Shannon Melendi from CBS Miami

‘Dateline’: The Tragic Kidnapping & Murder Of Shannon Melendi

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Shannon Melendi was a student at Emory University at the time of her disappearance in the spring of 1994. She attended a softball game in DeKalb County, Georgia, and kept score for the game. On March 26, 1994, Shannon officially went missing.

Over a decade later, courts convicted the umpire at the softball game with Shannon’s kidnapping and murder. But sadly, authorities never recovered her body. Dateline recently dove into the crime and the umpire reportedly behind it all, Butch Hinton.

Shannon Melendi tragically met her end at the hands of one man

According to Dateline, Colvin “Butch” Hinton worked at Delta Airlines. He also reportedly served time in prison for arson and insurance fraud in 1995 — just one year after Shannon Melendi’s disappearance. So how exactly did authorities connect him with the crime?

Authorities report that an anonymous person called a hotline at Emory University and claimed to be Shannon’s kidnapper. The person on the line said that she was fine, just lonely. The caller revealed he was calling from a public phone booth, saying that he taped one of Shannon’s rings there. Authorities managed to find the ring in the public phone booth. It was inside a cloth bag connected to Delta Airlines.

Butch Hinton from 11 Alive
Colvin “Butch Hinton/11Alive

When authorities caught up with Hinton, he told them that Shannon cooperated with him after he took her. He told the girl that he wouldn’t hurt her and promised to let her go after he got rid of her car. But sadly, that wasn’t true. Hinton took Shannon to his house, handcuffed her, and sexually assaulted her. Afterward, he went to the movies with family members before coming home and assaulting her again. Hinton then reportedly panicked about what to do with Shannon, so he chose to strangle her to death with a necktie.

Next, he claimed that he burned Shannon Melendi’s body in his yard. But since authorities never found the body, Shannon’s father believes that there is a lot more to the story that Hinton never shared.

Shannon Melendi from CBS Miami
Luis Melendi/CBS Miami

After authorities apprehended Hinton, he confessed to giving his wife another of Shannon’s rings as a gift shortly after he killed her. He lied to his wife and said he got it from a friend.

Butch Hinton sits in a prison cell to this day

Although nothing can ever bring Shannon Melendi back, her family is pleased to know that Butch Hinton is in prison for his crimes. In 2005, the courts sentenced him to life in prison. Dateline reports that Hinton is the first person in Georgia to receive a murder conviction without a body or a crime scene.

Hinton is allegedly remorseful for the crime and admitted he did kill her in 2006.

“If I have to stay in a cell for 23 hours a day for the rest of my life, at least I can breathe. She can’t,” he said. “The prison that I am in is no comparison to the prison inside of me.”

Stay tuned for more true crime stories like this one. There’s plenty of news from Dateline to share.

Nikole Behrens
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