Who Is Melissa Gusé? 5 Details About Missing Child Karlie Gusé

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Who Is Melissa Gusé? 5 Details About Missing Child Karlie Gusé
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Karlie Gusé has been missing for five months: the 16-year-old California native has been missing since Oct. 13, 2018.

Her family appeared on Dr. Phil for a two-part special starting Monday, March 25: Zachary and Melissa Gusé spoke about Karlie’s disappearance months after it happened. The two began looking for Karlie soon after they realized their child was missing the morning of the 13th; since then, the local law enforcement, the FBI and other concerned people nationwide have joined them in their search.

Lindsay Fairley, Karlie’s biological mother, is “furious” with the way the Mono County Sheriff’s Office has handled her daughter’s case. She claimed Sheriff Ingrid Braun ignored tips regarding the disappearance in a complaint sent mid-March to the California Sheriff’s Association and the National Sheriff’s Association. Braun told CrimeOnline that Fairley’s letter was “factually incorrect and filled with errors.” Braun also said she “runs the department, not investigations.”

Fairley also attacked Melissa Gusé in the letter: she claimed Melissa “cherry-picked” information about Karlie’s disappearance.

Melissa is a key person in Karlie’s case. She was the last person to see and talk to Karlie. Melissa has talked about Karlie’s disappearance multiple times, on a variety of platforms—but her story hasn’t always been consistent.

Who is Melissa Gusé? Below are five details about her and Karlie’s mysterious disappearance.

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1. She is Karlie’s stepmother.

Melissa is a 34-year-old woman. She and Zachary Gusé, Karlie’s father, wed in 2009, five years after he and Karlie’s mother, Lindsay Fairley, divorced in 2004. Karlie was 7 years old when Melissa officially became a part of her family but lived with Fairley until she was 10. She then moved in with Melissa and Zachary, and her two half-brothers in 2012. Later in 2018, the family moved from Bishop to Chalfant, just 14 miles north.

Karlie’s biological mother lives in Yerington, Nevada; the state border is not too far from Chalfant, but distance never set the mother and daughter apart, according to Fairley.

“We were always really, really open. We were literally best friends. She could talk to me about anything,” she told Dateline in October, a week after Karlie went missing.

Melissa said Karlie was a “happy kid” and did not show signs of anything being different in the weeks leading up to her disappearance.

“I don’t know what happened. I honestly don’t know,” she told Dateline. “We don’t know where she is. Nobody has seen her.”

2. She picked up Karlie from a party the night before her disappearance.

On Oct 12, 2018, Karlie went to a small party. She was there with her boyfriend Donald and some friends. He said that Karlie started to feel unwell.

“She called me to come pick her up” around 8 p.m.," Melissa told Dateline. “I picked her up from town and just brought her home.”

Melissa and Zachary did not say much about Karlie’s condition that night in talking to Dateline, other than that the teen seemed “disoriented.” A few days later on Crime Stories with Nancy Grace, Melissa said Karlie had admitted to smoking marijuana at the party, and that she “acted paranoid.”

In an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Melissa said her stepdaughter was running down the street when she came to pick her up. “She was really pale, looked like a ghost. Her pupils were really dilated.”

3. In one version of her story, she stayed with Karlie the whole night.

Melissa has told two versions of her last few hours with her stepdaughter. The two ate dinner together at 9 p.m. Then they went to bed.

Originally, Melissa said she went to check in on her children the morning of Oct. 13 at 5:45 a.m. All their children were in their beds sleeping. Melissa went back to sleep, and then woke up between 7:15 and 7:30 a.m.; she went to check on Karlie, but Karlie was nowhere to be found.

“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.’”

In another version of the story, Melissa stuck with her stepdaughter the entire night. She slept in the same bed as Karlie and woke up at 5:45 a.m. to Karlie sleeping next to her. Melissa stayed in bed and fell back asleep. Then she woke up again between 7:15 and 7:30 a.m. Karlie was gone.

Melissa spoke on Dr. Phil about the inconsistencies in her story; he asked her about the first version, if she went to lay down after checking on Karlie at 5:45.

“Yeah, that was a false story. Because I wasn’t – it was a lie about checking in on Karlie. Because it was in the beginning, and I didn’t know what to say and – I shouldn’t have even done the interview.”

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4. Melissa admitted to giving the authorities the wrong description of Karlie’s attire.

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She told Nancy Grace that her daughter had been wearing skinny jeans when she left—and that she’d also given that description to the authorities.

“I only said that because she always wears her skinny jeans. So I just assumed she had her skinny jeans on.”

When Melissa and Zachary first noticed Karlie was gone, they initially said they weren’t too alarmed.

“The first thing we thought is, ‘She is just on a walk.’ It is not unusual for her to go on a walk. But she didn’t take her cellphone so we kind of panicked. She always has her cellphone.”

But on Dr. Phil, Melissa said that when she woke up and Karlie wasn’t there, she felt “instant panic.”

Eyewitnesses described the teen as wearing dark gray sweatpants, a white t-shirt, and Vans shoes. Three people saw her near White Mountain Estates Road and Highway 6 in that outfit at daybreak Oct. 13.

5. Melissa is very active on social media about Karlie.

Her Facebook is filled with photos and news about her missing stepdaughter. She began posting videos on her social media the day of Karlie’s disappearance. She reached out to Sean Hannity that night.

Melissa continues to post to social media about Karlie; she recently posted about her appearance on Dr. Phil about her missing stepdaughter.

If you have any information about the whereabouts of Karlie Gusé, please contact the Mono County Sheriff’s Office at 760-932-7549, or the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678).


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Alison Cerri is a writer who covers astrology, pop culture and relationship topics.