NEWSHERALD ..PANAMA CITY — Machell Mayo saw a lot of teeth knocked out in car wrecks when she was an EMT, but she never saw anything like what happened to her when she crashed a car in 1998. Mayo’s front teeth are still where she left them 13 years ago: embedded in the steering wheel of the car she was driving. She kept the steering wheel, but the procedure to replace her teeth was cost-prohibitive, so she didn’t replace them.
But that has its benefits off 19th Street. “Because of my appearance, I can walk into a situation, and buddy let me tell you, I’m getting told all kinds of stuff,” Mayo said. If you need to know about the woman slain a few blocks away last week, Mayo can find out. Her husband Michael, a long-haul trucker, calls her a multifaceted woman.
Mayo’s teeth, coupled with a personality that allows her to get along with just about anybody, allow her to form relationships with the people in her neighborhood many people wouldn’t associate with. Dealers, hookers and addicts find her easy to talk to.
There are about five active neighborhood watches in Panama City currently, most of them on the east side of town, said Sgt. Chris Edmundson with PCPD’s community service section. There is no formal neighborhood watch in Mayo’s neighborhood; she is unofficial when she strikes out on her own or with volunteers from a church to clean up the park.
Mayo has seen men beaten in the alley behind her home and will call the police for violent incidents. As far as the drug deals, she’ll notify authorities only if she sees a pattern, she said. The same man meeting with the driver of the same car over and over might warrant a call, she said, insisting she’s not a “snitch.” (SEE A CRIME REPORT IT, YOU GO GIRL)
She’s been robbed, she said — but so have the people in that house, and that house, and that one, too. But when asked why she doesn’t just move, she answered with questions. “Why move? Why not put your foot down? Why give them the neighborhood?”
“This is the kind of thing we wanted to attract,” Mayo said as she passed a pair of women dressed in scrubs, eating from McDonald’s bags. “They don’t even live around here.” In the day, the park seems friendly and safe. It closes at 9 p.m., and that’s when it gets busiest, Mayo said.
Mainly, the people in the park are vagrants, addicts, hookers or johns, she said. She looked crooked at a retirement-aged man leaving the park on a recent afternoon in dark glasses and a floppy hat. A john, she said.
This woman, Machell Mayo, is one tough, courageous lady.
Machell Mayo's facebook page http://www.facebook.com/machell.mayo
Machell Mayo's twitter page http://twitter.com/#!/machell1969
Bill Warner Private Investigator, SEX, CRIME, CHEATERS & TERRORISM at www.wbipi.com