Sheriff: missing McAllen woman found dead

3 years 1 month 2 weeks ago Saturday, August 08 2020 Aug 8, 2020 August 08, 2020 8:48 AM August 08, 2020 in News - Local

Investigators found a 37-year-old McAllen woman dead on Friday night, a day after her ex-husband allegedly abducted her.

Hidalgo County Sheriff J.E. "Eddie" Guerra announced on Twitter that investigators found Melissa Banda, 37, of McAllen dead Friday night in rural Hidalgo County.

Investigators "discovered her lifeless body east of FM 493 on Mile 14 1/2 N," Guerra tweeted at 2:36 a.m. Saturday. "HCSO Major Crimes Unit will take lead on the Capital Murder Investigation."

The investigation started at 3:49 p.m. Thursday, when the McAllen Police Department dispatched officers to a disturbance on the 7100 block of North 7th Street.

"Upon arrival, Officers were informed that male suspect(s) 'forced female [victim] ... and put her in ... SUV,'" according to a news release from the police department.

Officers identified Melissa Banda, 37, of McAllen as the woman involved, according to the news release. They also identified her ex-husband, Richard Ford, 40, of McAllen as a suspect in her apparent abduction.

Banda and Ford were married in July 2008, according to Hidalgo County Clerk's Office records available online. They apparently divorced; Hidalgo County doesn't make divorce records available online.

Banda had obtained a protective order against Ford, according to the news release. Despite the protective order, Banda accused Ford of contacting her on June 30.

"The victim reported 'her ex-husband, Richard Ford ... called her ... [that] morning ... when answering the call Richard stayed quiet on the line ... there is currently a protection order which prohibits him from making any contact with her,'" according to the news release.

Police investigated the incident with assistance from the FBI and the Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office.

Police determined the car used in the apparent abduction was a rental car. They found Ford's car near the McAllen airport, according to the news release. Officers determined the car used in the apparent abduction, a white Dodge SUV, was "at or near Beach Access 5 at South Padre Island."

Cameron County law enforcement officers approached the car and arrested Ford, who had outstanding warrants for violation of a court order and harassment.

Check back for updates.

Correction: This story misstated the date that investigators found Melissa Banda.

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