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Ex-Husband Arrested After Missing Mother of 3 Melissa Banda Found Dead in Texas

The search for missing Texas mother Melissa Banda, 37, has come to a tragic end. Hidalgo County Sheriff Eddie Guerra announced that her body was discovered on Friday.

The suspect in her abduction was identified as her estranged husband Richard Ford, 40, according to KVEO. Authorities said he pushed her into his Dodge SUV, a rental car, on Thursday. It was found at South Padre Island, where authorities arrested him. He was held on two pending warrants for harassment and violating a court order. Banda had called the police on him on June 30, saying there was a protective order, according to officials.

It’s publicly unclear what led up to Ford allegedly kidnapping Banda.

“No, there’s really nothing that led up to it,” Melissa’s sister Cindy Banda told KRGV. “I don’t understand why it happened the way that it did. There’s a lot of unanswered questions, and honestly, only he knows.”

Police said they are looking at this as a kidnapping and possible capital murder case: The autopsy is pending.

It is unclear if Ford has an attorney in this matter. The defendant previously spent eight years in prison on a 2002 conviction for attempted murder. He was arrested in February 2020 for allegedly assaulting a relative.

A GoFundMe meant to benefit Melissa Banda’s three young children raised $18,825 out of a $20,000 goal as of Monday afternoon.

[Screengrabvia KGRV]

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