SHANNON SHERRILL - 6 yo (1986) - Thorntown IN

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SHANNON SHERRILL - 6 yo (1986) - Thorntown IN

Post by TomTerrific0420 on Tue Oct 06, 2009 12:16 pm

New information has come in for the case of a Thorntown girl who has been missing for 23 years.

For the first time, prosecutors are acknowledging that a convicted
child killer is a person of interest in the Shannon Sherill case.

The family of Shannon Sherill have been through a lot in the past 23
years and Fox 59 has received news about the disappearance during the
week that marks the 23rd Anniversary of her disappearance.

The Lebanon Reporter website this morning says a Boone County
prosecutor is looking at this convicted child killer and rapist as a
person of interest in the Shannon Sherill case. David Elliot Penton is
not named as a suspect, but a person of interest.

Shannon Sherrill went missing on October 5th, 1986 as she was playing
hide and seek near a trailer park in Thorntown. There was never any
clear evidence whether she as abducted, but the long investigation has
had extreme ups and downs.

In 2003, a woman named Donna Walker came forward with claims that she
was Shannon Sherill, all grown up. That turned out to be false, and she
went to prison which was a huge let down for Shannon's family.

In 2006 investigators received a letter from an inmate in Ohio who
claimed to have information about Shannon's disappearance. But to this
day there have been no arrests or charges in the case.

As for David Penton, he has been convicted or pleaded guilty in the
sexual assaults and deaths of several children in Texas and Ohio. He's
currently held in Toledo, Ohio. What's not clear is how long Boone
County investigators have been looking at him as a person of interest
and whether he was the Ohio inmate who sent the letter in 2006.
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Re: SHANNON SHERRILL - 6 yo (1986) - Thorntown IN

Post by TomTerrific0420 on Wed Oct 06, 2010 3:25 am

Shannon Sherrill was six years old when she disappeared. It was Oct. 5, 1986, a warm day for fall, and she was barefoot, wearing a little white sundress with blue trim. Shannon lived with her mother and her two-year-old brother David in a trailer court in Thorntown in Boone County.Her father had recently moved out because her parents, Mike and Dorothy Sherrill, were getting a divorce. Shannon had just stayed with him over the weekend and he'd brought her back to her mom's trailer the day before.It was about 1:30 p.m. on a balmy Sunday and Shannon was playing hide and seek with other kids in the neighborhood.


When her mother came out looking for her, Shannon was gone. Dorothy Sherrill asked her little boy where his sister went and he said "Sissy went behind the trailer." But Shannon wasn't there. She wasn't anywhere. Neighbors had been outside on their porches and working in their yards, but no one saw her walk away and no one had noticed anything unusual or suspicious.That afternoon more than 150 volunteers came out and searched everywhere around Thorntown. Organized by Thorntown Town Marshall Gary L. Campbell, they checked creeks, wells and toolsheds. Boys on bikes carried her picture from house to house. Helicopters were brought in, and after she was gone all night they brought in bloodhounds in the morning. The hounds picked up a scent that led to a field where investigators found what they believed were probably her footprints leading towards a cemetery. They found the footprints of two men also but there was no way to tell how long ago those tracks had been left.

Meanwhile some of the volunteers were causing more harm than good, banging on the the same doors over and over and trying to force open doors if the residents were slow to answer.

No other trace of Shannon was found. A reward was offered. Police questioned and scrutinized everyone connected to the family. As always in such situations -- especially when the parents are divorced -- investigators immediately look at the parents. But there was no custody dispute or animosity. Both parents took polygraph tests. A man who said he'd glimpsed a girl riding in a red pickup truck was hypnotized to try to get him to remember more details. Everyone who might have seen anything was questioned again and again.

Time went by. A month. A year. Ten years. Now and then when the anniversary approached, or when some other missing child was in the news, a reporter would show up at Mike Sherrill’s gas station at U.S. 31 and Ind. 28 just west of Tipton. He was always willing to talk about his hope that she would be found alive someday. Over the years there were occaisonal tips and leads, but none went anywhere. A psychic said Shannon was still alive and Sherrill was eager to think that might be true. “Some people might say we're grabbing at straws,” he said at the time, “but then, what else do we have?"The caller said: I think I might be Shannon

Then, on July 26, 2003, Dorothy Sherrill got a phone call from a woman from Virginia who said she’d grown up thinking her name was Beth Ann Harris, but while in therapy had begun recovering memories from her early childhood. I think I might be Shannon, she said.

