Debra was last seen in Weymouth, Massachusetts between approximately 3:00 and 4:00 p.m. on June 20, 2000. Her husband, Luis Melo, claims they got into an argument while he was driving and she demanded to be let out of the car on Route 18, south of the former South Weymouth Naval Air Station. She has never been heard from again. Luis says he drove a couple of miles down the road, then came back about twenty minutes later to the site where he dropped her off, but Debra was gone.
Luis Melo reportedly did not report her missing until more than 24 hours after her disappearance, and did not participate in any of the searches or vigils for his wife. Extensive air and ground searches in Weymouth, Taunton and other locations turned up no clues. Police also searched Melo's house and car.
The couple had managed a doughnut shop in Braintree together. Despite what her family described as a rocky marriage, Debbie Melo adored her children and would not have walked out on her family, relatives have said. Foul play is suspected.