Melissa Gusé was the last person to see her stepdaughter, 16-year-old Karlie Gusé, alive. What happened between the pair in the early hours before Karlie vanished from her California home on the morning of October 13, 2018 is open for debate. That’s because Melissa’s version of the events has changed dramatically. This Melissa Gusé wiki looks at her life, the events surrounding Karlie’s disappearance, and the search for the missing teen.
Who Is Melissa Gusé?
Very little has been published about the personal life of Melissa Gusé, the stepmother of missing California teen Karlie Gusé. That’s mainly because, before Karlie went missing, thrusting her family into the spotlight, Melissa was a typical, hardworking wife and mother.
What we do know is that 34-year-old Melissa married Zachary Gusé sometime in 2009. Lindsay Fairley, Karlie’s biological mother, and Zachary had divorced in 2004, when Karlie was just two years old.
Initially, the young Karlie lived with her mother, but she eventually moved in with her father and stepmother, Melissa, in Bishop, California when she was around 10 years old. By this time, in 2012, Melissa and Zachary had two sons of their own.
According to her Facebook profile, Melissa has been working as an escrow assistant at Inyo-Mono Title Company in Bishop since May 2016.
In August 2018, Melissa and her husband purchased their dream home, a three-bedroom place in Sierra View Estates.
Melissa told Dateline that Karlie was a “happy kid” who was excited about the move because she was able to stay in the same school district. That bliss didn’t last for long.
October 13, 2018: Karlie Gusé Disappears
On Friday, October 12, 2018, Karlie went to hang out with friends.
At a party, Karlie smoked some pot and started to panic. At around 8:00 p.m., she used her cellphone to call Melissa, and asked her to pick her up.
Karlie didn’t wait for Melissa to show up, though. When Melissa got there, she saw Karlie running down the street. “She was really pale, looked like a ghost. Her pupils were really dilated,” she said. Her stepdaughter was paranoid and disoriented. Karlie admitted to Melissa that she had been smoking and was high.
Melissa got Karlie home by around 9:00 p.m.; they ate dinner and then Karlie went to bed. Her father Zachary remembers that Karlie seemed disoriented before going to sleep.
What happened next is still somewhat of a mystery.
Melissa Gusé’s Changing Story
The disappearance of Karlie is not as cut and dry as one would think. Melissa, the last person to see her alive, has changed the narrative of their last hours together.
Version No. 1
Melissa said she woke up at around 5:45 a.m. on October 13 and followed her normal routine: opening the kids’ doors and checking in on them. When she opened Karlie’s door, she found the teen sound asleep in her bed.
After making the rounds, Melissa went back to sleep, waking up between 7:15 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. She went to check in on Karlie to see how she was making out. Her bed was empty. Melissa searched the house for Karlie, but she was gone.
“I went back into our bedroom and I said [to Zachary], ‘Honey, she’s not here.’ And he said, ‘What do you mean she’s not here?’” Melissa said. “I said, ‘She’s gone. She’s not in her room. She’s not outside. She’s not in the backyard. She’s not anywhere.’”
Thinking maybe Karlie had snuck out early to go for a walk, Melissa and Zachary got into their cars and drove around looking for her. After two hours, though, there was still no sign of her.
Melissa and Zac returned home at around 9:30 a.m. and called Karlie’s mom Lindsay, to tell her that Karlie was missing. Zac then called the Mono County Sheriff’s Office and filed a missing persons report.
Version No. 2
A few days later, Melissa’s version of what happened that night changed. Considerably.
In this new version of events, Melissa claims she never left Karlie’s side. When she woke up at 5:45 a.m., Karlie was asleep in the bed next to her.
In this version, Melissa did not get up at around 5:45 a.m., as was her routine, and check in on her kids. She woke up and then fell back to sleep in Karlie’s bed. She woke up again between 7:15 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. and Karlie was gone.
Why the inconsistencies? Melissa blames it on grief and worry. Is it possible that there are other important facts or events that Melissa has forgotten or has misremembered in the fog of worry?
Melissa Gusé’s Videos and Call for Help
Melissa has maintained all along that all she wants is for Karlie to come home.
For that to happen, investigators need to know what happened to her. Did a disoriented Karlie get lost in the local mountains while out on a walk or was she abducted…or…?
In an October 13 video, Melissa tells those watching that she can hear a police search helicopter overhead and thanks everyone for sharing their story.
Later that evening, Melissa reached out to Sean Hannity at Fox News, sending him an oddly worded plea for help.
In a video recorded the next evening, Sunday, October 14, a distressed Melissa provides another update, noting that Karlie has been missing for 36 hours and they have been busy posting missing fliers.
Melissa also stresses that they need to expand the search to Nevada, Oregon, Washington, the whole United States. Because Melissa has no idea where she could be. Expanding the search, though, suggests that Melissa believes Karlie was abducted.
“Just the thought of her going to the highway,” said Melissa. “It makes me feel like somebody just happened to be driving by and grabbed her.”
Highway 6 runs all the way from Bishop, California to Provincetown, Massachusetts. If Karlie was abducted, she could be anywhere.
“Search and rescue has looked everywhere. And, you know, Highway 6 goes all the way to Massachusetts. So, I don’t want to think that way, but it’s really hard to be the parent and be 48 hours in and not think that.”
On October 15, in a now-deleted (or made-private) Facebook video, Melissa discusses the case further, but doesn’t really provide anything new. Melissa did not provide any real details about the day Karlie vanished or why she would sneak out and go for a walk early in the morning.
“I know everybody has so many questions. ‘Why did she leave? Where did she go? What’s wrong?’ I’m just concerned that she’s just gone. And that needs to be the focus. If you know me and you know Karlie, you know she would never do this. This is not the person who would just leave her family,” she implored.
Melissa Gusé’s Ongoing Search for Karlie
Melissa is also active on social media, asking for help finding Karlie.
On January 2, 2019, Melissa posted a picture of Karlie and wrote:
On January 14, 2019, three months after Karlie went missing, Melissa asked that others would keep the search for Karlie alive.
The Gusé family is offering a $10,000 reward for the safe return of Karlie Gusé.
If you have seen Karlie or have any information regarding her whereabouts, call the Mono County Sheriff’s Office at 760-932-7549 or the National Center for Missing and Endangered Children at 800-843-5678 (800-THE-LOST).
You can also send tips in anonymously by e-mail at [email protected] or through the form, no e-mail required, on the official Bring Karlie Home tipline.