Saturday, March 2, 2013

Supreme Court denies Tyler Mook custody try

Two years after a Bedford County teacher went missing, her former husband has been told he will not regain custody of their child.
The Tennessee Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal of Tyler Mook and his parents, Jim and Kim Mook, who have been fighting for custody of Shelly Mook's daughter.
The Harris Middle School teacher was last seen at Tyler's home outside Shelbyville the afternoon of Feb. 28, 2011 as she dropped off their child, but her burned car was found that night near Murfreesboro. Authorities have stated Tyler is considered a "person of interest" in his ex-wife's disappearance.
Since Shelly vanished, the Mooks have sought to gain custody of the 8-year-old girl, who has been staying with her maternal grandmother, Debbie Sikora, in Pennsylvania.
Drugs alleged
In November, a state appeals court upheld the ruling of Circuit Court Judge Lee Russell, who found that Tyler "was unfit to parent the child," further stating Mook posed "a substantial risk of harm" to his daughter.
During a July 2011 custody hearing, "numerous witnesses testified to Father's history of illegal drug use, drug trafficking, violent behavior, and verbal and physical abuse towards Mother," court documents have said.
Appellate Judge Frank G. Clement Jr. wrote in his opinion last year that "the evidence clearly and convincingly demonstrated there was a substantial risk of harm" to Mook's child should she remain in his custody.
Clement ruled that Ms. Sikora "has established that she can provide a stable home," adding that her paternal grandparents, Jim and Kim, could also provide a stable home "if they were not in complete denial of Father's drug use and activities, the bad elements he regularly associates with, and his violent conduct."
Arson plot
Last month, Russell ruled it was not appropriate for Mook to resume "any form" of visitation with his daughter following accusations that Tyler and Kim had spoken to the girl about burning down Sikora's home, with the result being that the child would live with her father afterwards.
Russell had found the child's story credible after examining depositions from a Pennsylvania social worker, and the girl's counselor about the alleged arson plot, calling the testimony "remarkably consistent."
"(T)he magnitude of this tragedy cannot be overstated," Russell wrote in his opinion, referring to Shelly's disappearance, which investigators say is likely the result of foul play. Not only has the child lost her mother and has limited time with her father, the girl also had to move out of state, the judge stated.
A $20,000 reward remains in effect for information in the case. Call the Bedford County Sheriff's Department, (931) 684-3232, or the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, (800) TBI-FIND.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

2 years, no signs of Mook

Two years after the unsolved disappearance of Shelley Mook, the concern over the case is evident in the voice of Sheriff Randall Boyce.
"It's the most frustrating thing you can imagine," Boyce said Wednesday. "It's just eating at me."
The Mook case, as well as those involving two children missing after a Rover-area house fire last September and the fate of Shelbyville resident Bobby Smelcer, weigh heavily on Boyce's mind.
"The one thing that's eating at me, that we can't find Shelley Mook, Bobby Smelcer, Chloie Leverette and Gage Daniel," Boyce said Wednesday.
Mook was last seen two years ago today -- Feb. 28, 2011. The Harris Middle School reading teacher had left her daughter with ex-husband, Tyler Mook at his Nashville Dirt Road home and was en route to Murfreesboro to meet a maintenance man at her new apartment. She never arrived. Her car was found burned south of Murfreesboro later that night.
"We're pretty sure that we know what happened and who did it. We're 99 percent sure. We just can't find the body," Boyce said.
"We've searched every cave and sinkhole in Bedford County and most of them in surrounding counties. I think she's buried somewhere or there's even the possibility that she's been burned. We've had leads her body may be somewhere in Kentucky."
Investigation continues, Boyce said.
"We're still running down a few leads. The TBI is investigating the case but we're working on it, too."
Others missing
Smelcer was last seen in November 2011 in Shelbyville. His skull was found in Duck River west of Shelbyville last spring. City police are the primary local agency investigating the case but Bedford County is helping out, the sheriff said.
Leverette and Daniel were living with their grandparents, Leon McClaran Sr. and Mollie McClaren, in a Kingdom Road home which burned last September. No remains of the children have been discovered; the McClarans' bodies were recovered.
Officers also continue to seek Antonio Taylor, who has not been seen since 1999.
"We just want to put an end to all those cases," Boyce said. "If anyone else has information on either of those cases please give us a call."
The Bedford County Sheriff's Department can be reached at 684-3232.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Shelley Mook Still Missing - Father Can't See Daughter

