Shannon Nichole Paulk (True Crime)

Date:
August 16, 2001 (Thursday)

Location:
Candlestick Park Mobile Home Community, Prattville, Alabama, USA

Situation:
Deceased

SHANNON NICHOLE PAULK

Nickname: Unknown
Alternative Name: Unknown

Disappearance

Missing from: Candlestick Park Mobile Home Community, Prattville, Alabama, USA
Date Missing: August 16, 2001 (Thursday)

Missing from: Candlestick Park Mobile Home Community, Prattville, Alabama, USA
Date Missing: August 16, 2001 (Thursday)
Date Recovered: October 6, 2001
Taken By: Unknown

Circumstances:

Shannon was a kind and outgoing child who was always happy to meet new friends and hang out with neighbors around the mobile home park where she lived.

“She never met a stranger . . . . She had a heart of gold and just loved people – all people. And everybody loved her.”

– Marie Stroud (Mother) (Link)

Disappearance

On August 16, Shannon’s mother had left for work and her older sister was babysitting her at their home Candlestick Park. As usual on a nice day, Shannon headed outside to play with her friends; she had already left when her sister awoke around 9:00am.

When Shannon didn’t come home by dark, the family became concerned as this was unusual for the child. Her mother finally called the police at 9:00pm (21:00) and a search was launched, but to no avail. The sweet little girl had simply disappeared.

Some children claimed they saw a man Shannon was talking to and provided a description that was used to create a sketch police started circulating in 2007. However, fifteen years later the children (now adults) admitted that they had falsified the date when they saw the two speaking as an effort to help the police.

The Search

The search for Shannon reached national attention when it aired on America’s Most Wanted in 2006 and again when Pauley Perrette (Abby Scuito on NCIS) offered $10,000 towards the reward being offered in the hopes of solving the case.

Recovery

On October 6, approximately seven weeks after she disappeared, two rabbit hunters stumbled across her remains in an isolated field around ten miles north of Prattville near Autauga County Road 66. Her body had been tied with a rope and wrapped in a trash bag before being abandoned.

MurderData appears to list the case as solved, but this is not correct. If true, there is a little insight into her tragic means of death.

Similar to the location of Heaven Ross, Shannon was abandoned in an area that would be difficult for someone to find without being familiar with the area.

Grand Jury Investigation

A special grand jury of eighteen jurors was called in February 2017 to being re-investigating the homicide. This followed a year of police special investigation into Shannon’s disappearance where evidence was gathered from all involved government agencies together and to test what could be with new forensic evidence technology. The grand jury is a ‘fact-finding’ attempt to re-interview and reassess the information with fresh eyes and new technology.

One of their first decisions was to set aside the suspect depiction that was being circulated in connection with the case after hearing it was fabricated.

Today, family and friends continue to remember Shannon’s life and to keep the memory of her unsolved case alive in the public’s eye. In August of 2020, they joined together for yet another year to hold a candlelight vigil in Prattville honoring their loss.

Link to Other Missing Girls

Police have acknowledged that there may be a connection between the disappearance of a collection of other girls of similar age across the Southern US. Specifically the disappearance of Shannon Nichole Paulk (Georgia – 2001), Teresa Melissa Dean (Georgia – 1999) and Heaven LaShae Ross (Alabama – 2003). Some believe Tabitha Danielle Tuders (Tennessee – 2003) should also be added to the list.

Similarities

  • Age: 11-13
    • Teresa, Shannon, and Heaven were 11
    • Tabitha was 13
  • Gender: Female
  • Demographics: Caucasian, Fair-Skinned, Light Hair, Light Eyes, Similar Build
    • Exact hair & eye colors varied:
      • Tabitha (Blonde, Blue-Eyed)
      • Teresa (Brunette, Brown-Eyed)
      • Heaven (Red, Hazel-Eyed)
      • Shannon (Brunette, Green or Hazel-Eyed)
    • Tabitha and Heaven were similar enough in appearance that some missing persons sites have mixed up their photos
  • Taken From: Trailer Parks
    • Teresa, Shannon, and Heaven were taken from the Trailer Parks where they lived
    • Tabitha did not live in a Trailer Park (tips suggest she may have been seen at a nearby trailer park around the time of her disappearance); however, her neighborhood was an older, poor, and run-down community.
  • Time: August, 2 Years Apart
    • Teresa, Shannon, and Heaven were all taken in Mid-August almost exactly two years apart
      • Teresa (8/15/1999)
      • Shannon (8/16/2001)
      • Heaven (8/19/2003)
    • Tabitha does not fit the timeline – (4/29/2003)
  • Circumstances: Walking Alone
    • Teresa, Heaven, Shannon, and Tabitha were all walking alone around or near their homes.
    • Teresa, Shannon, and Heaven all had commercial construction going on near the path they walked.
    • Tabitha and Heaven were headed towards the bus stop for school.
  • On Major Highways
    • Major highways connect all four hometowns involved in Teresa, Heaven, Shannon, and Tabitha’s disappearance.
    • Tabitha was possibly sighted in Linton, IN which is also on a major highway connected with the others.

Key Descriptors

  • Date of Birth:
  • Age at Disappearance: 11
  • Ethnicity: Caucasian
  • Nationality: American
  • Gender at Birth: Female
  • Hair: Sandy Brown
  • Eye Color: Green
  • Height: 5’0″ (152 cm)
  • Weight: 83lbs (37.6 kg)

Distinguishing Marks or Factors

Clothing

  • Orange Halter Top
  • Blue Jean Shorts

If You or Anyone You Know Has Information About The Disappearances, Please Contact the FBI or Crime Stoppers at 1 (800) 222-TIPS. Or Contact the Prattville Police at +1 334-365-2220.

Shannon's Memorial Tree planted in her honor
Shannon’s Memorial Tree planted in her honor has grown over the years, standing as a reminder to #NeverForget (WSFA-TV)
Missing Person photo for Shannon Paulk

References

  • Roney, M. (2018) ‘Grand jury in infamous Shannon Paulk disappearance likely to have term extended’, Montgomery Advertiser, 30 March. Link
  • Roney, M. (2017) ‘Details surrounding 2001 Shannon Paulk slaying as mysterious as ever’, Montgomery Advertiser, 17 August. Link
  • Henry, B. (2020) ’19 years pass since Shannon Paulk’s murder with no answers’, WSFA 12, 11 August. Link
  • Cavallier, A. (2020) ‘Vigil honors Shannon Paulk as her family continues to fight for justice 19 years after 11-year-old’s murder’, NBC News, 15 August. Link.
  • Wildlife Management Area Map. Link.
  • Montgomery Advertiser (2001) ‘Shannon Nichole Paulk Obituary’. Link
  • Snell, R. (2017) ‘i-Team: Who Killed Shannon Paulk? Part 1 & 2’, Alabama News, 9 May. Link
  • Roney, M. (2001) ‘Experts release suspect profile’, Montgomery Advertiser, 12 October. Link

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