|Posted by mja--inc--investigations on October 8, 2020 at 8:45 PM|
Mja Inc Investigations
13 News WTHR
Author: Kevin Rader
Published: 4:54 PM EDT September 7, 2018
Updated: 3:56 AM EDT September 10, 2018
Possible human remains found in Fayette County renews interest in missing person case..
It's been 32 years since Denise Pflum disappeared...but the search for the 18-year-old high school senior continues.
CONNERSVILLE, Ind. (WTHR) - It's been 32 years since Denise Pflum disappeared...but the search for the 18-year-old high school senior continues.
Search dogs have detected something in Forth pond on the Mary Gray Bird Sanctuary property.
Investigators are in the process of draining the pond located south of Connersville in Fayette County to see if they have a lead..
"The dogs are indicating possibility. No assurance that it's her or anything is there but I feel it's our burden to follow up on it."
The case has haunted the community and been a great mystery of Fayette county and I think it has been the burden of our Sheriff’s Department. It's our investigation," he told WTHR.
Sheriff Laughlin says it could take up to three weeks before they are able to determine if they have a new lead in this case.
It as been a heartbreaking mystery since 1986. Whatever happened to Denise Pflum?
Fayette County Sheriff Joey Laughlin was seven years old when she went missing. He has now been Sheriff for four years.
They borrowed search dogs from Homeland Security that search several locations but they detected something on pond number four along Columbia Road near 400 South at the Mary Gray Bird Sanctuary.
"We brought out two more dogs two days later and those dogs hit as well. We began efforts to drain the pond and study the contents," he explained.
Laughlin says he remembers this case like it was yesterday.
"Denise Pflum was an 18-year-old high school senior. Had went to a party Thursday night and the next day was Good Friday.
Forget her purse at the party so told her family she was going back out to the property to get her purse," he remembered.
They would never see or hear from her again.
"There have been rumors and a myriad of things they talk about over the years. Our interest is to bring closure to the family," he continued.
The search area is a good half mile of this road and hard to access especially with the current wet conditions.
Because of the current weather it could be up to three weeks before there is any word about whether this is a true lead at the Mary Gray Bird Sanctuary in rural Fayette County but for now it's all residents have since 1986.
13 News WTHR
Author: Matt McCutcheon
Published: 7:38 PM EDT September 28, 2020
Updated: 4:07 AM EDT September 29, 2020
Suspect in 1986 Cold Case Dies Months After Confession
The murder of Denise Pflum finally appeared to have a major lead with an arrest in July, but suspect Shawn McClung passed away on Sept. 26 before trial.
CONNERSVILLE, Ind. — It has been called the biggest mystery of Fayette County: what happened to Denise Pflum?
The case has haunted the community since 1986.
In March of that year, the star athlete and scholar disappeared without a trace.
The case finally appeared to have a major lead with an arrest this past July, but the suspect passed away on Sept. 26 before a trial or plea deal.
“This is my favorite picture of her; it’s just a crowd picture,” Pflum's mom, Judy, said in a previous WTHR interview.
It’s the pictures and memories that help the family of Denise Pflum pull through another setback. In a previous interview in their living room, they showed her works of art that surround them.
“It allows her to be with us,” her father, David, said.
Denise, who was 18 when she was killed, hasn’t been physically with them in 34 years, leaving her family with only memories and questions.
In July, her ex-boyfriend, 56-year-old Shawn McClung, was arrested and charged with voluntary manslaughter.
“He was arrested on separate charges on defrauding a financial institution and check deception.
He had a warrant for his arrest, so he was incarcerated, and we took the opportunity to speak to him about the case again,” said Fayette County Sheriff Joey Laughlin.
Detectives say he confessed, possibly because he was terminally ill.
Denise’s parents were called in and actually faced the suspected killer.
“We were asked to come to the jail that day while he was being interviewed and try to persuade him to tell us the truth,” they said in a statement.
Detectives didn’t get a chance to fully question McClung in 1986 because he moved to Arizona shortly after Denise disappeared.
He returned to Connersville about four years ago.“He was a person that we had wanted to speak to in re-evaluating the case,” Laughlin said.
At a court appearance in early September, Denise’s mom remembered when she saw him: “His eyes were blank, like had no soul.
"McClung passed away Saturday after spending about a week at an Indianapolis hospital dealing with an undisclosed illness.
“We were very disappointed that he didn’t give us the information we wanted but are hopeful that his attorney may be authorized to reveal more information after his death,” the Pflum family said.
The community helped raise $100,000 for a reward to finally give the family closure.“Until we find Denise Pflum’s remains, this investigation stays open.
We want to give the family closure, and we have some things we’re going to continue to look into,” Laughlin said.
The lawyer representing McClung said he is working with the Fayette County prosecutor and sheriff’s department to release more information and evidence from McClung.
Laughlin and Det. Chad Blaes believe someone else knows what happened to Denise Pflum and continue investigating and asking for any tips.
The Fayette County Sheriff’s Department can be reached at 765-825-1110 if you have any information about the case.
Mja Inc Staff