Over the next two days there was a flurry of phone calls with other family members. State Police investigators also began receiving calls -- from Beth Ann Harris and other members of the Harris family who provided more details about who raised Beth Ann, where she went to school. Beth Ann described landmarks in Indiana and agreed to have a DNA test in Virginia and have the results sent to Indiana.

Everyone was elated, even hardened police officers who had witnessed countless family tragedies but not many miracles. The news began to leak out and national media converged on Thorntown. Local TV stations quoted sources saying Beth Ann’s dental records, scars and birthmarks had been a match with Shannon’s.

But it wasn’t true. State Police Detective Jeff Heck, who had worked the original case in 1986, had taken the calls from Beth Ann Harris and her relatives. He wanted it to be true also, but the details the callers provided didn’t check out, and all of the calls traced back to a single address in Topeka Kansas. It was the apartment of Donna L. Walker, who at 35 was 12 years older than Shannon would have been.

Walker’s name was known to FBI agents in California, who said she had given them false information about other high-profile cases.

The Sherrill family didn’t know what Heck now knew, but he didn’t want to tell them yet. With the national media camped out in Thorntown it would be hard to keep the secret if the family knew too soon. He didn’t want Walker to hear about it on TV.

Then Heck learned that two of Shannon’s aunts were already on their way to Virginia he told Dorothy Sherrill what he had figured out and she told her sisters to come back home.

But Mike Sherrill still didn’t know until the next day when he showed up for a news conference at Western Boone High School where he was expecting the confirmation that Shannon had been found. Maybe she would even be there. When he was told it had all been a hoax he broke down in sobs and fell to the floor.

Walker was taken into custody in Kansas and it was revealed that at the same time she was making all of those calls to Indiana pretending to be Beth Ann Harris and various Harris relatives, she was also making dozens of other calls to childless couples looking to adopt a baby. To them, she was not Shannon Sherrill but Deanna Poizner, who was nine months pregnant and wanted to give up her baby to a good home.

Who was Donna L. Walker really, and why was she doing these cruel things? At a court hearing in Kansas her attorney said Walker had been in and out of psychiatric hospitals and didn’t understand why she had been arrested. “In her mind,” he said, “she was helping.” She wasn’t trying to get money from her victims, and she didn’t mean to hurt them. Her calls made people happy, and gave people something they longed for more than anything. His client, the attorney said, just wasn’t able to see past that wonderful moment – her gift to them.
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Re: SHANNON SHERRILL - 6 yo (1986) - Thorntown IN

Post by mom_in_il on Thu May 15, 2014 10:01 pm

Prosecutor denies new leads in Shannon Sherrill case

Posted: Oct 05, 2009 10:38 PM CDT
Updated: Oct 15, 2009 10:33 AM CDT
Rich Van Wyk/Eyewitness News

Boone County - Twenty-three years after the disappearance of young Shannon Sherrill of Thorntown, many in Boone County are talking about possible new leads in the case. The prosecutor says there are none, while the little girl's father hopes for answers to his anguish.

Shannon Sherrill's disappearance is a mystery that Boone County prosecutor Todd Meyer grew up watching investigators trying to solve.

"They are as frustrated as I am that we can't solve this," he said.

A local newspaper report identified David Penton, a confessed killer in an Ohio prison, as a person of interest. But Meyer called the report "overcooked" with new developments, admitting, "I wish there were new developments in this case. There really aren't."

The six-year-old vanished from her Thorntown home in 1986. Numerous searches found no trace of her. Then in 2003 Donna Walker appeared, claiming she was Shannon Sherrill. It was a hoax and Walker went to jail.

Penton surfaced in the media two years ago when a Texas reporter from the Tyler Morning Telegraph interviewed him. He's serving four life terms for confession to the kidnapping, rape and murder of young children.

