The Shondra May Mystery


By: Wayne Brown

The cold, damp chill of winter hung in the sky over central Mississippi on February 4th, 1986. It was not a day of particular significance in Forest, Mississippi, the County Seat of Scott County, but within in a short time it would be. By late evening that perspective on the day would change and the events of the day would launch a mystery which is still unsolved over 25 years later. On this fateful day early in February of 1986, rape, murder, and mystery would visit itself on the residents of this rural central Mississippi community.

17 year-old high school student, Shondra May, lived with her mother, father, and adopted brother, Tim, in an unincorporated community known as “Pea Ridge”. The community was basically a place on the road where a handful of people lived. It was located off of Highway 35 North in northern Scott County near the adjacent southern border of Leake County. Shondra’s father, Richard, worked as a riverboat pilot on the Mississippi River. Richard was away from home for long periods with his work up and down the river leaving Shondra’s mother, Genell, to look after the issues of parenting Shondra and her brother, Tim. From all accounts, Genell had been up to that task of providing a positive home environment and friends say that Shondra was a good and caring person.

Shondra May attended a private school known as “Leake Academy” located in the Leake County community of Madden, Mississippi, a 14-mile drive northeast of Shondra’s home in the Pea Ridge community of Scott County. Shondra was a member of the Senior Class of 1986 and graduation was just a few short months away. Shondra’s routine in these winter months of 1986 included attending her daily class schedules at the academy after which she would drive back past her home in Pea Ridge to the town of Forest located 13 miles to the south. She worked part-time at a local McDonald’s mostly on evenings and weekends to earn extra money for her personal needs. On the 4th of February, according to witness testimony, Shondra had attended her school classes in the morning. At around 6 PM that evening of the 4th, Shondra clocked in for work at the McDonald’s with no awareness that the precious last hours of her young life were ticking away.

Forest, Mississippi is a small town and numbering a population of just over 5,000 people in 1986. The surrounding area of Scott County was nearing the 20,000 mark in population in that year. For a small Mississippi town, Forest was fortunate in that it had acquired a local McDonald franchise. This likely was related to the fact that Interstate Highway 20 transited east to west just south of the small town allowing some potential draw to the fast food outlet from pass-through interstate traffic. For a few young teenagers in the area, it also was an opportunity to work part-time and earn a few dollars in the process. Shondra was among those lucky few but unknowingly was on her last night on the job.

February 4, 1986 was a Tuesday and a rather slow one with a low count of evening traffic passing through the fast food outlet. It was a cold, damp and rainy night causing people to stay home and not venture out unless there was no other choice. As a result, by 7:24 PM, Shondra had clocked out due to the slow customer traffic. Eager to get in the hours, she stayed around the restaurant for a while in the hope that the traffic would increase. Finally, about 7:40 PM, she gave up and decided to leave marking the last time anyone in the restaurant would see the young, hazel-eyed, brunette alive. Before departing, She used the restaurant phone and called her mother to let her know that she was on her way home. Departing the restaurant, Shondra had no way of knowing that she would never arrive home.


Back at home, Shondra's mother, Genell, was concerned that her daughter had not yet arrived. More than enough time had passed for her to make the trip from Forest. Shondra’s father, Richard, had called and Genell expressed her concerns. Richard instructed Genell to contact Shondra’s uncle and have him drive the route to see if Shondra had encountered car problems. The search began to bear fruit almost immediately. As Genell opened the front door of the house, she spotted Shondra’s car sitting along the road less than 100 yards from the house.

A check of the car revealed no sign of Shondra. Inside the car was Shondra’s purse and belongings all seemingly intact and untouched. A close look at her purse would later reveal that Shondra’s driver’s license was missing from the normal assorted inventory. Outside the driver’s door, which was ajar, there was no clear evidence marking Shondra’s departure from the vehicle. Shondra was nowhere to be found on that cold and rainy winter evening as her car sat abandoned on the narrow dirt road in Pea Ridge, Mississippi. Among her things was a receipt for a Valentine’s card purchased at a Forest variety store. But the card was not found in the car.


