Michael Mellus

On July 6, 2022, the Sylvania Police Department announced that Michael Mellus is the lead suspect in the January 2, 1985 murder of 30-year-old Patricia Stichler in Sylvania, Ohio. The case will likely be cleared by exception due to the death of Mellus.

Someone had broken into Stichler’s home where she lived with her three daughters. Stichler was divorced, and was raising her children as a single mother. Her 11-year-old daughter found her body lying on her bedroom floor in the early morning hours. Someone had attacked her as she slept in her bed, stabbed her several times, and slashed her throat. Many of the wounds were defensive in nature.

The FGG investigation was conducted by Advance DNA. The genealogical investigation was challenging, as Michael had been put up for adoption by his mother. The method of confirmation has not been disclosed, and police state that they are continuing to investigate.

Mellus was 17 years old at the time of the murder. He lived across the street about 6 doors down from Stichler, although they are not known to have been acquainted. Mellus died in a car accident in 1989 while stationed at a U.S. Army base in North Carolina.

Police tested the DNA of several suspects, including Stichler’s husband and ex-boyfriend, as well as her male friends. All were excluded as suspects in the case. Stichler’s middle daughter stated, “Toby Oldham, who was my father, and James Richard Vale Jr., who was my mother’s boyfriend, spent 37 years of their life being judged and ridiculed by everyone… My father, as recently as a few years ago, went to a reunion and someone said ‘you killed your wife.’ This was a very dark cloud and it’s just not fair.” She asked that police announce the name of the suspect, to clear her father and others who were suspected of committing the crime.


Maranette, Kalie. “‘It’s All Worth This Day Today’: After 37 Years of Waiting, a Murder Suspect is Named in Sylvania.” WTOL 11 News, July 6, 2022. Accessed July 8, 2022. https://www.wtol.com/article/news/investigations/11-investigates/after-37-years-of-waiting-murder-suspect-of-patricia-stichler-named/512-379f5770-d795-4bc3-8870-3816c3a9a654.

Miller, Jax. “Police ID 1985 Suspect as Neighbourhood Teen Accused of Violently Murdering Mother of Three.” Oxygen, July 7, 2022. Accessed July 8, 2022. https://www.oxygen.com/crime-news/michael-mellus-identified-patricia-stichler-murder-suspect.

Voetsch, Melissa. “Case File: 37 Years Later, the Daughters of Patricia Stichler are Still Seeking Justice.” ABC 13 News Toledo, September 13, 2021. Accessed July 8, 2022. https://www.13abc.com/2021/09/14/case-file-37-years-later-daughters-patricia-stichler-are-still-seeking-justice/.



First Name Michael
Last Name Mellus
Other Names
Victims 1 (Details)
IGG Started 2018-00-00
Case Cleared 2022-07-06
IGG Org Advance DNA


Case ID Name Age Case Opened Location Investigating Org Most Serious Charge Disposition Court
1843 Patricia Stichler 30 1985-01-02 Sylvania, OH Sylvania PD Second degree murder Case is still open as a suspect has not yet been identified n/a

Last updated: February 9, 2024

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Case data and narrative licensed under CC BY 4.0: Dowdeswell, Tracey (2023), “Forensic Genetic Genealogy Project v. 2022”, Mendeley Data, V1, doi: 10.17632/jcycgvhm96.1. All other content, including photos, have been added.