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30 years after Shannon Melendi's murder, family honors her memory, works to keep killer in prison

30 years after her murder, Shannon Melendi's family honors her
30 years after her murder, Shannon Melendi's family honors her 03:09

MIAMI - This month marks 30 years since Southwestern High School student Shannon Melendi was murdered.

Her family honored her memory at her alma mater Tuesday by teaching students about safety measures they believe could have saved Shannon.

That same family is working to keep her memory alive and her killer behind bars.

Shannon was just 19 and a freshman at Emory University when she disappeared back in March of 1994, from an off-campus, part-time job.  

She was working as a softball scorekeeper when she went missing during her lunch break.

"She was my very own superhero," said Shannon's sister, Monique, who remembers the long-agonizing wait for her sister's coworker, Butch Hinton to admit he kidnapped, raped and murdered her sister.

"But Hinton was friendly...he was know what else he was? He was a convicted sexual predator, who 12 years earlier had raped a 14-year-old girl."

Shannon's high school soccer coach Angel Menendez said the blame is all on Butch, but there are steps he said Shannon could have taken that maybe, just maybe could have saved her.

"If you're in the car with somebody, and you realize that this is not a good idea...pull the steering wheel."

Angel said Shannon did not tell anybody she was going out to lunch.

"Who she was going to lunch with, what their plans were...where they were going. And lastly, if and when there was an opportunity to draw attention to herself when she realized she was in danger...nothing happened."

Hundreds of students walked out of the safety assembly with whistles in hand.

Shannon's sister, dad, and late mother still don't have closure. 

Hinton was convicted even though Shannon's body has never been found. Her family works tirelessly to keep Hinton behind bars, but he's up for parole again in 2025.

"I have no say, it's up to the parole board to decide if he carries his bible enough around the prison. He might get out...and I'm very cynical when it comes to that because that's what they all do. Crime of passion, robbery, you can rehabilitate those people...sexual predators, you cannot."

The Melendi family said their safety assembly at Southwestern marked the kickoff of their campaign to gather signatures to ask the parole board not to consider letting Hinton out.

You can find the petition on

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