Guard arrested in child slaying

March 5, 1987
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VALLEJO, Calif. -- A former security guard who attended a 6-year-old boy's funeral was arrested and booked for the child's slaying.

Shawn Melton, 26, was arrested Wednesday, hours after he walked into a Vallejo police station saying he had information about the killing of Jeremy Stoner Feb. 21.

Minutes before his arrival, police had received an anonymous tip linking him to the case.

Melton, a former guard at a drive-in theater, knew the boy and joined a search for him by dozens of volunteers on the day he disappeared.

His wife, Laura, said her husband of six years was in and out of psychiatric hospitals as a boy.

'He was seeing a psychiatrist (recently) but stopped,' she said. 'Medi-Cal doesn't pay for much.'

After the disappearance, he came to the Stoner home and offered to help. Police said Melton attended the funeral, a candlelight vigil and the interment. A court appearance for Melton has yet to be scheduled.

Jeremy's nude, bruised and strangled body was found last Wednesday on Sherman Island in Rio Vista, four days after he vanished from his neighborhood in Vallejo. Motorists discovered the body in underbrush while looking for something to help free a car stuck in mud on a levee road.

Lee Miller, a neighbor of Melton, said he was 'childlike' and 'it seemed like he wasn't always all there.'

Neighbors said Melton was a loner with an explosive temper and a drinking problem who had frequent quarrels with his wife.

Sgt. Reginald Garcia said the investigation was continuing. Investigators wereconsidering a possible connection with the fatal stabbing of 8-year-old Eric Coy near his home in Martinez Jan. 24.

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