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Shannon Sherrill 6 years old:Missing Since 10-5-1986-INDIANA

Posted by Mja Inc Investigations on December 5, 2009 at 5:35 PM


Mja Inc Investigations

Shannon Sherrill

Mja Case File I.D.-SMS--055

Mja has been working on the Sherrill Case since November 2003 on behalf of Mike {Shannon's Father} & his wife Becky Sherrill..


On 11-30-2005 Becky Sherrill stated to the Frankfort Times the text below:

"' Becky Sherrill said when she and her husband first received the offer from MJA Inc. to investigate the case, they called the Indiana State Police to confirm the company’s legitimacy.

“We had him checked out,” she said, “and found out they are on the level.They’ve been very helpful and have come up with a lot of things.”


When Mja met with Mike & Becky Sherrill the first time our goal was set in stone..Beyond anything else our goal was to locate Shannon Sherrill..The Sherrill Family & Mja started their investigation into the Disappearance of Shannon Sherrill..Shannon's case was always ruled a " Stranger Abduction "..

Mike & Becky Sherrill & Mja always knew there was a Texas connection because the State of Texas requested Shannon's Parents DNA..

What our investigation un-covered is just chilling..

Please follow the media stories below:



11/30/2005 10:23:00 AM

Frankfort Times

Coldcase investigation firm, MJA Inc. of Champlain, N.Y., is looking into the 1986 disappearance of Thorntown girl, Shannon Sherrill.

The company seeks information about a Clinton County woman known to have driven a white, four-door Dodge Aspen and often cruised the county roads on Sundays. She likely would be in her late 50s or early 60s.

Please contact the company by calling (765) 475-3124 or sending e-mail to [email protected]


Frankfort Times


Fresh Eye on Cold Case Opens New Possibilities

Clinton County Woman Sought

A team of cold case investigators from upstate New York has volunteered its services in the unsolved case of Shannon Sherrill, who went missing Oct. 5, 1986, from her Thorntown home.

The team believes an unidentified Clinton County woman may have information that could help.The investigators are requesting help from area residents in findingher.

Mark Harper,founder of MJA Inc. of Champlain, N.Y., said that friends told him about a chance meeting they had with a woman in late September 1986 after their vehicle broke down at the intersection of State Road 29 andU.S. Highway 421.

The woman claimed to be a recreational Sunday driver, who toured county roads in her four-door, white Dodge Aspen while her husband tended their farm. Her car’s license plate bore a“12,” leading Harper to believe it was registered in Clinton County.

The woman, whom he calls “just a piece of the puzzle,” stopped and offered the hitchhikers a ride to their Burlington home, he said.

“During this time, the woman was telling the hitchhikers the stories of things she’d seen on the road while she cruised every Sunday,” he said. “If she was cruising on Oct. 5, 1986, we want to see if by chance she might have seen something that might help us.”

Harper describes the mystery woman’s appearance then as about 5-feet 5-inches tall, medium build with shoulder-length brown hair. She appeared to be in her early 40s. Today,she could be close to 60.


“We know it’s a longshot,” Harper said of his search for the woman, “but you never know.”


The daughter of Mike Sherrill of Kempton and Dorothy Sherrill of Thorntown was 6 years old when she disappeared.An extensive search involving hundreds of volunteers and police officers followed, but no trace of the girl ever turned up.


If Shannon is still alive, she would be 25.


In July 2003, the Sherrills were targets of a hoax by a Topeka, Kan.,woman, Donna Walker. After learning of the Sherrills on the Internet,Walker called them claiming to be their missing daughter.


Mike Sherrill said he had believed Walker’s story, and every day of the week long ordeal asked the police, “When are we going to go get her?”


His current wife, Becky, calls the event “the most horrid, awful thing.”


The story dominated the national news for days and is what snagged Harper’s attention. He has been involved since November 2003. He does not charge for the company’s services, working strictly for reward money.


Becky Sherrill said when she and her husband first received the offer from MJA Inc. to investigate the case, they called the Indiana State Police to confirm the company’s legitimacy.


