A couple of weeks ago my daughter’s car was leaking gas. We told her to go into work and we would take care of it. Due to short staffing, it took the tow truck 6 hours to get to us. We needed a tow that was .09 miles and we were not in a rural area. Immediately , I was relieved my daughter wasn’t waiting with this car because in the back of my mind, I remembered this case. This is the story of the murder of Melissa Stacey Gosule.
Melissa Gosule was born on March 1st, 1972 and was from Boston, and living in Jamaica Plain. She worked as a substitute teacher and rape crisis counselor and she hoped to be a journalist one day. Melissa came from a loving family.
Taking advantage of a summer day off on 07/11/1999, Melissa took her bike to the Cape Cod to ride along the canal, from the Sagamore recreational area -a popular seasonal destination. When she returned to the parking lot around 5:30 pm, her 1986 Pontiac would not start.
Melissa called AAA, and a tow driver eventually came to see her but told her it would be hours before he could tow her car back to Jamaica Plain. He did not make any attempt at this time to start the car or provide any other assistance. Melissa met a man in the parking lot named Michael Gentile, a newspaper delivery man from East Falmouth. He talked to her and gained her trust, and let her call her parents from his cell phone a few times. Eventually, Melissa agreed to let Michal drive her to meet her parents at Carlton House in Brockton, MA. She hoped to be there before 9 pm. She joked that she hoped Michael, “wasn’t a mass murderer” to her mom on the phone. The last time her parents heard from her was around 8:22 pm. She never arrived. Her parents reported her missing my midnight, and gave the number of the phone that she had called from to police.
Police were quickly able to track the cell phone back to a man named Robert Shaw, who was the employer of Michael Gentile. Shaw indicated that Gentile had called out of work at 9 pm, stating that his van would not start. Shaw provided the police with information for Michael Gentile.
Gentile turned himself in at the Bourne State Police Barracks at 7 am on 07/12/1999. He tried to speak to officers in the lobby – giving various stories of places that he dropped Melissa off. One story was the Dunkin Donuts in Kingston, however employees disputed this story as it had been a very slow night. Gentile also claimed that he slept in the parking lot of the bus depot however that area was patrolled looking for him and he was not there.
Gentile was a 27 time convicted criminal with a history of stalking and making obscene phone calls. Prior convictions included armed robbery, larceny, receiving stolen property, disorderly conduct – among others. Despite this, he had served less than 2 years in jail.
The police immediately found his behavior suspicious and while they told Gentile he could leave, his truck was seized. He was given a new set of clothes and his clothes were preserved as evidence. Police noted a gouge and scratch on his right bicep. Police strongly believed that Melissa had met with foul play.
Melissa’s bike, bathing suit and jeans were found Wednesday the 14th. The bathing suit was found to contain a mixture of blood and semen. There were similar findings noted in the cab of the truck seized.
Melissa’s body was found 8 days later by 2 cranberry growers near Chaffin Reservoir in Pembroke, MA. She was partially buried and suffered brutal injuries. Court records indicate the police believe she was raped, her arms had horizontal contusions consistent with being tied to a tree and her throat was slashed four times, severing her carotid artery. There was also a slash mark across her check.
Gentile was convicted as there was an abundance of evidence. He also reportedly admitted his guilt to friends who called police. He is currently serving a sentence of life sentence without the possibility of parole.
Melissa’s family was devastated by her loss and fought for years to pass Melissa’s Law, a law removing the possibility of parole for some repeat offenders that was signed into law by Duval Patrick in 2012.
They also sued AAA in the first lawsuit of it’s kind and eventually settled out of court for undisclosed terms.
Melissa is laid to rest at Sharon Memorial Park.