BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - The family of a former Buffalo woman found dead on Long Island is telling the story she cannot tell any more.
Melissa Barthelemy's remains are expected to come back to Buffalo this weekend, but her family is still far from getting any closure.
Melissa's father, Mark Szpila, said, "I would just like to set the record straight that she wasn't a mean person, she wasn't a bad person."
Her family wanted to get the word out about who Melissa Barthelemy really was: the girl who grew up around Kensington and Bailey, graduated from South Park High School and Continental Beauty School.
Melissa's mom, Lynn Barthelemy, said, "If she had $5 in her pocket, and you needed $5 to get something to eat, she'd give the whole thing."
They say she went to New York City hoping to make enough money to open her own beauty shop back in western New York, but she fell into exotic dancing.
"I told her I wasn't happy about it, and to be careful. She said she was never alone, and it was just dancing," said Lynn.
The parents weren't aware that she eventually became a paid escort advertising on Craigslist.
Attorney Steven Cohen of Hogan-Willig Attorneys said, "If these girls are out there where evil people can see them, they need to be held accountable, and they need to stop that practice."
Melissa disappeared in July of 2009. Her body was found last month along with the bodies of three other women believed to be escorts.
On Thursday, the family wouldn't say much about six phone calls they received in the weeks after her disappearance. The calls came in from her cell phone, and it was a man's voice taunting them. The New York Daily news reports that one of the calls reached Melissa's teen-aged sister, saying, "Do you know what your sister is doing? She's a whore."
"It wasn't something that should've been said to a 16-year-old," said Lynn.
The Barthelemy family is planning a memorial service for Monday. NYPD continue to hunt for the killer.
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