Omaha, NE - The body of 19-year old Melissa Rodriguez was found in a freshly dug grave at Graceland cemetery August 15. The grave was intended for Kevin McIntyre, who was shot and killed on August 4. The homicide investigation at his grave delayed the funeral to Friday morning. As his family mourned the loss of the 28-year old, the Rodriguez family is overwhelmed with their own questions and sadness.
Melissa was an athlete and an honor roll student when she attended South High school. Her family and teachers said she had a bright future. "Definitely somebody who is remembered at South High. Very active, well liked by her peers and her teachers," said South High principal, Cara Riggs, she says the Packer family is struggling with her death. Melissa finished her high school credit requirements as a junior in 2011, she stuck around to gain college credits and walk with her friends at graduation in 2012.
After high school, Melissa attended the University of Nebraska to study law and writing, she would have been a sophomore this year. Her mother said no obstacle could stop Melissa. "She was just a go-getter, she knew what she wanted in life and she always said she was going to be big things and she always wanted to help people," said her mother, Angie Rodriguez. Her family always knew she would make headlines one day, they never imagined it would be this way. "I don't know why, we loved my daughter, we all loved my daughter," said Adan Rodriguez, Melissa's father.
Her family, fighting the tears, think about the good times they shared with the talented teen, "She was a sweetheart, Melissa loved life, she loved life so much," said Angie, "we're going to miss her so much, so much, our family is going to have a huge hole where she should belong." For now the pain is strong in the Rodriguez family, they stare at prom and senior photos. Although photo's cannot replace what was stolen from the grieving family, they can help remind of the good times. "We'll keep all those good memories with us forever, those will never replace not having her but we'll have all of those," says her mother with tears in her eyes.