Prosecutors revealed more grim details Friday in the death of a Long Island woman found nearly three weeks after she went missing, pointing the blame on her husband who's been accused of murdering the mother of four.
Officials linked the killing back to early November, when prosecutors say Marcello Molinari, 43, first found out his wife, Melissa, had allegedly been involved in an extramarital affair. The family had been on a trip to Disneyland that was cut short when the husband found out.
The Centereach parents returned to their Long Island home Nov. 5 where they planned to live together until the couple could sell the house and finalize a divorce, prosecutors in Suffolk County said Friday.
But two weeks later, Melissa Molinari went missing.
Police have said the mother was last spotted by her family leaving her home on Lolly Lane in Centereach on Nov. 21, meaning that she didn't spend Thanksgiving with her children. She did not take her car, police said.
Marcello Molinari allegedly told police that Melissa left on Nov. 23 with an unknown man after getting into an argument on the previous day. Police say a friend — not her husband — reported the mother missing.
Suffolk County police found 38-year-old Melissa Molinari Thursday in Rocky Point Barrens State Forest, a week after she was reported missing on Dec. 2.
The Suffolk County Medical Examiner will have to perform an autopsy, authorities said.
Marcello Molinari allegedly told police the couple got into an argument and the wife left suddenly. But the evidence, prosecutors argue, paints a different picture.
They said traces of blood were found all over the basement of the family's home and in the family minivan. Officials also said GPS tracking links the husband to Rocky Point Barrens State Forest on Nov. 23 between 4 and 5 a.m. That's where prosecutors believe he dumped her body.
Police found Melissa Molinari's body wrapped in towels and blankets, and she had nearly two dozen stab wounds across her chest and back. After a sweep of the family home, investigators have not yet found a murder weapon.
Marcello Molinari said nothing as he was escorted out of the police precinct on Friday. His attorney says he denies all charges filed against him.
"He's maintaining his innocence," his attorney, Christopher Gioe, said Friday. "The first time he heard about the charges was here at the courthouse. The first time he was given an attorney, was here at the courthouse."
On Wednesday, Suffolk County detectives were combing over a water basin across the street from the Molinari's house, looking for any clues that could help them locate her.
"I find it very surprising she didn't take that car, she was in it all the time," said neighbor Gina Bastone. "That's what I'm shocked about, that she she would leave the kids, because she was so hands-on...it's just weird. Got to be so hard."
The father of Gabby Petito was involved in bringing attention to Molinari's disappearance, vowing to help other families find their missing loved ones. He tweeted Molinari's info, pleading with his followers to help find her as they look for any and all clues that will lead police to Molinari.
Marcello Molinari is expected to be arraigned on Friday. Information for his representative wasn't immediately available.