Who was Melissa Witt?
What happened to Melissa Witt?
And who is responsible?
Humans are very curious creatures. Curiosity is a natural state for humans. We want to know why something is, how something is, and what happened to something. Humans are also very social creatures. We live in groups that bind us together. We have connections and build relationships with others, we have a sense of self and of others.
It is no wonder then that when something happens, especially something tragic to another person, we want to know. And that never seems to be more truthful than when someone is brutally murdered. The victim does not even need to be someone that we know and we can still care. This is exactly what happened to LaDonna Humphrey when Melissa Witt went missing.
It is true that at any given moment in time there is something bad happening to someone somewhere in the world, at least it seems so. Yet, we still care, if for no other reason than curiosity. It’s the randomness, senselessness or brutality of the act. Sometimes, though, we care much more. For whatever reason, they were young, they were old, they were smart, they were rich, they were poor, they were loved, they were hated, they were a parent, a sibling, a child; something about them resonated with us and that one mattered a little bit more.
Melissa Witt and LaDonna Humphrey did not know each other, but their lives orbited some of the same spaces and times. While Melissa’s ending was over shadowed in the larger world by more sensational tragedies, her physical and circumstantial nearness to LaDonna made her story the more impactful event to LaDonna.
The Girl I Never Knew tells the story of the abduction and murder of Melissa Witt, however the point of view is from the author’s journey as a journalist and documentary filmmaker into the story of a girl whose life resinated with LaDonna’s own life enough to tether her to the mystery.
The story is told in a mostly PG rated manner. Humphrey focuses on the girl Melissa was in life and on her own journey into Melissa’s tragic end. The gore and horror are intentionally shoved into the shadows, this of course means that certain facts and details are also omitted as well. While the intention is understood and can be respected, it does mean that the reader has to take on blind faith some of the paths that Humphrey follows in her search for the truth. Some of what really happened in Melissa’s final hours has to be pieced together and supposed as the reader delves into the ensuing pages.
Additionally, while the story is whole and complete in one sense, the search for the truth is ongoing. Humphrey invites anyone and every one that might have information, interest or desire to be part of this search. She has a Facebook page, as well as, a website dedicated to Melissa and the crimes committed against her.
That being said, Melissa is just one of the many daughters, sisters, mothers, girls, women that go missing every year. Most end up murdered and many are never even found. According to Statista Research, in 2021, 194,673 females under the age of 21 were missing, which is more than 3 times the number of missing females over the age of 21. The sad part is that these numbers are based on missing persons reports in the United States and does not include the number of females internationally and or that never get reported.