Shondra had left McDonalds in her 1985 Isuzu I-Mark and stopped off at a local TG&Y variety store in Forest. Her purpose in stopping there was in preparation for the upcoming St. Valentine’s Day on the 14th. She purchased an oversized Valentine’s Card according to witnesses who remembered her being in the store that evening. Those who knew her speculated that the card was for her then boyfriend, 19-year old, Tony Adams of Edinburg, Mississippi, located 27 miles northeast of Shondra’s home. Adams was a student at Edinburgh High School at the time.


Scott County law enforcement was called into the search and eventually State (MBI) and FBI investigators joined in an attempt to assist. As the night wore on, the mystery of the missing young and attractive brunette began to take shape. Evidence was lacking at the site of the car as there were no signs of forced entry or any type of struggle. It was as if Shondra had reached a point within view of her home and then just disappeared into thin air. By morning, word of Shondra's disappearnce had spread. Excitement and fear soon gripped families throughout the adjoining counties. Soon posters bearing the smiling face of Shondra became common sights in store front windows, at shop counters, on bulletin boards, and on telephone poles. Literally thousands of people were on the look-out for this young girl who had literally disappeared right in her own front yard without a clue.

As in most cases of a missing person, law enforcement agencies usually do not treat it as a “missing person case" until the subject has been missing for more than 48 hours. Such was the case in Shondra’s disappearance. The site where the car was parked was never treated as a “crime scene” with any attention to preserving footprints or tire tracks and the car was never dusted for fingerprints. Relatives had found the car before law enforcement arrived on the scene and had moved it from the spot to the house. In the process, foot traffic contaminated the site before any decision could be made to investigate it as a crime scene. In effect, evidence was lost to consequence; evidence which might have opened doors later in the process.


Rumors and false leads began to surface mostly leading to dead-ends in the case. Hour by hour the days of February 1986 played themselves out as March approached with the coming spring. As each day passed and faded, so did the hopes of finding Shondra alive. The situation continued with little change for a total of 22 long days before a break came in the case. That break would move the status of the case from a missing person mystery to one of brutal and stark murder. For Shondra’s family and friends, things were only going to get worse as day dawned on the 26th of February 1986, Shondra’s 18th birthday.

The area of Hinds County west of the Mississippi State Capitol of Jackson, Mississippi contains a lot of forested, isolated country today and likely had even more back in 1986. On the morning of 26 February, near the town of Bolton, Mississippi, an off-duty fireman on a hunting expedition came across an object of suspicious nature floating in the cold waters of Baker Creek. The creek ran near a bridge crossing on Champion Hill Road near Interstate Highway 20. The fireman alerted authorities who came to the scene and fished the object from the creek waters. Removing the black plastic garbage bags which encased the mystery, investigators found the battered remains of Shondra May. After 22 days, Shondra whereabouts was finally pinpointed approximately 80 miles from her home and in an area where the lifeless remains of others had also been found over the years.


Investigational techniques and crime scene safeguards were not as fully developed in 1986 as those we see in use today. That point was made very clearly in the mid-90’s in reviewing contaminated evidence at the murder scene of Nicole Brown Simpson and friend, Ronald Goldman, in the now famous O.J. Simpson case. DNA techniques were still very limited at the time and a thing of the future. In removing Shondra’s body from the creek waters and examining the remains, some evidence was either contaminated or potentially lost at the scene. Questions still linger as to whether any type of DNA was harvested at the time. As the old saying goes, when one door opens, another one closes began to take on a familiar truth in the Shondra May case.

Examining Shondra’s remains, the medical examiner found that she had been bound and gagged with a packing-tape commonly used in poultry-raising and processing facilities common to the region in where she lived. The initial autopsy did not yield any conclusive results and a second autopsy by a different source was ordered. That examination found that the cause of death was strangulation. There were marks related to strangulation in the neck area. There were also indications of sexual assault. The time of death remained uncertain and the reason cited was the length of time which the body had been in the creek waters. The examiner estimated that Shondra had lived for as much as 17 to 19 days and that possibly her body had been in the water 3 to 5 days after her death. There was also some speculation as to whether the body had also been exposed to some level of refrigeration for some period which would mean that the time she was alive may have been even shorter than originally projected. Shondra’s whereabouts was no longer a mystery. Now the questions focused on why she was killed and by who.

