Posted on February 15, 2013 at 11:16 PM
Friday, Feb 15 at 11:21 PM
Monica Hernandez / Eyewitness News
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter: @mhernandezwwl
NEW ORLEANS - As bustling crowds enjoy Bourbon Street, employees in the area are on high alert after two women went missing within a week of each other.
“It makes me want to go get mace or something heavy to carry around so no one runs up on me or something, you know,” said Dina Perrin, a hostess at Felix’s Oyster Bar and Restaurant near Bourbon and Iberville Streets.
The restaurant is just down the street from where Angela Melancon, 38, was last seen. Coworkers said Melancon was waitressing at the recently opened Hard Rock Cafe on Bourbon Street.
According to police, she has been missing since she left work just around 12:30 a.m. after the Super Bowl.
Employees of the Hard Rock Cafe couldn't speak on camera without corporate permission, but off camera, said they were shocked Melancon went missing. They said Melancon mostly kept to herself and hadn't been working there long.
Police are also searching for Jessica Pratt, 34, an Iowa resident who came to town hoping to find work as a dancer at local clubs during Carnival. She was last seen leaving the Le Petit Motel on Tulane Avenue Saturday afternoon. Her belongings are still there.
“I think you've got to get the feds involved in this,” said Dr. Peter Scharf, criminologist at Tulane University. “You've got to look at clues from outside this area. Did something happen on Peachtree Street in Atlanta?”
Scharf says there are striking similarities between the two women in age and body type that could indicate an alarming pattern.
Melancon is a white female, approximately 5’6” tall, 110 pounds,with long black hair and brown eyes. She has piercings on her right eyebrow and a piercing on her bottom lip.
Pratt is a white female, 5’7” tall, 120 pounds, with shoulder length blonde hair and hazel eyes. She has a piercing above her right cheek.
“They both had piercings on the right side of their face, but is that enough? There are some in the literature serial killer cases where they choose a certain type of target. Is this a case where somebody chose these targets?” said Scharf, noting that both also had jobs that can make them very vulnerable.
For now, police are continuing to investigate what might have happened to these women, as nearby businesses advise employees to take extra precautions.
“They tell me that we should cover up like where work, because if someone sees, ‘Oh she works at Felix’s, she might be a waitress, she's probably got money on her,’ and they'll rob you like that,” said Perrin.
Police say the investigation is ongoing and detectives are looking into any possible leads. If you have any information, call Crimestoppers at (504) 822-1111.