A mother and daughter in Washington were found dead on Wednesday after being reported missing on March 18. Police are looking at the boyfriend as a possible suspect.
According to a news release, a passerby found 27-year-old Meshay Melendez and her 7-year-old daughter, Layla Stewart, down a bank in thick brush. The onlooker described the two bodies as “life-sized mannequins.”
After police inspected the bodies at the scene, they contacted Melendez’s family.
The family told reporters that Melendez hadn’t contacted them since March 11, and the last person she was seen with was her ex-boyfriend, Kirkland Warren. Melendez, Layla and Warren stayed at an acquaintance’s home on March 11. The acquaintance told Vancouver police that the family left the house on March 12 at around 6 a.m. in Warren’s burgundy Dodge Charger.
After realizing they hadn’t heard from Melendez or Layla (who would call family members just to call), the family went to the police for help. On March 19, Warren was arrested.
Despite Warren being arrested for his possible involvement in Melendez’s murder, the 27-year-old mother’s family can’t help but feel like the court system let the family down due to Warren’s extensive criminal history record that should’ve kept him behind bars.
According to his record, Warren has 14 charges, including tampering with witnesses, unlawful possession of a firearm, five protection order violation charges, drive-by shooting, three assault charges and threatening to kill.
The drive-by shooting happened in December at Melendez’s apartment.
A couple of months after he shot the 27-year-old mother’s apartment, Melendez told police that she lied about the shooting and wanted assurance that he wouldn’t get arrested, which they did anyway. While in jail, Warren disobeyed the no-contact order by calling Melendez.
He was also charged with shooting a man in the head for repeatedly asking for money in November 2017. The following month, he was released on bail.
Early this month, Clark County prosecutors evaluated Warren and saw that he posed an “extreme risk” to the 27-year-old mother, earning a score of 31 on a one-to-18 scale. Days later, he’s released from jail (March 8). Despite being ordered to wear an ankle monitor for his involvement in the Arkansas shooting, the court never followed through.
“The court system failed Layla and Meshay. They really let us down on that,” Kendrick Taylor, Layla’s grandpa and Melendez’s stepdad, told The Columbian.