been James Maloy, a homeless drug addict. Maloy was not the man the jogger had seen as he was black.
A few weeks later, Maloy was arrested on unrelated charges and questioned about the car. He claimed he had exchanged drugs for the car at a gas station. Maloy said the man had been Stephen Rigdon, a white male. Stephen’s son, Jeff, was acquaintances with Melissa.
Both father and son were questioned by authorities. Stephen accused his son of committing the murder but Jeff denied being involved. Moreover, Stephen did not know how Melissa had been killed: he said she had been stabbed but later said she had been hit with a baseball bat. Notably, Melissa had made several calls to Jeff’s phone before she was killed. He couldn’t explain these calls.
A week before Melissa was killed, Brian Hunter had faced criminal mischief charges. Melisssa had accused him of slashing her tires and sending her threatening emails and voicemails.
According to The Dallas Morning News, Melissa wrote about Hunter in an email to a property detective:
“He is out of control. When he does not get his way he is unpredictable. I don’t know what he is capable of, but I know it wouldn’t take much to physically hurt me.”