I’ve been on a bender for small-town crimes that have happened in a town that I am, or have, lived in or near. On a side note, I’ve been looking at the whole urban exploration thing too . . . you know, where people explore abandoned places? But, that’s a whole different thing. I haven’t actually done it, just looked at videos and pictures.
So . . . .back to the whole crime-thing. This one actually touches upon my hometown, Tipton, Indiana.
In October of 1986, a 6 year-old girl was playing in her yard with other kids in Thorntown, Indiana. This town is familiar to me because I lived in Sheridan, Indiana at one point. And, I even worked at Old Indiana Fun Park in college before Emily Hunt was paralyzed and her grandmother killed on a ride.
Sometime during that afternoon, she simply vanished. That’s right, vanished. Not only was her disappearance investigated, the police even brought in hypnotists at one point to delve into her playmates’ memories in hoping to get some valuable information stored away there. Her parents were given lie detector tests to clear them. Later, Dorothy Shannon did an interview where strangely noted that she believed the Shannon was held captive for around 3 days before she was killed. No evidence has ever surfaced that she was killed and Dorothy’s statement remains unexplained.
Fast-forward to July 2003 and Shannon’s family was contacted by a woman claiming to be Shannon. She even provided pictures of herself growing up (after she had disappeared) to the family. She initially gave vital information of her missing years (like where she went to school, her social security number etc.) but none of it could be verified.
Eventually it was discovered that the woman was really Donna L. Walker (who was 35 years-old) from Kansas. And she was mentally ill. She ended up entering a guilty plea of attempted identity deception, identity deception, and false reporting. She received a sentence of 18 months in prison. Not nearly enough for the damage she caused the family if you ask me.
The connection to Tipton is that Shannon’s father is from Tipton and lived there while all of this was going on. Shannon disappeared from outside of her mother’s mobile home, in Thorntown. I can’t say that I ever knew her dad unless it was in passing and I’ve forgotten.
In 2006, Jeffrey L. Sunnycalb (imprisoned for the rape of two children) sent a letter to Thorntown Police claiming he had shared a jail cell with serial child killer David Elliot Penton and had information about Shannon’s disappearance. Penton was a convicted serial killer. His victims were children. Penton denied having anything to do with Shannon’s disappearance. So far he hasn’t been connected with it.
To this day, Shannon is still missing. I couldn’t find any real update on the parents in the last decade and Shannon is still listed as missing on the Charley Project site.
My heart goes out to the family and all they have endured in the last 30+ years.
Peace & Love for Shannon’s family
Hoosier Barn Chick