Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Michael Alig: The Life and Death of the Party

The Investigation Begins

Angel's brother Johnny Melendez became frustrated when his brother stopped answering his beeper. When his calls to clubbers and to the police produced only blank stares and no answers, Johnny began to take matters in his own hands. He posted flyers of Angel wearing his trademark wings all over town, offering a reward of $4,000 for information about his missing brother. Calls to the police went nowhere; they told him that without a body there was no murder investigation, only a missing-persons report.

At the time, Alig was working with the DEA to testify against Peter Gatien in a massive case against the club owner which sought to nail Gatien as the head of an international Ecstasy drug ring. If Alig were proven to be a murderer, it would soil his testimony at the upcoming trial.

Angel's brother turned to the press. Gossip columnist Michael Musto had run a blind item in The Village Voice about a rumor in April 1996 that turned out to be incredibly accurate; it detailed the self-defense angle, and the ghastly dismemberment of the corpse. Another Voice reporter, Frank Owen, did even more investigation and confirmed that Michael Alig had confessed to a number of people. With the story on the cover of the Voice, the case began to pick up some steam.

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