Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A year of tears, hopes

Today marks a milestone for the family of a popular eighth grade reading teacher at Harris Middle School who disappeared last year.
Shelley Jones Mook, then 24, had moved from Shelbyville to an apartment in Murfreesboro over the prior weekend, taking Monday off to finalize the move. Her mother, Debra Sikora had flown from Pennsylvania to assist her daughter that weekend. Shelley had dropped Debra off at the airport early that Monday morning.
She was last seen by her ex-husband, Tyler Mook, around 3 p.m. that day when she went to his house to drop off their 6-year-old daughter Lilliana, according to investigators. She had a 4:30 p.m. appointment with her new landlord, but never arrived.
Her Pontiac Grand Prix was discovered burned in Rutherford County late Monday night, just off Manchester Highway.
"Shelley Mook is an excellent member of the Harris Middle School faculty and well-liked by students and staff," said then-principal Bill Pietkiewicz at the time of her disappearance.
A mother's love
Sikora received the news of Shelley's disappearance two days later, and drove the 642 miles from Edinboro to Shelbyville to assist in the search for answers. Even as the sun came up, Sikora says she never expected the worst.
Sikora took a leave of absence from her job and moved to Shelbyville for several months last year as the investigation into Shelley's disappearance continued. After a custody hearing in the fall, Sikora returned to her home in Erie, Pa., with Lilliana who, according to postings on social media by family and friends, is adjusting well to her new school and surroundings. Attempts to contact Sikora for this story went unanswered.
Support appreciated
In an earlier interview, Sikora was appreciative of the support she received from the Bedford County community.
"I've met some fantastic people, however things turn out, we'll be hopefully friends for life. I'll remember always their generosity and support. To have come this far and endure all the trials that have come this way, the good days and the bad. They've been helpful."
Friends and family will gather this evening for a simple candlelit remembrance ceremony at a playground at Billings Park in Edinboro, Shelley's home town.
According to Kristen Helm, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation spokesperson, the case remains open and active.
Others missing
Shelley is one of three missing people in Bedford County. Antonio Taylor, then 21, has been missing since Sept. 20, 1999. Bobby Smelcer, then 52, went missing Nov. 21, 2010.
The three families have become close friends after a T-G profile last summer, and have joined forces to organize searches and prayer vigils for a group they now term "The Shelbyville Missing."
The reward for information concerning the disappearance of Shelley Jones Mook is $20,000. Contact the Bedford County Sheriff's Department at 684-3232 or the Tenn. Bureau of Investigation at 1-800-TBI-FIND.

It has been one year today since Shelbyville teacher Shelley Mook went 
missing. Police say the 25-year-old mother was last seen by her 
ex-husband when she dropped their 6-year-old daughter off at his home in
Shelbyville that day. Her car was found burned up 18 miles away from 
where she was last seen. Shelley was reported missing by her ex-husband 
on March 1 after she did not pick up her daughter. Police believe she is
the victim of foul play. No suspects have been named.

Search continues for missing Shelbyville teacher 1 year later


Tuesday marks one year since 25-year-old, Shelley Mook of Shelbyville was last seen.

Shelley has been missing since she left Harris Middle School in Shelbyville around 3 p.m. on Monday, February 28, 2011. 

Investigators believe she went to her ex-husband, Tyler Mook's home to drop off their daughter.

It is believed that Tyler Mook was the last person to see the young mother alive.

Shelley was supposed to meet a maintenance man at her new apartment in Murfreesboro after dropping off her daughter on, but never made it.

Her car was found burned out in Rutherford County later that night.

Now a year later, very little evidence has been found on Mook's whereabouts. 

Bill Pietkiewicz, assistant principal of Shelbyville Central High School, was the former principal at Harris Middle School, where Shelley was a teacher.

"We had no idea she [Shelley] would still be missing at this point," he told Nashville's News 2.

Mook's absence has been felt at the school since the day she was reported missing. 

"It's very much like a member of your family that's gone," said Pietkiewicz.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is continuing with the investigation, and is currently relying on the public's help for any information that may lead them to Shelley.

"It just takes that one piece of evidence or that one tip or lead or break in the case to be able to solve this," Kristin Helm with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation told Nashville's News 2. 

Investigators said that Tyler Mook is still considered a person of interest.

"Her ex-husband [Tyler Mook] is still very much a person of interest, he has never really cooperated with our agents as far as sitting down and giving them an interview about the last time he saw her," said Helm.

According to a Facebook page dedicated to finding Shelley, Shelley's mother now has custody of her little girl, and she is living in Pennsylvania.

A family spokesperson told Nashville's News 2, "Everyday we hold out hope that the person responsible will be held accountable."

A vigil marking the one year anniversary will be held in Shelley Mook's hometown of Erie, Pennsylvania on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Anyone with information should call the Bedford County Sheriff's Department at 931-684-3232, the Rutherford County Sheriff's Department at 615-904-3049 or the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation at 615-744-4000.