Melinda Karen Creech, age 13, disappeared from Anderson, Indiana.

This is one of those cases where each fact seems to raise countless questions.

This is also a case where I see complete negligence on the part of our justice system.  It is rare for me to make that statement, as I understand that law enforcement and government agencies are overwhelmed, understaffed, and underfinanced.  There are plenty of cases where one can clearly see that more could have been done, but unlike Law & Order and CSI, real law enforcement agencies don’t and can’t keep their entire squad on duty for 24 hours straight because a person is missing.  In this case, however, I believe the government has hindered the investigation, and still continues to do so.

Melinda (also known as Mindy) was taken to a juvenile facility called Blake House (also referred to as The Old Blake House or Blake Home) after being caught trying to steal motorcycles from a local dealership.  She was picked up with at least one juvenile male.

Melinda’s mother, who suffered from some type of dementia, later told Melinda’s siblings that Melinda had run away from the Blake House, and was missing.   There is no other known report to substantiate that she ran away.

One would think that if a child went missing from government custody, that they (much more than your average family) would have easy access to media coverage, law enforcement resources, etc. and that a search would have ensued.  After all, the government was responsible for the welfare of this child.  I was unable to find even the slightest mention in the local newspaper, however, of her being missing.

Some time after Melinda’s siblings were told that Melinda had run away from the Blake Home, their mother told them that the remains of a girl found in New Jersey had been identified as Melinda.  For this reason, nobody ever filed a missing persons report on her.  Melinda’s siblings believed what they were told at the time, although they did find it odd that no funeral service was held for her.  As a result, there was no activity on her case for several years.

When Melinda’s mother died, and her children began sorting through her things, they found things that were highly suspicious – most notably, an official letter addressed to Melinda’s mother, claiming that the remains found in New Jersey had been ruled out as being Melinda.  Why their mother had lied to them about this is one of the biggest mysteries.

On further inspection of their mother’s belongings, they found a letter from the court, scheduling a session for the parents to meet with Melinda, and the letter advised that they could retain an attorney to represent Melinda, if they chose to, at their own expense.   Strangely, this letter was dated AFTER Melinda supposedly ran away.

These discoveries led her siblings to report her missing, and to try to find out what really did happen to their sister.

Did her mother show up at that court session?  Was Melinda present?

Because her mother did suffer from dementia and was reportedly abusive, there has been speculation that her mother may have harmed her, or that she may have signed away her parental rights.   That leaves me with this question:  Why would her mother have inquired about the Jane Doe in New Jersey, if she didn’t believe Melinda was missing.  She would have known it would come back not a match – and she didn’t show the letter to her children, which rules out the idea that she may have wanted it to appear that she was concerned and searching for Melinda.

Melinda’s siblings have been met with nothing but brick walls, in trying to access information on Melinda’s last known movements within the justice system… and this is where the government negligence comes in.

Remember that we are dealing with a juvenile… a child… that has been missing for over 30 years now.   There are simple questions about her last known whereabouts that the government has the answers to – yet the government, WHO WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR HER SAFETY, refuses to answer them.

Some have claimed they don’t have records back that far. (really???)

Others say the information is confidential due to her being an adult. (Show us proof that she actually lived to be an adult??)

Most just don’t respond at all.

To put this in perspective, for a moment – suppose you are caring for someone’s child while they go on vacation.   Sometime during the child’s stay with you, the child runs away.  Ok, it happens.  Children run away.  Short of guarding every exit from the home, you can’t really stop a child, especially a teen, who is bent on running away.

The parents come back from vacation a week later, and come to pick up their child, who is not there.  They ask you where their child is, you say  “I don’t know.”  They ask you when you last saw the child, you say  “I can’t tell you that.”   They ask you what their child was doing when they were last seen, you say  “That’s confidential.”

First, you will find yourself named as a suspect on charges from negligence, child endangerment, kidnapping, and possibly worse.

Then, you will be sued.

Your name will be dragged through the mud, your neighbors will all look at you funny and keep tight grasps on their children when you are around.

The government has done precisely this, yet no one has held them accountable!

This case needs a good dose of national media coverage – not that all cases don’t, but government officials tend to start acting when the media is in their faces.

After extensive research, I have identified several individuals who were somehow connected to the Juvenile system at the time she disappeared.  I am only naming public officials, out of respect for the privacy of fellow juveniles who were also in the home.  However, if you were at the Blake House,   Bronnenberg Home, Hillcrest Home, or Indiana Boys School in 1979, I encourage you to comment if you remember anything about Melinda.

(Note regarding Indiana Boys School: Melinda was said to have been writing letters of a romantic nature to a boy who attended this school – it’s possible she might have contacted him after her disappearance.)

Jack Brinkman – Juvenile Judge in 1979

Lawrence Heidelberg – Superintendent of Blake House in 1979

Naomi Heidelberg – Teacher at Blake House in 1979, and wife of Lawrence Heidelberg

Jerry Armington – County Commissioner in 1979, was involved in a suit against one of the children’s homes in 1979

Robert E Baldwin – Sheriff in 1979

Michael Sutherlin – District Attorney in 1979

Lou Blanton – Administrator of Bronnenberg Home in 1979 (Blake House was an extension of Bronnenberg Home, added in 1977 to cater specifically to girls)

Barbara Pontius – Director of Bronnenberg Home in 1979

Sherree Cannell – Houseparent at Bronnenberg Home in 1979

Mike Shelton – Houseparent at Bronnenberg Home in 1979

Susan Garthwaite – In charge of Hillcrest Home in 1979 (Hillcrest Home was a religious based children’s home, that took the overflow from other homes.  An article regarding Hillcrest in the Anderson Herald contained a photo of children playing in a yard.  One girl, which could only be seen from the back, looked like she could have been Melinda.)

Sam and Belinda Watkins – Houseparents at Hillcrest Home in 1979

Note: The remains found in New Jersey, which Melinda’s mother had falsely claimed were identified as Melinda, are still unidentified.  The set of remains is commonly referred to as Princess Doe.


Charley Project

Anderson Herald

My Heart To Yours – Melinda’s brother’s web page

DoeNetwork (Princess Doe)




3 thoughts on “Melinda Creech

  1. I am the same age as this girl. I grew up in Anderson, In. I do not remember hearing about this. So very sad.

  2. To Melinda’s siblings; I am not saying that it ‘is’ what happened , but from my own experiences at that facility, in the mid 70s , I will say that the adults in charge there (house parents etc. ), were not professional in any sense ! I am 56 now, but as a teenager I had to go there a couple of times and the adults in charge did some Very Bad things to and with the kids! I still remember names and events, vividly. Knowing what I know, if I were you I would start with the staff that was there at that time. The system was very corrupt all the way from the probation officers , houseparents, to the office staff , etc. I , as an adult look back to that time and have often thought of exposing what went on there, not only with me but Many others , that I still remember… Good luck in your future search and God be with you

  3. I went to Northside middle school with Melinda Creech. I was friends with her. I called her Mindy. we lived on 10th st and her on cross when my mom lost her house, Mindy help find us a little apartment over by her house. We became very good friends. I miss her. I know she and I would have stayed in touch and to this day would have remain friends. I often think what did happen to her this is a case I wish someone had answer to. Mindy you are truly missed and loved by many other.

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