“We had him checked out,” she said, “and found out they are on the level.They’ve been very helpful and have come up with a lot of things.”


Harper,who handles the investigative work as a sideline to his 40-hour-a-week factory job, visited Central Indiana last April.

At that time, Channel 6 of Indianapolis broadcast information about his search for the mysterious Clinton County woman. The TV exposure produced 12 calls.


“It didn’t get us where we wanted, so the next thing, let’s go to a local paper,” he said.


The Sherrill case is 19 years old, but it is not dormant, Harper said. Although he is not privy to the police files, he said law enforcement officers do offer him assistance.


The investigation has turned up some new facts, renewing the family’s hope, Harper said.


“There are some people who are very excited with what’s happening now,” he said.


Harper acknowledged that Clinton County is the site of another unsolved missing person case. Brandy Wilson disappeared June 4, 2002, from her rural Colfax home.


Although he declined to comment further, he did say the case could merit his attention the next time he returns to Central Indiana.



Officer of the Month - July 2003

Detective Gary Sweet, of the Crimes Against Persons Unit, was honored as the July 2003 Officer of the Month by the Garland Rotary Club and the Garland Police Department for outstanding investigative work. 

Detective Sweet was nominated for the award by his supervisor, who wrote the following justification:  On November 3, 1987 an unknown white male abducted Roxanne Reyes from Garland.  Roxanne's body was discovered in Murphy, Texas several months later. 

Garland investigators conducted an exhaustive investigation after the abduction and were not able to identify the culprit in this incident.  During the month's prior to and after this incident, two small children were abducted and killed out of Mesquite and Plano.  At the time, it was felt that the incidents could be connected but it was never substantiated.  

In June of 2000, Detective Sweet received information from a Ft. Worth investigator that an informant from the Ohio State Department of Corrections had sent him a letter naming the killer of Roxanne. 

Det. Sweet met with the Ft. Worth investigator and several other investigators that had similar cases of abductions during and around 1987. 

While in Ft. Worth, the informant called and Det. Sweet was able to question him about the Reyes case and he had pertinent information that led Det. Sweet to believe that his information was credible..


Det. Sweet then started an investigation into the Roxanne Reyes file. Det. Sweet found that the person the informant named as the killer was in the existing Reyes file.

That person is David Penton. Penton had been mentioned in the file, but no connection had been made between Penton and the offense.Penton is at this time incarcerated in Ohio for the abduction and murder of a nine-year-old girl. . 

Det. Sweet started a working relationship via the phone with the Ohio informant. Det. Sweet was able to obtain more information linking Penton to this offense. 

Sweet also contacted Mesquite and Plano detectives and started working with them on their related cases..At first, the other agencies were not convinced of the information and Det. Sweet had to convince them that Penton was their probable suspect.. 

Over the next three years Det. Sweet periodically worked on this case..The investigation led Det. Sweet to travel to Ohio on several occasions. 

Det. Sweet and Detectives from Mesquite and Plano worked on obtaining evidence through search warrants, interviewing many prisoners who had celled with the suspect, listening to the suspects phone conversations in jail, collecting evidence from the cell of the suspect and his fellow prisoners and working with Prosecutor Greg Davis of the Collin County District Attorney's office..


Sweet along with Mesquite and Plano Detectives coordinated with Greg Davis who advised them on what he needed as a prosecutor to get a case to court. Sweet worked diligently to obtain and document information for the case.

Sweet put in many hours conducting a complete investigation on this case. After three years of investigation, the case of Roxanne Reyes and the cases from Mesquite and Plano were presented to the Collin County Grand Jury. 

The suspect, David Penton, was indicted for murder in this case as well as the ones in Mesquite and Plano.

It is felt that David Penton is not only responsible for these offenses, but information developed by Det. Sweet revealed that Penton could be responsible for similar offenses in other states... 

Detective Sweet should be recognized for his efforts in this case. He has done an excellent job in dealing with a long drawn out investigation that could have easily gone unsolved.

