A little more than a month after his estranged wife and co-worker Jonelle Melton was found murdered in her Neptune City apartment, Red Bank Middle School teacher Michael Melton has given the Asbury Park Press an interview in which he confronts a rumor that he is a suspect.
“I’m not capable of anything like that. I loved her to death,” Melton told the Press. “There’s no way I was ever involved in anything like that, but until they say otherwise, people are always going to wonder,” he said.
Both Meltons worked as teachers at the middle school. He’s on leave and scheduled to return to work December 1, but “he worries what the reaction from colleagues and students will be when he returns to his fourth-grade classroom,” the Press reports.
That’s because the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s office hasn’t said anything to dispel speculation that Melton might have killed his ex, Melton and his attorney, Ron Venturi, told Press reporter Matt Pais.
The prosecutor, in fact, as has said close to nothing about the case other than that it’s being treated as a homicide. The office has not confirmed speculation that Jonelle Melton was found beaten and shot to death.
Michael Melton tells the Press he left a meeting at school the morning of September 14 to check on his ex-wife when she didn’t show up for work and “found her lifeless body laying near a broken make-up table.”
He says he’s cooperated with the investigation, giving a DNA sample and his cell phone records to authorities.
From the Press:
The terms of their divorce, set to be finalized in Superior Court on Oct. 6, are noteworthy only in terms of their simplicity. He filed; she never contested. Neither hired a lawyer and there were no assets to be divided, no children to fight over.
They remained close, he said, speaking daily on the telephone and collaborating on classroom projects. They even needed to remind themselves why they were dissolving their six-year union in the first place, he said.
“We never stopped loving each other. We just worked a lot better and related to each other a lot better once we were separated,” he said.