Classified as a homicide, the brutal death of 1-year-old Melanie Rodriguez has been compounded by a disturbing case of he/said she/said.
"I just couldn't believe it," said Joe Salazar, a neighbor. He says that Frankie Vustan, the boyfriend of the slain baby's mother, wouldn't commit murder. "He don't look like the type of person that would do that," he said.
Declining to appear on camera, Vustan's cousin says that Frankie was 'in shock', that he 'couldn't believe it', when he heard the news of Melanie's death. The conclusion? The mother did it. But just a few streets away... "He beat her and he suffocated her," said Janie Sanchez. Janie lives across the street from the mother of the baby, Angela Zamora. A post on the porch supports a flowered crucifix. "Angela, she's a good girl," she said.
According to the Sanchez's, Frankie is rumored to be the trouble-maker. "The grandmother came over to use my cell phone to call the police on him," said Crystal Sanchez. She says that Frankie called Angela the day of the murder and was verbally abusive. "He was harassing her saying why was she calling the cops, that he was untouchable, that nothing would happen to him and stuff like that," she said.
"Her grandma would tell her that he was a bad kid, and one of these days something bad would happen. I just never believed something like this would happen," said Janie Sanchez.
As of Thursday night, charges were yet to be filed, while the body of 1-year-old Melanie was prepared for burial at the local funeral home.