Mari A. Schaefer, Inquirer Staff Writer
Posted: Thursday, May 9, 2013, 3:01 AM
Delaware County police have searched the two homes and work truck of the estranged husband of a Collingdale woman who has been missing for almost three weeks.
Collingdale Police Dept.
Melissa Ortiz-Rodriguez has been missing since mid-April.
Melissa Ortiz-Rodriguez, 30, had planned a weekend visit with friends in Newark, N.J., on April 19 but failed to show up. Her estranged husband, Jose Luis Rodriguez, reported her missing four days later after she did not show up for a new job and failed to pick up their two daughters, ages 7 and 11, from school.
Rodriguez told investigators that she usually took public transportation when visiting friends. Her car was still parked at the Collingdale home.
Police searched Rodriguez’s homes in Collingdale and Ocean Township, N.J., on Monday, according to Collingdale Police Chief Robert Adams.
A truck Rodriguez uses for his job with Amtrak was searched to see if the GPS unit could offer any information, Adams said.
Rodriguez retained a lawyer, Michael Diamondstein, after his wife’s disappearance.
Diamondstein said his client had been very forthcoming with authorities but “based on the way he was treated” decided it was best to have an attorney during questioning.
“They asked for additional pieces of evidence and we turned it over,” he said.
The couple’s two children have moved in with Rodriguez, who lives in New Jersey, Diamondstein said.
Rodriguez would occasionally spend nights at the Collingdale home but did not live there full-time, he said.
Constance Hardison, 52, has lived across the street from the Ortiz-Rodriguez home for two years. She said the family mostly kept to itself. She was not aware of any troubles in the home.
She saw Rodriguez cutting grass and occasionally would chat with him about the family’s two small dogs.
Hardison said she always saw Ortiz-Rodriguez with the children, playing with them in the yard or taking them back and forth to school.
“As close as she seems to these children, I just can’t see her walking away,” said Hardison.
Most weekends the family would pack the car and go to New Jersey to visit family, she said.
Ortiz-Rodriguez is 5-foot-5 and weighs about 130 pounds. She was last seen wearing a yellow flowered dress, police said.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Collingdale police at 610-586-0502 or Delaware County detectives at 610-891-4700.