Sweet conducted himself in a very professional manner throughout the investigation and had to deal with many individuals that have been convicted for sexually abusing children and other unsavory prisoners.

He spent many hours in the uncomfortable atmosphere of a prison while conducting this investigation. There are not many cases like this that come to successful conclusion, and it is my belief that Detective Sweet should be applauded for his efforts..



Tuesday, October 06, 2009 Child killer ‘person of interest’ in 23-year-old Sherrill disappearance Rod Rose/The Lebanon Reporter




Boone County Prosecutor's Office confirms convicted child-killer David Elliot Penton is a person of interest in the disappearance of Shannon Sherrill and that one area has been searched in recent years.

The prosecutor alsotold The Reporter that a detective from the Indiana State Police coldcase squad has been assigned to the Sherrill case.


On Monday,the 23rd anniversary of 6-year-old Shannon Sherrill's disappearance,BeckySherrill,the wife of Shannon Sherrill's father said they received a letter from an informant.

Mrs.Sherrill declined to comment on the contents of the letter,citing the ongoing investigation.


Lebanon —The Boone County prosecuting attorney is acknowledging for the first time that a convicted serial child killer and rapist is one of several "persons of interest” in the 23-year-old case of the disappearance of a 6-year-old Thorntown girl.


David Elliot Penton is not a suspect, but he hasn’t been eliminated as the person who kidnapped Shannon Sherrill Oct. 5, 1986 as she was playing hide and seek at a Thorntown trailer park, Boone County Prosecutor Todd Meyer said Monday.


Despite intensive searches of the Thorntown area after she vanished, and determined investigation by local and state police, there is no definitive evidence a crime has even been committed, Meyer said. There is an “on-going investigation” into Shannon’s disappearance.


“At this point, I don’t believe this investigation reveals anybody to be a suspect,” Meyer said.


A detective from the Indiana State Police cold case squad has been assigned to the Sherrill case, Meyer said. He declined to identify the detective, saying he preferred that information come from the state police.


" We're going to have ameeting to discuss what,if any,is going to be done at this point,"Meyer said."We've done everything we can do and we will continue to do everything we can do to find a resolution to this case,"Meyer said.


Mark Harper ,a private investigator who is helping the Sherrill family,said Monday that Penton has been convicted of killing five children.

He was sentenced to life in prison for the 1988 murder of a Columbus,Ohio girl.He pleaded guilty to killing three girls in the Dallas,Texas area in the mid-1980s:Two of the three girls were raped.


Kenneth Dean,a reporter from the Tyler Texas Courier Times-Telegraph,interviewed Penton in 2007.


Penton served five years in a Texas prison after shaking his two-month-old son to death in November 1984,Dean said.Police believe Penton is responsible for three other child murders in rural Texas towns,Dean eported.


JUST A NOTE FROM MJA :" When Penton was convicted for killing his child he filed & was granted an Appeal Bond by the trial Judge..

Penton was FREE until Pentons Appeal was heard before a Higher Court..This is when Penton went on the run from Texas to Ohio making at least 2 trips back to Texas back to Ohio..Penton would take different routes each trip meaning he passed through several states along the way "..


Authorities think Penton could be involved in up to 50 child murders..An informant has linked Penton to the Sherrill case.

The informant tipped that Shannon's body could be found in Brown County-but didn't specify whether it was Brown County, Indiana or Brown  County,Ohio,said Becky Sherrill,wife of Shannon's father,Mike Sherrill.


Archeologists recommended by Stephen P Nawrocki,Ph.D,an anthropologist at the University of Indianapolis,performed a seach,Meyer confirmed.

He declined to release further details,saying he didn't want to reveal information that might jeopardize the investgation.


Authorities wouldn't tell the Sherrills when the search was done,Becky Sherrill said;she believes it was about a year ago.

