The Riddle of the Cindy Lee Mellin

by Richard Senate

A saleswoman at Macy’s at the Pacific View Mall told me that the department store was haunted. Footsteps were heard when there was no one there, someone humming, and clothes moved on the rack. Not only did she say it was haunted but she even knew the name of the ghost. It was a former salesgirl named Cindy Lee Mellin who worked at the store when it was The Broadway.

I did some research on the salesclerk and discovered that on the night of January 20th, 1970 she vanished from the parking lot. Co-workers saw she had a flat tire and a young man was helping her jack up the car. They thought it was Cindy’s father. That was at 10:30 at night—from that time on she has never been seen again. When she didn’t come home, her father went looking for her and found her car, still jacked up with the flat tire still attached and the spare on the pavement next to it. All the doors were open as well as the glove compartment. The flat looked like it had been slashed with a knife.

Even after all these decades the case is still unsolved and the 19-year-old woman is listed as “endangered missing.” In the investigation that followed they questioned a man matching the description given by co-workers who worked at a near by gas station. After questioning, the man was released and mysteriously vanished.

Because of his flight some believe he might well have been the killer. Some even speculate he might have been linked to the infamous Zodiac Killer who terrorized the San Francisco Bay area. Both of Cindy’s parents have passed away now without answers or closure. Playing armchair detective the victim may well have known her kidnapper and killer. He must have known her car so he would know which car tire to slash. He may well have stalked her in the department store. We may never know Ms. Mellin’s fate but it seems she has good reason to haunt. Maybe her ghost can give us the name of her killer or where her remains may rest. It is one of the great unsolved cases in Ventura history.

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