Melanie Conroy
Melanie Conroy. Photo credit: Dignity Memorial

A Hemet man suspected of killing a 47-year-old woman whose remains were later found stuffed in a vehicle was booked into a Riverside County jail Wednesday following his detention at a San Diego County facility.

Michael Lee Lorence was arrested last week on suspicion of murder for the death of Melanie Conroy of Hemet.

According to Lt. Michael Mouat of the Hemet Police Department, Conroy was reported missing on the afternoon of July 27 from her residence in the 900 block of Mellisa Drive, just north of Fruitvale Avenue.

Mouat said that within a day of her family filing the missing person report, they uncovered “evidence suggesting Melanie’s disappearance was not voluntary.”

Hemet police homicide detectives took over the investigation, and on the afternoon of July 29, they located the victim’s car in the parking lot of a Park & Ride in the city of Vista, according to the lieutenant.

Conroy’s body was found in the trunk.

Detectives soon identified Lorence as the alleged perpetrator and learned that he had already been locked up at a correctional facility in San Diego stemming from an unrelated warrant out of that county.

On Aug. 12, the suspect was formally arrested on suspicion of murder, and Hemet police initiated the process of transferring Lorence from the San Diego County facility to Riverside County, which was completed Wednesday. He was booked into the Byrd Detention Center in Murrieta at 2:30 p.m. His bail is set at $1 million.

A possible motive for the alleged attack was not disclosed, and authorities did not specify the relationship, if any, between the victim and suspect.

Background information on Lorence was also unavailable.

According to a GoFundMe page created in support of the victim’s family, Conroy leaves behind three children. Donations for the family can be made at www.gofundme.com/f/melanie-beth-conroy.

City News Service contributed to this article.



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Ellen Bullock