N.J. warrant issued for suspect in N.Y. disappearance

Authorities in Paramus have issued a felony warrant for a sex offender who is also a suspect in the disappearance of a New York City woman.

Twenty-five-year-old Laura Garza left a Manhattan nightclub last week with 23-year-old Michael Mele of Wallkill, New York, and hasn't been seen since.

Mele's lawyer, Craig Brown, has declined to comment on his client's guilt or innocence since Mele has not been charged in the case.

In New Jersey, Mele is accused of lewdness in a public place and exposure to a child under 13 years of age. Police say he masturbated in a Paramus-area mall.

On Monday, New York State Police searched Mele?s apartment and car, as well as nearby fields, woods, trash bins and a septic system.

Sgt. Harry Baumann of the Clarkstown, N.Y. police says Mele's earlier convictions involve several episodes of public lewdness, including masturbating near women at a shopping mall.

This story was written using Associated Press wire reports.

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