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Husband Charged With Murder After Wife Found Dead In State Forest On Long Island

Gabby Petito's father Joe had put out a plea to help find Melissa Molinari after the mother of four vanished four days before Thanksgiving.

By Gina Tron
Melissa Molinari Pd

A Long Island man has been charged with murder after his wife, a mother of four, has been found slain in a forest.

The remains of Melissa Molinari, 38 — who has been missing since the Sunday before Thanksgiving — were discovered on Thursday in a state forest, a Suffolk County police spokesperson told People. After the grim find, police arrested the woman's husband, Marcello Molinari, 43, on second-degree murder charges, PIX 11 reports.

The Suffolk County Police Department have not immediately responded to Oxygen.com’s request for comment.

Melissa Molinari was last seen by relatives on Nov. 21 — four days before Thanksgiving. She was only reported missing by a friend 11 days later. Her vehicle had never left her home, which prompted friends to worry.

Police this week found her body wrapped in towels and blankets in the Rocky Point Barrens State Forest — about 10 miles from the couple's home. They say she was stabbed nearly two dozen times in the chest and back, according to NBC New York.

An autopsy is pending to determine exactly how Melissa died.

NBC New York also reports that police say Marcello Molinari discovered that his wife was having an affair during a a family trip to Disneyland in early November, which they cut short after the revelations. The couple had reportedly decided to continue living in the family home until they could finalize a divorce and sell the property.

Instead, police now allege, Marcello Molinari stabbed his wife in the basement, where police found traces of blood. They also used the husband's cell phone data to track him to the Rocky Point Barrens State Forest — where Melissa Molinari's body was found this week — between between 4:00 and 5:00 am on Nov. 23.

The search for Melissa Molinari had gotten more public attention after Long Islander Joe Petito — the father of murder victim Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito — put out a call for help on social media.

Joe Petito responded to news of Melissa Molinari's death by tweeting about domestic violence. 

“Why? Why do we keep doing the same thing and expecting a different result?” he wrote. “We have to teach our young ones better to stop the cycle. #DomesticViolence #TogetherWeCan #melissamolinari

Bodycam footage had shown Petito's 22-year-old daughter and her boyfriend Brian Laundrie talking to police following a domestic violence call about them shortly before she vanished in September. That video prompted national conversations about domestic violence and how it's treated by police officers.

Gabby’s Petito's remains were found in Wyoming on Sept. 19 and an autopsy revealed that she had been strangled to death. Investigators determined that Laundrie died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound after his partially skeletalized remains were found in Florida in October.