Not far from where police dogs lost the scent of a missing girl 18½ years ago, a team of private detectives walked through tall grass outside an abandoned farmhouse Tuesday, hoping to find clues to her whereabouts.
A man who calls himself Kaz surveyed the area. He knew what he was up against in the search for Shannon Sherrill.
A private detective who calls himself Kaz walks near an abandoned Thorntown-area farmhouse in his search for information about Shannon Sherrill's 1986 disappearance. He and other private detectives are donating their time to search for Sherrill, who was 6 years old when she vanished.
"We will be going through all this," Kaz said. "It's like trying to find a needle in a haystack."
The out-of-state team is donating its time to search for Sherrill, who was 6 years old when she vanished from the Thorntown area in October 1986.
Sherrill's father, Michael Sherrill, says he supports the effort.
"It's worth a shot," he told RTV6's Derrik Thomas
. "I'll try anything to find her."
Kaz said he is pursuing leads about a woman believed to have picked up three hitchhikers in the month Shannon Sherrill disappeared. He believes the woman might have information about the disappearance.
Kaz said he believes the woman, driving a white Dodge Aspen, picked up three people near U.S. 421 and Indiana 29 -- about 15 miles northeast of Thorntown -- and took them to Logansport.
"We know it's a long shot, but it is something we know about -- we know this woman exists -- so we wouldn't be doing our job if we didn't ... see if she saw something that might help us," Kaz said.
On Tuesday, Kaz and the detective team used dogs -- trained to find remains -- to search around the abandoned farmhouse near Thorntown. Nothing was found Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the wait for information goes on for Shannon Sherrill's relatives, who two years ago endured a hoax in which a woman claimed to be the missing person.
Authorities said that in the summer of 2003, Donna Walker, a Kansas resident, called the Sherrill family and claimed to be Shannon.
Investigators determined that the story was a hoax. Walker surrendered to authorities in late July 2003.
Last year, Walker pleaded guilty but mentally ill to attempted identity deception and false reporting. She was sentenced to 18 months in prison, but she was released less than a month later after receiving credit for time already served and good behavior.
Michael Sherrill says he's intent on finding Shannon.
"If she's here, I want her to know that I've been looking for her," he said Tuesday. "If she's not here, I want to put her in a place where I know where she is."
State police are aware of the private detectives' current work. Police say they'll pursue anything the team might find, Thomas reported.
Anyone with information about the Dodge Aspen driver being sought by the private detectives can call (765) 475-3124.
- February 2, 2005: Hoaxer, Missing Person's Parents Eye TV Appearance
- April 2, 2004: Woman Sentenced To Prison For Missing Girl Hoax
- March 30, 2004: Prosecutor: Plea Deal Reached With Hoax Suspect
- March 29, 2004: Possible Plea Deal Reached For Impersonation Suspect
- October 1, 2003: Officials Defy Ruling To Return Hoax Suspect
- September 25, 2003: Hoax Suspect Charged After Extradition
- September 23, 2003: Judge Approves Extradition Of Hoax Suspect
- September 9, 2003: Hoax Suspect To Get Another Mental Evaluation
- August 7, 2003: Indiana Officials Ask Kansas To Extradite Hoax Suspect
- August 7, 2003: Prosecutor Believes Walker Playing Another Hoax
- August 5, 2003: Lawyer To Seek Lower Bail For Missing-Child Hoax Suspect
- August 1, 2003: Walker Suspected Of Playing Adoption Hoax On Indy Family
- August 1, 2003: Indiana Officials Confident Walker Will Be Extradited
- August 1, 2003: Hoax Suspect's Bond Set At $100,000
- August 1, 2003: Hoax Suspect Surrenders In Kansas
- July 31, 2003: Suspect In Sherrill Hoax May Have Called After Announcement
- July 31, 2003: Father On Hoax: I Lost Daughter All Over Again
- July 31, 2003: Police: Claim In Missing-Person Case Was Hoax
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