Friday, August 22, 2003

Mel Rebholz, brother of Greenhills teen killed in '63

By Rebecca Goodman
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Mel Rebholz, a Vietnam veteran and business owner in Florida, died Aug. 11 at Morton Plant North Bay Hospital in New Port Richey, Fla., after an 18-month battle with esophageal cancer.

Mr. Rebholz, 57, was the older brother of Patty Rebholz, a 15-year-old Greenhills girl whose unsolved 1963 murder made national headlines when Michael Wehrung - her boyfriend at the time of her death - stood trial for the crime in 2001. Wehrung was acquitted.

Patty was killed in Greenhills in August 1963. Her brother, who had graduated from Greenhills High School that year and was weeks away from beginning his freshman year at Miami University, looked for her all night before police found her body.

At the time of Wehrung's trial, Mr. Rebholz told reporters his family was still devastated by the death and his parents, Melvin and Betty, both deceased, never recovered from the loss or the fact that no one was brought to justice.

Mr. Rebholz went on to Miami that fall and was a running back on the football team. He quit school to enlist in the Army, where he served as a medivac helicopter pilot.

After his hitch was up, he returned to Miami and received a bachelor's degree in business and marketing.

His first job was with Cincinnati Milacron, according to his stepmother, Anna Rebholz of Palm Harbor, Fla. Around 1976 he went into business for himself as a plastic manufacturer's representative. He ran Sunbelt Plastics until his illness forced him to quit.

The father of three sons, Mr. Rebholz was a Christian, a Little League coach, an avid fisherman and golfer, and a member of the VFW.

He moved to Palm Harbor from Cincinnati in 1983 and to Port Richey in 1999.

Two years ago, Mr. Rebholz returned to Hamilton County to attend Wehrung's trial.

Disappointed by the not-guilty verdict, Mr. Rebholz told the Enquirer in 2001 that the family "knew with a jury trial it could go either way. But there is a higher court than Hamilton County. We truly believe that and we wouldn't have made it this far if we didn't."

In addition to his stepmother, survivors include: his wife of two years, Kathy; three sons, Matthew of Orlando and Mark and Michael, both of Palm Harbor; and a sister, Libby Muncey of Columbus, Ohio.

Services have been held. The remains were cremated.

Memorials: Hernando-Pasco Hospice, 12107 Majestic Blvd., Hudson, FL 34667.


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