Cold case of Young mother found murdered and stuffed in garbage bags examined

21-year-old Melissa Woffenberger was murdered in 1999. CSI Atlanta takes a fresh look at the cold case.
Published: Feb. 22, 2022 at 6:39 PM EST
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ATLANTA (CBS46) – It’s been 22 years since a young mother’s body was found mutilated and stuffed in garbage bags.

Police made the gruesome discovery in April 1999. At the time, they didn’t know the dismembered and mutilated body found in black trash bags, discarded along the side of a quiet Atlanta road, was that of 21-year-old Melissa Woffenberger.

“They found her head first. Then, they came back and found her legs and her arms in black garbage bags,” Melissa’s mother said. “In 1999 when she was found they thought she was a male...we probably still wouldn’t know. She’d probably still be a John Doe in the morgue.”

Now, two decades later, there are still no real leads. Who killed Melissa? How did her body end up in front of the business where her husband worked?

CSI Atlanta has been digging for answers and returned to the scene. CSI Atlanta’s Sheryl McCollum enlisted trace sergeant -- one of the nation’s leading k9 specialists in search and recovery missions to help search the woods where the black garbage bags with Melissa’s remains were believed to be dumped for new clues.

Melissa’s mother says while parts of her daughter’s body were identified, she hopes the biggest missing piece in this puzzle is found.

“At this point I hope to find the torso...when you bury your child and you’re not able to bury the whole body it’s devastating,” she said.

Dr. Duane Thompson with a local police department and criminal justice expert also helped us search the woods for clues that may have been missed.

Fulton County assistant district attorney, Adrian Love, wanted to walk this crime scene with CSI Atlanta. She says her office will take another look at the case to bring closure to the family.

“The detectives that are working on the case, their supervisors … have shown a dedication to solve it that makes me extremely optimistic about our chances of actually putting this case in front of a Grand Jury, getting it indicted and being able to bring it to trial, Love said.