Over time, leads came and went and a bevy of suspects were considered including Shondra’s father and her boyfriend, Tony Adams. Both were cleared after more in-depth investigation. Some theorized that an individual known to pose as a policeman in the area around Meridian, Mississippi might have been involved though no evidence of value could be obtained to prove it. Multiple suspects were considered with no real progress in finding the killer. Local law enforcement members took polygraph tests in an attempt to expose anyone hiding within the system that might be involved.

In August of 1992, a Richard Weeks, then incarcerated in a Missouri jail on charges, was transported back to Hinds County, MS for questioning regarding the murder of Shondra May. Weeks had spent time in the Scott and Bolivar County jails in 1987 and 1988 on forgery charges. Initial there was hope that Weeks might be a break in the case, but no new evidence was obtained from his interrogation.

On March 2, 1993, a story in the Tuscaloosa (Alabama) News, discussed the potential ties of suspect, Kenneth McLain, who had been charged in February of 1993 of the murder of Lori Hill, a resident of Ellisville, Mississippi At the time of her murder, she was 18 years of age and pregnant. McLain was said to have stopped Ms. Hill while impersonating a police officer. Ms. Hill was strangled and her lifeless body was dumped into a creek. Tuscaloosa police were also questioning McLain in the murder of Chanda Fehler, age 24. Charges against McLain, a resident of Brandon, Mississippi, in the Lori Hill murder were later dropped due to a lack of evidence. While there were several similarities between the Chanda Fehler case and that of Shondra May, there was no hard evidence to link either of them to Kenneth McClain.


Chanda Fehler disappeared after leaving the Riverside swimming pool facility. Her car, still in the swimming facility parking lot, was discovered by police with the driver’s door slightly ajar, the interior light on, and her purse and wallet open on the passenger seat on June 10, 1987. Her body was discovered four days later afloat in the Black Water River. A concrete cinder block had been used to weight the body down but was insufficient to keep it from floating. Her wrists and ankles were bound with wire, and the body was nude. The cause of death appeared to be drowning.

In the Fehler case as in the May case, evidence was overlooked, botched, or disregarded. The time that the body was exposed to the water had also undermined the gathering of critical evidence in the case. McClain was questioned but never charged in the Fehler case. Reporters from the Jackson, Mississippi, newspaper, “The Clarion Ledger” attempted to question McLain but when the line of questioning focused on the Shondra May case, McLain stopped the interview and declined any answers with his attorney citing his fifth and sixth amendment rights. McClain remains a suspect of high interest but to date no hard evidence has emerged relating to the May or Fehler cases to uphold a grand jury indictment.

Two other murder cases which might have some similarity to the May case occurred in 2001 and 2005 in central Mississippi. Mousey Boxx of the Forkville, MS area was murdered in 2001 and his remains were found in Rankin County, Mississippi. Sidney Jones was murdered in 2005 and her remains were discovered near Morton, Mississippi, located between Forest and Jackson in Scott County. Information on these cases is not detailed on the Internet though authorities may feel there are some similarities to the May case. Though investigational techniques and evidence preservation had surely improved by the year 2001, both cases remain unsolved.


The Shondra May case remains unsolved today. Now, almost 30 years after her abduction and subsequent murder during those cold, rainy days of a February winter much has been speculated as to the motive and manner in which Shondra became a victim of such a cruel plot. Still, without hard evidence sufficient enough to bring an indictment of a suspect, the case remains as cold as it ever was in those first hours after her abduction.

There are factors in the case that point in particular directions. Based on the evidence or lack thereof in and around Shondra’s vehicle, one could conclude that she might have either known her abductor or recognized the person as a person of authority (i.e. a police officer). There were no evident signs of a struggle and nothing was in disarray. There were no distinguishable footprints near the driver’s door which may have been made by Shondra as she exited the car or by someone approaching the car. There is no mention of other footprints in the evidence though the ground about the vehicle was likely softened by the rain. Whether there were footprints or tire marks is lost due to the lack of preservation of the site as a crime scene at the time.