Harper said that there is still  another location he and the family  believe police should search.He said if the informant is correct,it is likely something would be found." Penton  knows where he puts all of his victims," Harper said. " He's that type  "


Told the ISP was launching a cold case squad,Becky Sherrill said, " Oh my gosh;thats what we've been hoping for " Retired ISP Detective Lt. Jeff Heck devoted the last year of his career to the investigation,Sherrill said." He worked so hard " Heck delivered a six-inch-thick case file tothe prosecutor when he retired.


The family received an unexpected letter from the informant Monday,Sherrill said.It was the 23 anniversary of the child's disappearance.Contents of that letter and other facts about the investigation are being withheld by the family at the request of investigators.


Last year slightly more than 778,000 persons were formally reported missing in 2008,according to the FBI.Less than 1 percent were children abducted by strangers.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children said about 115 of the 58,000 children it estimates are annually kidnapped by strangers are killed,held for ransom,or intentionally kept.Thousands more are never found.


The Sherrill family's hopes that Shannon had been found were cruelly elevated and then crushed in 2003,when Donna Walker,a Topeka,Kansas resident,told them she was their missing daughter.

Authorities in Kansas and Boone County determined Walker was lying;she pleaded guilty but mentally ill to felony attempted identity deception and misdeneanor lying to police.After nine months in jail,she was released and reportedly returned to Kansas.


Published: October 06, 2009 10:09 pm


Authorities remain frustrated in cold case

ISP detective joins in 23-year-old Shannon Sherrill disappearance mystery

By Daniel Human

Tribune staff writer

The frustration was undeniable Tuesday.


It has been more than 23 years since Tipton resident Mike Sherrill’s daughter, Shannon, disappeared while playing in her mother’s front yard in Thorntown in Boone County.


Three years ago, police obtained a letter from an Ohio prison informant that led to a “person of interest”— a man whom some remain adamant killed the girl — after the Oct. 5,1986, disappearance of Shannon Sherrill.


But there have been no arrests, no charges and little headway since.


“I don’t really want to get my hopes up over too much,” Mike Sherrill said Tuesday.


Twenty-three years after the disappearance, a cold case detective with the Indiana State Police has joined in the investigation.


State police Lt. Scott Schuh said Tuesday Master Trooper Detective Tom Littlefield, a 21-year veteran of the force, has joined in the investigation. The previous detective, Lt. Jeff Heck, retired in 2007.


“Littlefieldis basically the last cold case guy we have, and he does a lot of other things,” Schuh said. “He just got the case and it’s going to take probably two or three months for him to get a chance to digest it, look at it. ...

A lot of times you get these cases and they’re in two great big boxes, and the first thing he’s got to do is organize it and drawup a timeline and things of that nature. It’s very time-consuming.”


Boone County Prosecutor Todd Meyer, who has worked on the case for eight years, said the cold case investigation would add a new perspective.


“Because of my feelings about this case, in that it’s awfully hard to turn your back on it ... I called the state police,” Meyer said. “They were in agreement to put a new detective on it.


“The cold case people are going to look at it and make sure no stone goes unturned. We’re ina holding pattern. It’s frustrating.”


The investigation yielded no arrests and few finds until 2003, when Mike Sherrill and wife Becky,Shannon’s step-mother, were contacted by a woman in Topeka, Kan.,saying she was their daughter. But authorities in Boone County and Kansas discovered the woman was lying. Her real name was Donna Walker.


The incident resulted in a nine-month jail sentence for Walker, and it emotionally crushed the Sherrills.


“The Donna Walker thing really did a number on us,” Mike Sherrill said,adding on that his family is beginning to recover from the let down.


In 2006, police received a letter that shed light into a possible abductor, but authorities disagree about the source’s credibility.


Mark Harper, a private investigator the Sherrill’s hired, said Jeffrey Sunnycalb, an informant at the Warren Correctional Institution in Warren, Ohio, told police David Penton was the man they wanted.


Penton,a convicted child serial killer and Sunnycalb’s former cellmate, is serving a life sentence after a jury convicted him of murdering an Ohio girl in 1988.