"But I can't convince anybody I'm not running around the country killing young girls," he said in a recorded interview posted on the newspaper's web site.

The Boone County prosecutor says investigators questioned Penton, but never came up with enough evidence to move him from person of interest to suspect.

"There is no hard and fast evidence that links anyone to Shannon's unknown whereabouts, said Meyer.

But a soft spoken Mike Sherrill remains hopeful of finding his little girl. "I'll never give up looking," he said.

Sherrill says he's known about Penton for years. He wants honest answers about his daughter.
"I just want to know where she is. I want to bring her home and have closure to 23 years of anguish."

The prosecutor says Penton remains one of several persons of interest. The long time lead investigator is retired. It's been assigned to a cold case unit.

Shannon Sherill's disappearance, the prosecutor insists, is a case investigators can't turn their backs on and will continue looking for new leads, taking them in new directions.

http://www.wthr.com/story/11263226/prosecutor-denies-new-leads-in-shannon-sherrill-case
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Re: SHANNON SHERRILL - 6 yo (1986) - Thorntown IN

Post by mom_in_il on Thu May 15, 2014 10:04 pm

DID CHILD KILLER PENTON KILL SHANNON SHERRILL?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A CHILLING Indiana cold case marked a sad anniversary Wednesday. Shannon Sherrill was just 6-years-old when she was last seen outside her mom's trailer home on Oct. 5, 1986. And things quickly went ice cold and it appears cops are no closer to a resolution today than they were in the 1980s.

But the tragic little girl's family has never given hope that the killer will be caught.

Over the years, detectives have followed leads involving David Elliott Penton, a man who is serving a life sentence in Ohio for murdering a 9-year-old girl there but there has never been enough evidence to put him on the hook for the grisly slaying. Indiana State Police recently began looking at the case again. In 2003, family members endured the pain of having someone come forward claiming to be Sherrill, but it was later determined to be a hoax. Donna Walker received an 18-month prison sentence after pleading guilty to impersonation. Experts suspect that Penton is a serial killer who has cruised the country raping and killing young girls. A source said: "Look, Penton fits but there just isn't enough evidence to get an indictment. There's no doubt he's a monster and there's a very good chance that he had something to do with Shannon's disappearance."   

MORE ON SHANNON SHERRILL

http://coldcaseusa.blogspot.com/2011/10/did-child-killer-penton-kill-shannon.html
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Re: SHANNON SHERRILL - 6 yo (1986) - Thorntown IN

Post by mom_in_il on Thu May 15, 2014 10:07 pm

Missing Girl Hoax Suspect Turns Self In

July 31

The woman who allegedly played a "cruel hoax" on an Indiana family by pretending to be a girl who disappeared in 1986 turned herself in to authorities today.

Donna Walker, 35, surrendered to Topeka, Kan., police at around 5 p.m. local time. Her attorney, Billy Rork, confirmed Walker had turned herself in at the Shawnee County Jail, where she was expected to be held overnight.

Authorities say Walker called the family of Shannon Sherrill of Thorntown, Ind., who vanished 17 years ago when she was 6 years old, and said she believed she might be the missing girl, who would now be 22.

The family's hopes were dashed Wednesday when authorities revealed the caller had perpetrated what they called a "cruel hoax." Indiana police issued an arrest warrant for Walker.

Confident the Court System ‘Will Work’

Walker faces a felony charge of identity deception and a misdemeanor charge of false reporting. In an interview with ABCNEWS affiliate RTV6 in Indianapolis, she denied knowing about the Shannon Sherrill case and said she was not aware police were looking for her until she saw a news report on the Internet.

"It's scary but I'm still confidant that the court system will work," Walker said. "I'm confident it will all come out in the courts. My only intention [in surrendering] was to help the investigation, not hurt it in any way."

After learning of Walker's arrest, Shannon Sherrill's mother told RTV6 that she was very depressed about the false lead in her daughter's case, but said she still wishes Walker well.

"I guess I hope she [Walker] can just get well," Dorothy Sherrill said.

Walker is expected to make a first court appearance Friday morning through video teleconference. Bail will be set at that hearing.

