I spoke about Heather Mack in another podcast episode and how her boyfriend and her stuffed her mother’s body in a suitcase. What about someone being cut into pieces and placed into three suitcases. This is what happened in 2004. William McGuire was murdered and then scattered into three suitcases that were found in Virginia Beach. Who would do something like that? We can ask his wife, Melanie McGuire. 

Suitcases Found 

In May 2004, three suitcases were found in Virginia Beach, VA, on different days. The first suitcase was discovered around May 4, 2004, floating near the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. A few days later, on May 11, 2004, a second suitcase was found in Virginia Beach with a head and torso. The last suitcase on May 16, 2004, was discovered. At this point, the police sketched a portrait of the victim. Someone who knew the victim identified him, so now the police knew who it was. The victim was William T McGuire. William went by “Bill,” had been missing since April 30 in his New Jersey home. Even though the three suitcases containing Bill’s body parts were found in Virginia Beach, the murder occurred in New Jersey. Virginia investigators turned over jurisdiction to New Jersey. 

His wife Melanie McGuire told police and journalists that Bill’s personality was getting increasingly darker and more aggressive in the last 20 years. She told them that he was a compulsive gambler who was physically abusive. This caused her and his ex-wife to have filed restraining orders against him. His ex-wife Marci Paulk told a newspaper, “‘I was a wreck by the time I got out of that marriage. He emotionally and physically abused me.” She had been married to Bill from 1986 to 1994. 

Five years later, Bill married Melanie McGuire in 1999. Melanie filed for divorce on May 25, 2004. Three days later, she would find out that the police found Bill’s body parts in suitcases floating in Virginia Beach. 

This was surprising to his coworkers, who said he was “well respected.” We also have to remember that abusers can usually hide the ugly part of them and are like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. 

What Happened on April 30, 2004?

According to the divorce papers, the story came out that on April 30, around 2:30 a.m., Melanie and Bill began arguing. Bill McGuire got extremely angry to the point that he grabbed dryer sheets that Melanie said were a “pet peeve of his,” and he stuffed them in her mouth. He then proceeded to slap her across the face. Melanie grabbed her two-year-old son and locked herself in the bathroom. She left their four-year-old son outside. Melanie said that Bill continued “mocking her” outside of the bathroom, and then he left home. She then proceeded to file a restraining order and filing for divorce. 

On May 8, Bill McGuire’s car was towed from an Atlantic City motel. There was CCTV, but the video quality was poor, so you can’t really make out who that person was. 

The investigation started leaning towards Melanie McGuire as the main suspect when things started coming out. 

Before Bill’s disappearance, and their arguments on April 30, 2004, Melanie purchased a .38 caliber handgun in Easton, Pennsylvania. What was interesting about that was that she had bought wadcutter bullets. Forensics had found that Bill had been murdered by a .38 caliber handgun with wadcutter bullets. 

It was also found that Melanie was having an affair with her coworker Bradley Miller at the fertility clinic where she worked as a nurse. 

Her EZ Pass tag showed her in Delaware two days after Bill was murdered. When questioned, Melanie said that she had gone furniture shopping in Delaware. If it was something so innocent, then why did Melanie call EX Pass trying to get the charge removed from her account history? A few days later, a man called EZ Pass was trying to do so the same. People think it was her dad, but that is an insinuation. 

The other thing that tied her to the murder was that Bill’s and her home had the same trash bags used to wrap Bill’s body parts. The last piece of evidence that the three suitcases matched a set that was in their basement. It was said that Bill and she had bought the luggage set before the murder. 

Melanie was a nurse, so the police think she took medication from the fertility clinic to drug Bill.  


A year later, on June 2, 2005, Melanie McGuire was arrested and charged with first-degree murder for her husband William McGuire’s murder. 

Attorney-General Harvey stated, “While we cannot detail all of the investigative results at this time, it is important to note that there is sufficient evidence to charge the wife with first-degree murder. The investigation continues.”

Melanie was arrested at her home around 9:30 a.m. It was revealed in a press release from the New Jersey Attorney General’s office that Bill had been shot twice, once in the head and another in the chest. Her father’s and stepmother’s home was also searched. Investigators believe that she had helped because of how she could drag Bill’s body and then cut it into pieces. However, no other person has ever been charged. 

Investigators also revealed another piece of evidence that tied Melanie to the murder. A paint chip that is thought to be fingernail polish on the tap Melanie used to seal the body parts’ trash bags. 

After being indicted, new allegations were brought up against Melanie. They indicate that before William T McGuire’s disappearance and death, Melanie’s Internet search results showed her searching for pesticides such as poisons, gun laws, and ways to commit murder. 

She also had new charges for two anonymous letters. One of them was a letter to former Attorney General Peter Harvey that Melanie did not kill her husband. The second letter was included with the victim’s belongings, like his ring and car keys, that said, “how to set up Melanie. 

She posted bail, and the trial didn’t start until 2007. Melanie McGuire was found guilty of murder and was sentenced to life in prison. She tried appealing a few times, but those were denied. 

 Closing Remarks

Bill McGuire doesn’t seem to have been a good husband, and some people say he wasn’t a good father either. However, Melanie could have divorced him as his first wife did. She had already gotten the restraining order against him. There was the fact that they had kids together, which he didn’t have with his first wife. Maybe she felt that she would always have to deal with him because of the kids? I think that Melanie should have thought about everything. She also didn’t have to cut him up the way that she did. I wonder what made her dump the suitcases in the Virginia Beach area. Investigators think she was helped, but they never could find enough evidence to corroborate that. I can see why they think that. How was she able to do all of the things that she did. Clean up the apartment, get his car to the motel, drag his body to wherever she did, cut it up, put it in trash bags, and dump them in the suitcase. It just seems like a lot. She is now in prison, probably wishing that she would never have taken it that far.  

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