The fact that Shondra’s license was missing from her purse may be an indicator of the events that may have taken place, for example, a sinister party posing as a law enforcement officer making a traffic stop. At the same time, it may just be coincidence in that she may have used the license earlier as identification to write a check and simply placed them into a pocket of her clothing. If Shondra was being stopped by authorities, why would she not opt for the safety of simply pulling up in front of her house instead of stopping less than 100 yards short of it in response to the flashing lights? Obviously she did not feel threatened whatever the case.

Short of a confession by a person with a heavy conscience, it is highly unlikely that the Shondra May case will ever be resolved. Shondra's family, those who attended school and worked with her, and a large community of people who were shocked and horrified by this tragedy will spend much of their life not only remembering Shondra but also constantly returning to their memories of that cold Mississippi February in 1986.

©Copyright WBrown2011. All Rights Reserved.

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Comments 43 comments

billybuc profile image

billybuc 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

I vaguely remember this happening. I hate to think of how many times each day something like this happens in this country. The devastation to the families of the missing girls must be unbelievable. Thanks for shedding light on this case; nice job, Wayne!

Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

How horrible. Too bad about the crime scene but I guess there was much confusion. I kept wondering if where the car was left was visible from the home and if her mom had just looked out could she have stopped it? Probably many more what ifs the family thought. I use to read so many true crimes but then a time came I just couldn't anymore. Interesting read though, to remind us we can never be too careful.

JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 3 years ago from Deep South, USA

Excellent account of this horrendous crime, Wayne. At the time of Shondra May's death, I lived in Jackson, MS and recall women being warned not to stop for a blue light on an isolated highway or road, but to drive on to a public place first--ideally a police station. A legitimate law enforcement officer would follow, while an impersonator would not stop in a highly visible public place, especially a police station.

I moved to Texas in the late '80s and returned to Mississippi eight years later. I currently live in Jackson and am familiar with all the locations mentioned in your article. I hadn't thought of this case in a long time, but it saddens me to revisit it. It was such a tragedy--a young life cruelly destroyed and the breaking of a family's collective heart.

The other unsolved murders in the vicinity (2001 and 2005) cause me to wonder if, indeed, there is a serial killer still in our midst. There are too many psychopaths walking around free. They are often intelligent enough to elude capture and human justice while they continue to commit senseless atrocities. We can only hope that divine justice overtakes them sooner rather than later.

Then, too, small town police (and Forest is a small town) aren't generally equipped with detectives experienced in investigating serious crimes, forensics science wasn't as exact in the mid-80s as it is now and contamination of the crime scene made the job even more difficult.

The current Scott County sheriff, Mike Lee, was given a huge file on the May case by his predecessor when he took office. He said it would never be closed, but there were apparently no significant leads because Shondra's murder remains unsolved, as do the murders of Mousey Boxx and Sidney Jones, whose bodies were found so near to the place of Shondra's disappearance.

Voted Up+ and very effective--so much that I'll have to read something light to banish thoughts of these gruesome murders before I try to sleep tonight!


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 3 years ago from Texas Author

@billybuc....This is a "recycled hub", Bill. I had it posted then took it down to another of my sites. Many who were familiar with it could no longer find it so I decided to put it back in place. This tragedy took place about 20 miles south of my hometown in Miss. It remains unsolved to this day although I understand the investigation has been reopened. Thanks much. ~WB

Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 3 years ago from Texas Author

@Jackie Lynnley...I exchanged emails with Shondra's brother Tim right after I posted this article the first time. He corrected a couple things for me with regard to the car. Initially there was indications that footprints were found by the driver's door. That was not the case and by the time investigators arrived on the scene, the car had been driven up to the house by relatives who did not realize there was a crime scene thus there was significant dilution or loss of evidence around where the car was stopped initially. I believe the car was stopped far enough away from the house that her could not have seen it from her window. The road which they lived on was kind of a looping half oval track off the main highway. Recently, state investigators began looking into some new leads in the case but the evidence is apparently still rather sketchy. Thanks much! ~WB

Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 3 years ago from Texas Author

@JayeWisdom...Thank you for those kind words, Jaye. I grew up in that area in the 60's about 20 miles to the north in Carthage. I was very aware of the story at the time of the occurrence although I too was living in Texas. The story dominated the media and my family talked of it a great deal keeping me informed. Certainly technology has come a long way since those days of the '80's but so much more could have been accomplished had folks realized that the initial place the car was found was a crime scene. By the time investigator arrived, the area had been polluted by foot traffic of relatives and friends. The same was true of the car as it had been driven by a relative to the house by that time. I know Mike Lee's family from my childhood days and have no doubt that he will do everything in his power to gain progress in the case. I understand the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation has re-opened its case files and has at least one person under investigation. I believe this person had been on the radar screen earlier but dropped off due to a lack of evidence. Even with the re-opening, I am not convinced they can find the killer unless they manage to gain a confess from someone in the process. The other aspect of the investigation which fogs the lens is that the body was dumped into the creek waters which also destroyed potential DNA evidence as well. Today, there are probably some methods to salvage some of that stuff but not so much back then. At the same time, I am not convinced that the site where the body was located was sealed off and treated as a crime scene at that time either. It is hard to say whether the person who did this was cunning or simply lucky. I feel certain the person knew the area where the body was dumped. I have driven through that area from Texas for years and never realized there was a creek, etc. in that is all hidden by the trees thus I do not believe the killer just happened upon that site. On that basis, it would seem there might be a way to connect some dots to find out who might hunt or fish in that area over time. Shondra's mother has passed away; her father is still living but not in the same place and Shondra's brother, Tim also lives in the adjacent county. I exchanged emails with him when I initially posted this article and let him know that I would gladly take it down if it made him uncomfortable. He was very gracious about it and told me that he appreciate someone keeping the memory of his sister's tragedy in public view. It is a sad story that I hope will one day have a happier ending if the killer is either caught or comes forward. Thanks much! ~WB

Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

Gypsy Rose Lee 3 years ago from Riga, Latvia

Thanks for sharing this incredible story. Tragedies like this occur too often. These kind of murders always give me the chills. Passing this on.

P.S. Is it just me or do the first paragraphs repeat each other?

Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 3 years ago from Texas Author

@Gypsy Rose Lee....Quite chilling and very frustrating for the family and friends of the family. I will always believe that either a member of law enforcement or someone posing as such stopped this young girl and things evolved as a result. With regard to the paragraphs, there must have been some flaw in the link as you opened the article...the first two in what I am seeing are totally different from each other. If you get a chance to open it again, let me know if you see the same thing. Thanks much! ~WB

FitnezzJim profile image

FitnezzJim 3 years ago from Fredericksburg, Virginia

With the way technology is advancing, they will someday be able to develop the evidence they need to figure this out.

Welcome back Wayne.

Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

Well thanks for telling me Wayne. That's one what if I can drop. I thought reading true crimes would let me know how to recognize these sickos but what it taught me is they come in all shapes and sizes and classes. Who would have dreamed Ted Bundy was anything but a clean cut guy, even living with a girl he never thought of harming.

Angela Blair profile image

Angela Blair 3 years ago from Central Texas

As a fan of true, crime stories; this one stands out as a true tragedy. Your presentation of the facts is superb. How sad that no justice has been had to date -- we can only hope and pray. Best/Sis

Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 3 years ago from Texas Author

@FitnezzJim...I would say that I was "back", Jim...more like "around". I have not published anything new. This article is a recycle which I initially took down and decide to move but so many were linked to it previously that it caused a mess for them. I ended up having to redo the entire piece to get it back into place. I also decided that the amount of effort required to move almost 700 hubs was just too monumental so, for now, I am just leaving them here. I am about doing some reading and commenting and maintaining what exists. I won't be hard to find. I think you are correct on your technology assessment with regard to this case. I understand there is some marginal DNA possibilities. Thanks much! ~WB