A History of Deception?

Sgt. Dave Bursten of the Indiana State Police Department told ABCNEWS' Good Morning America earlier today that it became clear to him that Walker was lying when she kept putting off appointments to meet with authorities.

Investigators believe believe Walker may have found out details about the Shannon Sherrill case by looking at several Web sites devoted to the girl's disappearance. They also suspect Walker disguised her voice and posed as at least two other people when she allegedly carried out her ruse and called Sherrill family members, police and members of the media.

Bursten said authorities do not know what motivated Walker's alleged hoax.

"We don't think it was financial. There was never any kind of request for money," he said.

However, Bursten said investigators have reason to believe that Walker has given false identities in the past.

Court records and police interviews indicate Walker has had brushes with the law in California, Kansas, Virginia and Nebraska. Indiana State Police say the past offenses involved making crank calls, writing bad checks, making a bomb threat and using stolen credit cards to run up long-distance charges.

A 1992 homicide investigation report from Virginia Beach, Va., indicated Walker might have "multiple personalities and is capable of talking in a male voice."

If convicted of playing a hoax on the Sherrill family, Walker could face up to four years in prison.

http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=90443
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Re: SHANNON SHERRILL - 6 yo (1986) - Thorntown IN

Post by twinkletoes on Mon Aug 25, 2014 1:02 am

Indiana Missing: Father still searching for 6-year-old Shannon Sherrill who vanished nearly 30 years ago

Nov. 5, 2013

 



Shannon Sherrill of Thorntown has been missing since 1986.

Written by
Kristine Guerra

Donna Walker is led into the Boone County Courthouse in Lebanon by Sheriff Dennis Brannon (left) and jail commander Teresa Brannon in 2004. She had claimed to be Shannon Sherrill. / AP Photo/Tom Strickland

Shannon Sherrill
Age: 6 (33 today).
Last seen or heard from: Oct. 5, 1986.

Circumstances: She was playing outside her mother’s mobile home in a Thorntown trailer park when she disappeared.

Description: She has brown hair and blue eyes, pierced ears and a 4-inch scar across her abdomen. She was last seen wearing a yellow sundress with blue trim.


Last seen:
A 6-year-old girl wearing a yellow sundress was playing with a few other kids outside her mother’s mobile home in Thorntown. Suddenly, she vanished. Nearly 30 years later, Shannon Marie Sherrill’s disappearance remains a mystery.

The investigation:
Police and detectives said they have followed up on hundreds of tips. Hypnotists questioned the children who were with Shannon that Sunday afternoon of October 1986. Parents and neighbors submitted to polygraph tests. Even psychics were consulted.

But all to no avail.

Shannon’s mother, Dorothy Sherrill, reported her missing that afternoon. People searched for several days.

Seventeen years later, in July 2003, a glimmer of hope surfaced. A woman called the Sherrill family and told them she is Shannon.

Mike Sherrill, the girl’s father, said the woman had sent him several photographs, including pictures of Shannon when she was 12 and 19.

Police later found that the woman, Donna L. Walker, Kansas, perpetuated a cruel hoax to the family. Walker used three names and three voices to try to persuade law enforcement and the Sherrills that she was Shannon, police said. She also gave authorities a phone number, address, Social Security number, date of birth, schools she had attended and landmarks she remembered as a child in Indiana. But nothing checked out.

Indiana State Police also has linked Walker to at least 30 different aliases.

Walker, who was 35 at that time, was later extradited to Indiana and charged with identity deception, attempted identity deception and false reporting. Her attorney had said in past interviews that Walker was mentally ill and she believed she was helping the Sherrills.

In April 2004, Walker pleaded guilty in the nationally publicized hoax. She was sentenced to 18 months in prison and four years of supervised probation —punishments that the Sherrills felt were not enough. Mike Sherrill called the sentence, which was part of a plea deal, a mere “slap on the wrist.”


http://archive.indystar.com/article/20131105/NEWS02/311050047/Indiana-Missing-Father-still-searching-6-year-old-Shannon-Sherrill-who-vanished-nearly-30-years-ago
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