Family members and friends gathered at a candlelight vigil Sunday night to remember Charla Melvin as a woman who “inspired everyone around.”

Earlier in the day, Baltimore County police said they are “confident” that a woman found stabbed to death in Southwest Baltimore on Saturday was Melvin, a missing 50-year-old who lived in Windsor Mill. An autopsy will be performed to verify the findings.

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The body, reported by a passer-by about 11:10 a.m., was found wrapped in blankets and trash bags in an abandoned lot near Hollins Street and South Warwick Avenue in Shipley Hill in West Baltimore, according to police. She appeared to have died from sharp force trauma, according to initial findings.

Charla Melvin, 50, was last seen on the evening of Sept. 7 in the 3700 block of Twin Lakes Court.
Charla Melvin, 50, was last seen on the evening of Sept. 7 in the 3700 block of Twin Lakes Court. (Courtesy of Baltimore County Police Department)

At the vigil at Melvin’s home in Windsor Mill, Dena Fisher, Melvin’s cousin and good friend, said Melvin “inspired everyone around her.”

Friends and family arranged candles to read “Fly High” as they looked on silently.

Underneath a photo of Melvin on poster board outside the home was an uncredited poem, which Fisher read during the vigil.

“A thousand words won’t bring you back,” she said. “I know because I’ve tried; neither will a thousand tears. I know because I’ve cried."

Fisher said it will take a long time for the family to recover, but thanked the Baltimore County police for their work on the case, saying they addressed rumors spreading on social media about Melvin’s death.

Several officers were also at the vigil, holding candles in silent prayer along with those gathered to remember Melvin.

“It’s the intersection between grief and hope,” she said of Melvin’s disappearance. “Now that we know, it’s allowing us to grieve.”

“We draw on her spirit,” she added.

Baltimore Police asked the public to be on the lookout for Charla Melvin's car, a black 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe with Maryland tag 3CR7429, which was last seen in West Baltimore. Anyone who sees the vehicle is asked to call Baltimore County police at 410-307-2020.
Baltimore Police asked the public to be on the lookout for Charla Melvin's car, a black 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe with Maryland tag 3CR7429, which was last seen in West Baltimore. Anyone who sees the vehicle is asked to call Baltimore County police at 410-307-2020.

An autopsy was scheduled for Sunday, Baltimore City police said earlier in the day. Bruce Goldfarb, spokesman for the Office of the State Medical Examiner, declined at that time to say whether it had been performed.

“We don’t talk about cases that are currently under investigation,” Goldfarb said.

Police said they suspected she was “the victim of foul play" after her cousin, Thomas Davis Jr., was found dead by suicide near Carver High School in the city last week.

Investigators suspect Davis in his cousin’s killing and are working “to shore up enough evidence,” said Cpl. Shawn Vinson, a Baltimore County Police spokesman.

“We’re headed in that direction, but we’re waiting until the evidence confirms it,” he said. “We’re just trying to put a timeline together to see what happened.”

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Melvin had been missing since Sept. 7.

Her car, which was last seen in West Baltimore, remains missing. Police hope it will contain evidence in her death.

Baltimore Police asked the public to be on the lookout for the vehicle: a black 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe with Maryland tag 3CR7429.

Anyone who sees the vehicle is asked to call Baltimore County police at 410-307-2020.

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