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Missing Melchor Tabag
Tabag, circa 1999; Michael Lawrence
Missing Since 03/27/1999
Classification Endangered Missing
Age 41 years old
Height and Weight Unknown
Distinguishing Characteristics Asian male. Black hair, brown eyes. Tabag's nickname is Mel. He is of Filipino descent and speaks poor English.
Details of Disappearance Tabag was last seen in Honolulu, Hawaii on March 27, 1999. He was employed selling vacuum cleaners for Kirby Sales & Service at the time of his disappearance. On the day he vanished, he called his boss to say he would meet him at a restaurant in a short time. Tabag never arrived and has never been heard from again.
Authorities believe Tabag was murdered by one of his customers, Michael Robert Lawrence, at Lawrence's home while Tabag was demonstrating products. Lawrence's mother said she saw Tabag lying on the floor bleeding and her son standing over him, holding a hammer.
Investigators believe Lawrence dismembered the body and disposed of the pieces at the city dump; no trace of it was ever found, but Melchor's DNA was found on Lawrence's bone saw and he was driving Tabag's car when he was arrested and charged with second-degree murder.
At Lawrence's bench trial in 2002, he admitted he had killed Tabag, but argued he was insane at the time of the murder and not responsible for his actions. He suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, hears voices, and allegedly believed he had a mission to kill people and cut up their bodies.
Lawrence was found not guilty by reason of insanity. He will be held at Hawaii State Hospital until it's determined he's no longer a danger to the public.
Tabag moved from the Philippines to Hawaii in 1986. He pooled his money with family members to purchase a house, never married, and worked many jobs to make ends meet. Foul play is suspected in his case due to the circumstances involved.
Investigating Agency / Department