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Searchers to seek clues in 1989 disappearance of Woburn girl

A private organization plans to search an area in Stoneham this weekend and excavate an area in Woburn next month, in hopes of finding evidence that will solve the mysterious October 1989 disappearance of Woburn high school freshman Melanie Melanson.

The Woburn police will observe and are prepared to assist, while Middlesex prosecutors “support any efforts made in finding Melanie,” said Stephanie Guyotte, a Middlesex district attorney’s spokeswoman.

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Police dogs sniffing an area near some railroad tracks on Montvale Avenue in Woburn in November alerted officers. Soil was tested and results came back positive for human remains, Tate said.

The area will be excavated Aug. 17 and Aug. 18, said Alan Tate, a private investigator and founder of Mission for the Missing, the organization funding the dig.

Recently, an anonymous tip also suggested that the Woburn area was the original site of Melanie’s burial and that she was later moved to the Middlesex Fells Reservation in Stoneham, Tate said.

Searchers will go to Stoneham this weekend in the hope of finding other evidence. If any clues are uncovered, an additional excavation will be planned, Tate said.

Assisting with the August search in Woburn will be Dr. Bill Bass, a forensic anthropologist who founded the University of Tennessee’s Anthropological Research Facility, which specializes in researching the decomposition process. Bass will be accompanied by other experts and university forensic sciences students.

Sarah N. Mattero can be reached at sarah.mattero@globe.com.
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