The former husband of Shelly Mook, the Bedford County teacher who has been missing since February of 2011, has again failed to gain custody of his daughter through the courts.
In 2011, the car that belonged to Shelly Mook was found abandoned and burned just south of Murfreesboro on the Rutherford / Bedford County line. Directly after Mook’s disappearance, Tyler Mook gained custody of his daughter. A week later, the mother of Shelly Mook, Debra Sikora, gained custody of the child.
Prior to the mysterious disappearance of Mook, she and her husband divorced in 2009. During their brief marriage, Tyler allegedly submitted Shelly to domestic violence, according to court documents. After the divorce, Shelly received primary custody rights of their daughter. Approximately two years later, Shelly Mook and her daughter moved to Murfreesboro. Shortly after that move, she disappeared.
Ever since the disappearance of Shelly Mook, Tyler Mook and his parents have been fighting the mother of Shelly (Debra Sikora) and the courts to regain custody of his daughter. Despite his attempted efforts, he has not gained full custody of the child and documents suggest that he has had a past drug problem that might endanger the child. During an evidentiary hearing that occurred in July of 2011, “numerous witnesses testified to Father’s history of illegal drug use, drug trafficking, violent behavior, and verbal and physical abuse towards Mother.”
On Monday (2/25/13), The Supreme Court of Tennessee denied Tyler Mook and his parents from appealing the custody case in order to seek parenting rights of the child.  The little girl is currently living with her maternal grandmother in Pennsylvania.
As far as the disappearance of Shelly Mook goes, there are no new leads in the case. The TN Bureau of Investigation is still investigating. Although her body has not been found, law enforcement beleive that Mook is likely dead.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Custody battle heats up; mom missing since Feb. 2011

A judge is hearing testimony Thursday against an ex-husband whose Bedford County wife has been missing for almost two years.
Shelley Mook disappeared in February 2011 after dropping off her daughter at the home of her ex-husband, Tyler Mook.
In an order of protection obtained by the Channel 4 I-team, the missing woman's mother, Debra Sikora, says Tyler Mook gave her granddaughter matches, and told her to set the home on fire.
Shelley Mook's mother told the court on Thursday that her young granddaughter wrote, "I might kill you," on a dry erase board.
Sikora said she believes Tyler Mook is trying to turn the child against her and says the child brought a pocket knife and matches home after visits with her father.
Tyler Mook's attorney is denying all of those claims.
Investigators have said Tyler Mook is a suspect in his wife's disappearance, but he has never been charged.
Since Shelley Mook vanished, the couple's families have been caught up in a heated custody battle over the child.

Judge says visitation not appropriate

Friday, January 11, 2013
A circuit judge has ruled that "it is not appropriate" for a man suspected in the disappearance of his ex-wife to resume "any form" of visitation with his daughter.
Judge Lee Russell wrote Friday that after reading depositions entered into evidence during a day long hearing Thursday that "I have concluded that the child's story is credible."
Russell was referring to accusations made by the now eight-year-old daughter of Tyler Mook, who claimed that he and Kim Mook, the child's paternal grandmother, spoke to the child about burning down her maternal grandmother's home in Pennsylvania, with the result being that the girl would then live with her father.
Mook is considered a suspect in the disappearance of Shelly Mook, a Harris Middle School teacher who vanished in early 2011.
"Given the actions of the father and paternal grandmother, I find it is not appropriate to resume any form of visitation at this time," Russell wrote in a letter to attorneys. He said he would discuss "our future course" in more detail in his full written opinion.

Judge rules Mook cannot have visitation with daughter

A Shelbyville judge ruled Friday that a man who is a suspect in the disappearance of his ex-wife in 2011 cannot have visitation with his daughter.
The Shelbyville Times-Gazette reported Judge Lee Russell wrote in his opinion that "I have concluded that the child's story is credible."
Russell was referring to accusations made by the now 8-year-old daughter of Tyler and Shelley Mook, who claimed that Tyler and Kim Mook, the child's paternal grandmother, spoke to the child about burning down her maternal grandmother's house in Pennsylvania.
"Given the actions of the father and paternal grandmother, I find it is not appropriate to resume any form of visitation at this time," Russell wrote in a letter to attorneys. He said he would discuss "our future course" in more detail in his full written opinion.
Previously reported
The mother of a Middle Tennessee teacher who has been missing for two years says she received a disturbing threat from her own granddaughter.
That is just one of the allegations that a judge heard Thursday during a heated custody battle involving the family of Shelley Mook.
Mook was last seen in February 2011 at her ex-husband's home, and police later found her burned car in Murfreesboro.
While they have yet to find any trace of the middle school teacher, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation considers her ex-husband, Tyler Mook, a suspect.
Now, Shelley Mook's mother has custody of the Mooks' 8-year-old daughter. She claims in court the girl told her she was going to kill her after allegedly getting a pocket knife and matches from Tyler Mook.
Tyler Mook said the claims are absolutely false, but now the judge will decide who to believe.
Shelley Mook's mother, Debrah Sikora, said the girl left a message on a dry erase board saying: "I myt kil you that is ol I got to say."
After talking with a counselor, the child allegedly said Tyler Mook told her to light Sikora's house on fire by setting fire under a bed.
Tyler Mook is adamant it's a lie and said if the child had matches and planned to set the house on fire, the plan was her own in order to get back with her dad in Tennessee.
After the incident, Sikora took out an order of protection against Tyler Mook and his mother. She claims they violated it when two other family members, allegedly captured in footage by surveillance video, showed up at her door.
More than a dozen character witnesses for Tyler Mook showed up at the courthouse Thursday, including the mayor of Franklin County and Tyler Mook's pastor, but the question remains whether Tyler Mook should be considered a fit father or a dangerous one - the kind who would give matches to an 8-year-old and tell her to commit a crime.
The judge is expected to rule Friday morning on whether the order of protection will be allowed to stand.