In his letter, Sunnycalb described Penton’s vehicle, which matches descriptions of one witnesses reported seeing in Shannon Sherrill’s trailer park the day she disappeared, Harper said.


Harper said MJA Inc. Investigations, his New York-based company, is tracking cases they’ve linked Penton to in 17 states.


Meyers aid he doesn’t trust information from Sunnycalb, who was indicted in1994 on charges of having sex with a 14-year-old girl and a 12-year-old girl. He was sentenced to 10 to 25 years on each count.


“If an answer’s going to be found, it’s going to be found through law enforcement efforts,” Meyer said.


Sunnycalb’s letter mentioned a body might be hidden in Brown County, but a search in 2007 turned up no results.


The letter was the last anyone heard from Sunnycalb about the case until earlier this week.


Mike Sherrill said he received a letter from Sunnycalb on Monday.


He would not discuss Tuesday what Sunnycalb wrote in the letter.


Sherrill had not turned the letter over to authorities as of Tuesday evening.


“I’m not sure what plan of action we’re going to take from here,” he said.“... I don’t put anything into anything. I’d hate to be let down like I was before.”


• Daniel Human is a Kokomo Tribune staff writer. He can be reached at (765) 454-8570 or at [email protected]


New Information in the Case of Shannon Sherill


4:09 PM EDT, October 6, 2009


His name is David Elliot Penton and he's serving life sentences in Ohio for the abduction, assault and murder of children in Texas and Ohio. Now he's been on the police radar in the case involving 6 year old Shannon Sherrill who disappeared from her home in Thorntown in October of 1986.

"There was a sighting of the vehicle that matched his in the area that day."

Retired State Police Investigator Jeff Heck never revealed that publicly until now. While working the case over a year, he interviewed prison inmates, one of whom detailed in a letter, statements Penton made about a little girl in Indiana.

The Boone County prosecutor today acknowledged Penton is a person of interest, but said the circumstantial evidence suggesting his involvement is not strong enough to argue in court or before a grand jury.

At Sherill's Restaurant in Tipton, Shannon's father, Mike finds it difficult to muster much hope regarding the latest development. In 23 years, he says he's been down this road before."

"There's not a day goes by that I don't think about my daughter."

In 2003 a woman came forward pretending to be Shannon Sherrill. When the truth came out, that his daughter wasn't alive, Mike Sherrill was not the same.

"After Donna Walker, I really don't want to get my hopes up on anything until they say they found her."


 WXIN-TV, Indianapolis


Published: October 07, 2009 11:02 am


Sherrill follow-up may take months

By Rod Rose/The Lebanon Reporter

Lebanon — It will take “months” for an Indiana State Police detective to review the police file on Shannon Sherrill’s disappearance, an ISP spokesman said Tuesday.


That member of the cold case team will neither be identified nor comment publicly until the review is finished, ISP First Sgt. David Burstin said Tuesday.


“We want him to have a totally clear head, to look at this from the bottom on up,” Burstin said.


That review “is not going to be days or weeks, it’s going to be months,” said Burstin.


Shannon was 6 when she vanished on Oct. 5, 1986, while playing with friends near her Thorntown home. No trace of her has been found.


Monday,Boone County Prosecutor Todd Meyer confirmed that there were several “persons of interest” in Shannon’s disappearance, including convicted serial child killer David Elliot Penton.


Meyer said he was“grateful” the ISP cold case team was reviewing the case. “These are seasoned investigators, who have a lot of experience, who look a tthings for a little different angle,” he said. “I’m hopeful it will lead us in a new direction — plus, they have the time. It takes a lot of time to sit and think and follow up on some things.”


An intense search for Shannon, involving dozens of officers and “literally hundreds” of citizen volunteers uncovered no clues, recalled former Boone County Sheriff Ern K. Hudson, now undersheriff of Larimer County,Colo.


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Mja Inc--Mark



Categories: Shannon Sherrill : 6 years old Missing 10-5-1986--Indiana