@Jackie Lynnley....Your example using Ted Bundy is spot on...there is no telling how many women he killed that we still do not know about and can only suspect. A charmer and a harmer all rolled into one. ~WB

@Angela Blair...Very true, Sis. The case is once again getting some attention from the authorities and there are is still at least "one person of interest". The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation is working to gather more testimony and evidence in the case. Thanks much! I have not forgotten you on the poetry, bio, and photo...just need to find the time. Thanks much! ~WB

drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida

How sad that this young girl's life was cut short and that her killer is still unknown after all these years and may never be found. The scenario you propose of the murderer posing as a policeman in order to stop her car seems realistic based on the scant evidence you described.

I've missed your well-written expositions, Wayne. Nice to see you back even if just for a visit. :)

Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

Gypsy Rose Lee 3 years ago from Riga, Latvia

OK Wayne this is what my comp shows from the beginning the first 5 paragraphs up to the pic of the McDonald's. Then these 5 paragraphs repeat again until the pic of the car and only then they continue on. Just saying.

Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 3 years ago from Texas Author

@drbj...Sorry for the confusion on this one, Doc. I just found out that I have a duplicated text field that was very hard to see at my end here. Glad that you made it thorough the document anyway! Thanks for the kind words! ~WB

Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 3 years ago from Texas Author

@Gypsy Rose Lee...Thank you so much. When I recycled this hub, I attempted it on line (which I never do). In that process a text field was duplicated but I could not see it somehow. I finally found it and made some different arrangements. If you get a chance, check it again and see if it looks better to you. Glad we got to the bottom of that before people thought that I had lost it...maybe they do anyway! LOL! ~WB

CMerritt profile image

CMerritt 3 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

Wayne, you had me glued all the way through was as if I was watching NBC's Crime Mystery. It always bothers me hearing of such horrible events taking place. How people can have such disrespect for human life.

Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 3 years ago from Texas Author

@CMerritt...It just goes to show that we have some real animals walking around on two legs among us. It definitely leaves one wondering when these things occurr and are never solved. Thanks much, Chris. ~WB

dsanford 3 years ago

Mousy boxx was a "he" not a "her". Don't remember hearing about Sidney Jones.

missyann 3 years ago

I remember hearing that she told her parents that someone in a brown car had been following her. Do you know if that is true?

Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 3 years ago from Texas Author

@missyann...I have not seen that discussed in the forums regarding the evidence. I also had some email exchanges with her brother, Tim, regarding the evidence around her car and he did not mention anything in that regard. These cases have a way of "growing" their own evidence as information exchanges hands. Thanks much! ~WB

missyann 3 years ago

I understand what you mean about growing evidence. We heard a lot during that time. I haven't seen it in any forums either. I thought you might have additional insight because you are in contact with her brother. I lived in Forest when it happened. The reason I asked about the brown car is because I, along with at least one other person I know of, was followed by a brown car that fit the description of the car we heard was following Shondra. The other person and I had to go to the police station and identify him as the person following us. This all happened the same time Shondra disappeared. I was terrified! Thanks for you response. I hope there is resolution to this case.

Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 3 years ago from Texas Author

@missyann...I understand that the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation is still interviewing people with knowledge in the case. Since this might be a possible lead, you might consider making contact with them and offering your information. While you have told the police this information, it may not have been associated at all with the May case so that link might need to be made. My friend of mine from back home in Carthage just recently gave them some testimony regarding information possibly related to Shondra. There is a particular individual who keeps coming up in the suspect list. That person at first agreed to a polygraph and then would not do it when the time came. Whether that was a case of nerves or something else I don't know but it would be interesting to know if there were any brown-colored cars in his past. Thanks for the reply. ~WB

missyann 3 years ago

Is there anyway I can contact you privately? If not, no big deal.

Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 3 years ago from Texas Author

@missyann....Go to Google and search "Wayne Brown""HubPages". My site link will come up ( Go there and it will open up on my "Profile Page". Choose "Fan Mail". When that section opens you will see a blue link at the top of the fan comment box that says "Send Wayne Brown An email". Once you fill in the form then you will need to type in the two confirmation words just as they appear and send the email. That message traffic does not appear on the site. Thanks. ~WB

jj 22 months ago

I was a sophomore at Leake Academy when this happened. Shodra was the sweetest thing, nice, pretty and always smiling. When this happened, it crippled us as a school for a while. The student population came from several counties so it affected possible a hundred thousand people almost directly. I remember crying and seeing dozens of other friends crying uncontrollably when her body was found. It was a terrible time in that little community. I pray that her killer is brought to justice. In Mississippi, there is no statute of limitations and murder, even 29 years later, is still the case. One day, her murderer will have to pay for this horrible crime, whether in this life or the next. He had better hope it is in this one. I still say a prayer for Shondra and her family from time to time.

Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 22 months ago from Texas Author

Thank you for your memories of this tragic story. I grew up in Carthage and spent my college years in Mississippi. In fact, Leake Academy was just getting started under the guidance of Joe Shepard during my college years. I am quite familiar with the various communities and schools around the area. I still have family there and remember many conversations with my mother and sister about this tragedy. It certainly would bring some closure for many who were so emotional attached to the case but I think, after all these years, the odds are so very slim in favor of that possibility. I do not think the person or persons who carried it out were smart in their ways--I think they were lucky. I say lucky in that the initial crime scene was rendered pretty much useless and the lack of technology and training prevented the necessary DNA from being gathered at the discovery site of the remains. We could hope that a heavy conscience might bring about a confession but I seriously doubt that anyone who could live with that action on their conscience for this many years actually has one. Thanks much. ~ WB

Judy Caston 9 months ago

Thanks for keeping this in the public eye. You never know when something may turn up. I never fail to recall it all every February. I worked in Forest at the time, often returning home after dark. We weren all very nervous driving 35 for a long time. I never pass her home that I don't think of her and her family. I pray that someday there will be some answers. Thanks again for re-posting this!

paula cox 9 months ago

I was living in a rural part of Brandon, between Morton and Ross Barnett reservoir when this happened. I was terrified. So sad that yhey still haven't solved this case.

LB 9 months ago

I remember this so well. I graduated in 1987, one year after this tragedy. I attended Mississippi College and often drove home to Louisville. My daddy made me primise not to stop my car for anyone. He told Me let a policeman follow me to a public place before stopping. Everyone was so scared. Her poor family- to still have no answers.

Wayne- you should write about the unsolved murder of Karen Jolly in Louisville/Winston County. Another senseless tragedy.

Betty 9 months ago

I remember this case about ms may there were talks about her brother might had something to do with her murder cause he was jealous of her and also jack warren destroyed alt of the file contences and he knew who did it but didn't do anything about or arrest the person

ginjill ashberry profile image

ginjill ashberry 9 months ago

Thank you for sharing this story. It is sad and it must be heart wrenching for those who loved her and with many unanswered questions to put a closure regarding her demise. Young and in the bloom of every possibilities. I hope time has healed the hurting.

Barine Sambaris profile image

Barine Sambaris 9 months ago from Nigeria

It gives me goosebumps to think there are people who would do that to unsuspecting victims and their fellow humans. It's so sad her family and the family of the others have to go through tragedies such as these. I have lost someone dear to me before, though not this way but it was hard enough. I think there a certain pain when you remember your loved one died, not of natural causes or unavoidable circumstances but from one man's cruelty.

Fact 9 months ago

The suspect that changed his mind about the polygraph had access to a brown 76 Toyota Corolla as well as another brown car. The corolla was used to drive to the chicken house and had the black plastic wrap in the back. His mother knows the truth and if she is still alive might be ready to clear her conscious. She has covered for him for many years, so maybe not.

char2377 9 months ago

What? In reference to "FACT".... can you expound a little on this? I never heard there was a suspect that changed his mind about a polygraph. If you reply, I will give you my email address. Thank you.

