Thursday, October 18, 2007

Summer Shipp's Remains Found

Our love and prayers go to Summer's family during this difficult time.

My Fox News 4

JACKSON COUNTY, Mo. -- Thursday, police announced they have picked up a few more items in the search for evidence in the death of Summer Shipp. Investigators still need to analyze those items to determine if they are evidence in the case.

The remains of Summer Shipp were discovered Sunday when fisherman found her skull floating in the Little Blue River. Shipp had been missing for three years.

Investigators have brought out a team of 100 searchers, some on horseback. They've also brought in back hoes and sand trucks to dam part of the Little Blue River, to provide better access for excavation. And, they are planning to drain part of the river to search for evidence.

While law enforcement scoured a two to three mile stretch of woods, friends of Shipp put up a small memorial nearby.

"Every time we looked for the Porter children we also searched for Summer," friend Christine Stevens said. "We've got a nut out here somewhere, he needs to be captured."

The day after two fishermen found Shipp's skull, FOX 4 learned that a hunter has approached investigators about something he saw three years ago that's always haunted him. Investigators aren't saying exactly what but we learned it had something to do with chasing a man off from his hunting camp

"Someone did come forward, contact some of the Sheriff's deputies here on scene and said that he saw something and it wasn't specifically at this location but it was at another location having to do with the river," Rhonda Montgomery with the Jackson County Sheriff's Department said.

"Hopefully they can find some evidence to really get some closure on this," friend Janice Cogburn said. "She'll never have closure until we know what happened and when we can get this person behind bars where he belongs.

The discovery of Shipp's remains may refocus attention of Jeff Sauerbry. Three years ago police searched his house after dogs followed Shipp's scent to his door.

He was never charged but spent a year in federal prison for a parole violation and was released last December. His current whereabouts are unknown.

Shipp's family released a statement on Tuesday night, after officials confirmed that the remains were Shipp's.

"There are no words to express the feelings and emotions the Shipp family is experiencing after the recent news of the positively identified remains of our wonderful Summer," the statement on the website, Friends of Summer, said. "The family needs some time to absorb this. We dearly appreciate all the emails and phone calls received, and please keep them coming! They are so very comforting. Your emails to the family can be sent to and for any other inquiries, please contact the Independence Police Department at 816-325-7330."

The fishermen who made the initial discovery said they saw an object floating in the Little Blue River, retrieved it and saw it was a skull. They immediately called 911 from their location near M-78 and 7 Highways.

Independence Police said this case has always been a tough one for investigators.

"It does strike us right in the heart, but it is some form of resolution," Tom Gentry with Independence Police said. "So, it's up to us now. In fact, there's probably more work ahead of us than behind us."

Shipps' daughter, Brandy Shipp, waged a tireless campaign to find her mother after she disappeared three years ago. The search for Shipp garnered plenty of publicity, and her family raised $100,000 in reward money.

Brandy Shipp now lives in Amsterdam.


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