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Helen Melchi, 84 Champaign, Champaign County, Illinois July 1, 2003


Helen’s neighbor called her family to ask if they had seen or spoken to Helen. That day, they had not, and hearing that her newspaper was never picked up at the bottom of the driveway that day, as she had for many years, alerted the neighbor, and now her family. Additionally, her garage door was wide open and Helen was nowhere to be seen. Uncharacteristic to her every day ritual, her daughter and daughter’s husband went straight to the house.


Her daughter entered the residence at 1301 North Hickory Street in Champaign, where her mom Helen had lived about forty-four years, and knew that something just didn’t look right. The next room she went in to gave her the same uneasy feeling. Her husband in another part of the house, found Helen, deceased, fully clothed in the bathtub, bound and gagged.


8:45 P.M. the family called police. The police said that the house seemed ransacked and was consistent with what looked to be a burglary.



Law Enforcement remained focused. It would take them three full days to process the scene, covering every inch of the house, and taking anything and everything that may possibly have been evidence. With Champaign and Illinois State Police Crime Scene Techs, they pretty much “took everything but the kitchen sink”. They worked with the coroner to protect the crime scene from contamination. It would take the coroner till the following day to bring Helen’s body in for an autopsy. The coroner reported that Helen was beaten and strangled. Helen had been strangled death with someone’s bare hands. Her body was bruised which was consistent to a beating. They felt the entry was the back door, with specific jewelry and undisclosed amount of money taken, and never recovered.


Through the years two men were charged an arrested, a confession was thrown out and the charges were dropped. The police believe four men were involved in the burglary and murder.


Helen was a member of the St Matthew Lutheran Church and a member at the VFW Post 630 Auxiliary in Urbana. I can’t imagine that the selfishness of any person(s) to take things they didn’t earn was worth killing another human. Nonetheless, Helen’s life was taken from her. Her family still have no answers and no justice.



If you have any information on the murder or burglary of Helen Melchi, please do the right thing. Contact Detectives at the Champaign Police Department (217) 403-6900

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