Fact 9 months ago

If you read all the comments, Wayne mentioned the brown car as well as missyann., Wayne also mentioned the recurring suspect that agreed to take a polygraph and then changed his mind. This person had a "crush" on the victim, was a school mate of the victim, had knowledge of the area where the body was found because he had been to the area camping as a boy scout. He also had an infatuation with hogtying people.

Facts 9 months ago

The problems with this case are; bumbling of evidence by the family and law enforcement, lack of contemporary forensic technology at the time of the murder, the recurring mention of the blue light / fake cop, which has, I believe helped the perpetrator, the issuing of a gag order by a judge at the time of the murder and the lack of a confession or testimony that would lead to a conviction. There is, i believe, overwhelming circumstantial evidence that indicates that this suspect is guilty, but you cannot convict someone with circumstantial evidence and so the DA, and others can do nothing unless someone comes forward with testimony. These are also facts about the suspect, he is very cruel to animals, he once beat a horse in the face for no reason, as if there is ever a reason for such behavior, he also had a live in girlfriend that was 14 while he was 24.

SH 9 months ago

She was my neighbor at the time.. It was horrible for a little community line Pea Ridge to have something like this happen to a precious girl like Shondra.. She had a wonderful Christian family! It still makes me cry to think of that horrible night and days that followed !

Hayman24 9 months ago

I am good friends with the family and the person Facts is talking about has submitted to a DNA sample over two years ago. This came straight from her brother. They don't and have never suspected him at all. I also know this person and Facts need to get a few things straight in the story they tell. there has been two or three people posting inaccurate stories for years trying cast him and his mother in a bad light. It sounds like to me they have a personal vendetta against him. What happend to Shondra was a terrible thing and the case needs to be solved so her family can have some closure but pointing fingers at someone who had nothing to do with for personal reasons is just plain wrong. It causes undue pain for the family and it waste time that could be spent looking for the real person who did this!

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Wayne Brown 9 months ago from Texas Author

Thanks to all of you very much for taking the time to read this article. I do appreciate it. I hope that it does help to keep Shondra's memory alive and keep people vigilant in finding new possibilities. It is quite obvious to me that Shondra touched many lives and left a great impression on many, many people in her short life. I do hope that we can keep the discussion civil and keep it foremost in our minds that some sense awareness may well be a key element in a final solution to this tragic loss of an innocent life.


I think it could be a law enforcement officer or someone impersonating. If the crimes have not continued in this area I would look around the country to see if similar unsolved crimes are still happening as the suspect may have moved. Serial killers do not change or stop completely. He could also be serving time or have died. Also has anyone discussed the possibility of Shonda being kept in a hunting club before being killed? They could have had a freezer or cooler in there. I k now of one case where a guy impersonating a law enforcement officer kidnapped and killed a young woman and kept her in a UHAUL storage in a freezer for over a year.

CM 2 months ago

I was in school with her at L.A. (she was a SR and I was a Fr), but her disappearance hit us all like a ton of bricks. I've often wondered if there were ever any breaks in her case (and this story tells that there have been none). Coincidentally, I now hunt in the very area where she was found with my two young sons and have driven over that creek hundreds of time. I agree with the previous posting re having knowledge of the area. There's no way anyone stumbled upon that creek/area without knowing about in previously. The Bolton community is small & rural. Doubtful that "strangers" would have been driving around without anyone noticing it. Was astounded to see that other (and similar) cases have occurred in this area. This case haunts me to this day and pray that someone solves it someday.

LNS 5 weeks ago

I live near the standing pine community! I grew up hearing my family talk about it and how sad it was... When I was a child my grandmother would tell me what happened when I would go with her to their home for something . I don't know what her mother did but she might have done alterations or something on clothing for my grandmother... Everytime I go to forest and pass by that road she lived on it gives me such chills! I pray there will be a break in the case one day and whoever done such a sick thing gets what they deserve! It's so scary to think there are people out there every day doing such crimes. Breaks my heart! Maybe one day the remaining family members like Tim can sleep at night knowing who did this to SM! :( A horrible tragedy!

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