Remains located near Columbiana identified

COLUMBIANA – The remains of a white, human female that were recently discovered in the area of Egg and Butter Road and Oak Drive outside of Columbiana were identified on Monday, Nov. 6.

With the help of the Alabama Department of Forensic Science, Shelby County Sheriff’s Office investigators were able to determine that the remains were those of 27-year-old Melissa Ann Cleckler of Clanton.

After Cleckler’s body was located on Thursday, Nov. 2, SCSO investigators began gathering evidence at the scene. Shelby County Coroner Lina Evans said an autopsy was performed on Friday, Nov. 3 and officials were also able to determine Cleckler’s cause of death.

Clecker’s death was ruled a homicide. Shelby County Sheriff John Samaniego expressed his condolences to Clekcler’s friends and family.

“I am always sorry when I have to release information like this. At the same time, I always feel as though the best way I can help a family deal with the loss of a loved one is to arrest the person or persons responsible for the grief,” Samaniego said. “I have tremendous faith in the men and women investigating this and believe they will do just that.”

According to a press release from the SCSO, deputies are currently following up on several leads, but are also asking for the public’s help in locating a person of interest.

Anyone who has recently interacted with Cleckler or may have information about the circumstances surrounding her death are encouraged to call CrimeStoppers at 254-7777, the SCSO’s main line at 669-4181, SCSO’s secret witness line at 669-9116 or SCSO Investigator Jessie Woodard’s direct line at 670-6283.