Left and Center: Shannon circa, 1986
Right: Age Progressed to age 38
Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance
Missing Since: October 15, 1986
Missing From: Thorntown, Boone County, Indiana
Classification: Non-Family Abduction
Date Of Birth: August 12, 1980
Age: 6 years old
Height and Weight: 3’0″ and 30 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian Female, Brown hair, Blue eyes, Shannon has a scar with a length of 4 inches on her abdomen and both of her ears are pierced, Shannon was known to be very shy at the time of her disappearance
Clothing/Jewelry Description: A white sundress with blue trim
NCMEC Number: 601901
Details of Disappearance
Shannon Sherrill disappeared from Thorntown, Indiana on October 15th 1986. She was last seen at her family’s trailer home in the 600 block of Plum Street at approximately 1:30 pm. She was playing a game of “Hide N Seek” with approximately 10 other children. Shannon went behind her trailer and disappeared. The child has never been seen again.
Shannon has disappeared in a matter of minutes after her mother, Dorothy Sherrill, had last seen her. She said she went outside to ask Shannon if she would like lunch and she was nowhere to be found. Extensive searches took place all day and through the night. People searched through neighborhoods, parks, and abandoned buildings as well as various areas of Boone County. Nothing was ever found to indicate where she was.
Bloodhounds were used in the search for Shannon, they traced her scent to a nearby cornfield and cemetery and the trail was lost at that point. The day she vanished was warm but during the night the temperatures dropped to the 40s.
Authorities believe it’s likely Shannon was kidnapped. In December of 2006, Jeffrey L. Sunnycalb sent a letter to investigators regarding Shannon’s disappearance. He claimed that he had information about the girl’s disappearance. He was sentenced to a 50 year sentence for the rapes of two children in 1995. He was accused of having sexual intercourse with his 12 year old niece and another 12 year old girl. The rape started in 1992. Investigations planned to interview him regarding her disappearance. He has not been named as a suspect in the case.
He is known to provide credible information on unsolved cases. He once sent tips which led to the indictment of a suspected serial killer, David Penton, who is suspected of killing several missing children.
In July of 2003, a woman called and emailed Shannon’s family abduction claimed to be the missing child. She sent various pictures of herself. Shannon’s family initially believed the claims to be true. It turned out to be a hoax and the woman was identified as 35 year old Donna Lynette Walker. She was from Topeka, Kansas. She was charged with a dozen felony counts of identity deception and false informing. She accepted a plea agreement for the charges in 2004 and was sentenced to 18 months in prisons after pleading guilty but mentally ill to felony attempted identity deception and misdemeanor false reporting.
About 10 of the charges against Walker were dropped and she served 9 months in prison before she was released on probation.
At the time of her disappearance, Shannon lived with her mother and younger brother and was a kindergarten student at Thorntown Elementary School. Her parents divorced prior to her disappearance and she lived between her mother and father. Her father, Mike, was last known to be living in Tipton, Indiana. Both of her parents were given polygraph exams and were ruled out as suspects in the initial investigation into Shannon’s disappearance.
Shannon’s disappearance remains unsolved and there are currently no strong suspects in her case.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Thorntown Police Department 317-436-7677
Federal Bureau of Investigation 202-324-3000