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Within Melissa's family, her father's history was handled with secrecy and shame. "My mother and I wouldn't discuss it because it's so painful. He was such a disgrace to our family," she says. "There's a wall of silence between my mother and I."

Melissa's mother, Rose, says she knows she created that silent barrier. "I was paralyzed with fear and pain. You want the best for your children. Then to tell them that their father's a murderer? There are no resources for you to say that," she says. "I had to find my own way to deal with the pain. I think in dealing with my own pain, I wasn't there for my kids."

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