Wanda Medeiros Reine

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Above: Wanda, circa 1971

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Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

  • Missing Since: March 1971 from East Falmouth, Massachusetts
  • Classification: Endangered Missing
  • Age: 25 years old
  • Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian female. Brown hair, brown eyes. Wanda may wear eyeglasses.
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    Details of Disappearance

    Wanda was last seen in East Falmouth, Massachusetts sometime during March of 1971. Her husband, Melvin J. Reine Sr., claimed he dropped her off at the bus station so she could go visit a cousin in Wareham, Massachusetts. Wanda has never been heard from again and Melvin did not report her missing for five days. Foul play is suspected in her disappearance.

    A photograph of Melvin is posted below this case summary. He ran a successful trash hauling business, Five Star Enterprises, and has had a history of contacts with local law enforcement over the years. In 1968, he was convicted of arson and sentenced to five years in prison, but he was released after serving only one-third of his sentence. After Wanda's disappearance, in 1972, Shirley M. Souza moved in with the family. A photograph of her is posted below this case summary. She was 18 years old at the time and had been the babysitter for Melvin and Wanda's children prior to Wanda's disappearance. That same year, one of Shirley's other boyfriends, Charles "Jeffrey" Flanagan, was found shot to death in a bog across the street from the Reine home. Shirley was one of the last people known to have seen Flanagan alive, and Melvin is a suspect in his murder. No one has been charged in connection with Flanagan's death, however. In 1979, Paul R. Alwardt, a 17-year-old employee of Melvin, disappeared shortly before he was to testify against Melvin in an arson case. He is still missing; photographs and vital statistics for him are unavailable. That same year, John Busby, a police officer who had had run-ins with the Reine family, was shot twice in the face while on his way to work. He survived. Melvin was a suspect in Busby's shooting, but there was insufficient evidence to charge him at the time. Melvin was later charged with rigging bids to get the city contract for Five Star Enterprises. His business partner testified against him, but Melvin was acquitted in 1985.

    In 2001, Melvin was committed to Taunton State Hospital after threatening to shoot a woman. He is still there. He has been diagnosed with Pick's Disease, a form of dementia characterized by personality changes, poor judgement, forgetfulness, social ineptitude. Shirley took over the running of Five Star Enterprises after her husband's committal. In 2002, Melvin's two children, Todd and Melvin Jr., told police their father and their uncle, John Reine, had shot Busby. When interviewed in 2003, John admitted that he drove the car while Melvin shot at Busby out the open window. John stated that Shirley was also present in the vehicle at the time. No charges were filed in the shooting, as the statute of limitations had expired. John also implicated Melvin in Flanagan's murder, but no charges have been filed in that case either, as Melvin is legally incompetent and may not live much longer; Pick's Disease is a terminal illness.

    Shirley was found murdered in May 2005; she was shot to death in her garage. At the time of her death, she was involved in a legal battle with her stepsons over Melvin's estate. Melvin was granted a divorce from Wanda in 1997 and married Shirley in 1999, after over two decades of cohabitation. In 2001, he wrote a will disinheriting his sons and turning over his business and all his property to his wife. Melvin Jr. and Todd alleged that their father was mentally incompetent when he wrote his will and Shirley had taken advantage of him, and that Melvin's business and property should rightly belong to them.

    Shirley was reportedly afraid for her life because of the lawsuit and told others that if anything happened to her, her stepsons were probably responsible. The case was expected to go up for trial the week after Shirley's murder. Authorities stated that it appeared Shirley had been ambushed and murdered by someone who knew her daily routine. In December 2011, John Rams Jr. was charged with her murder. At the time of his indictment, he was already in prison for stealing documents from Shirley's home.

    Wanda remains missing and is presumed deceased; Melvin is the prime suspect in her case, as well as Alwardt's. Investigators stated Melvin's account of Wanda's disappearance "didn't check out" and they do not believe Wanda ever got on the bus the day she went missing. Looking for her remains, authorities dug up several locations, including the Reine home, but no evidence was located. Her disappearance remains unsolved.

    Shirley Melvin
    Left: Shirley, circa 2005;
    Right: Melvin, circa 2001

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    Investigating Agency
    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
    Falmouth Police Department
    508-457-2527

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    Source Information
    The Cape Cod Times
    Porchlight for the Missing and Unidentified
    The Falmouth Enterprise

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    Updated 2 times since October 12, 2004.

    Last updated February 26, 2012; details of disappearance updated.

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