Sunday, January 19, 2014

TBI confirms new leads on missing Bedford County teacher

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation confirmed they have seized new evidence in the Shelley Mook case.
Shelley Mook, 24, disappeared nearly three years ago.
Mook was a beloved 8th grade teacher at Harris Middle School in Shelbyville. On February 28, 2011, investigators said she went to her ex-husband's home to drop off their 6-year-old daughter. Later that night her car was found in a field, just outside of Murfreesboro. Police said it had been set on fire.
Mook was never found and investigators suspect foul play.
Her ex-husband, Tyler Mook, is believed to be the last person to have seen her alive. The TBI searched his home but he was never arrested. He's still considered a person of interest.
On December 27, 2013, investigators with the TBI seized the van of Tyler's neighbor. They have confirmed they're processing it for any possible evidence. The circumstances which led to the seizure is not being released.
Over the years, many searches and vigils have been organized by family and friends.
The last one was in the fall of 2012 when the TBI received new leads and searched for her in a rural area near a set of railroad tracks in Franklin County.
Shelley's mom, who lives in Pennsylvania, now has custody of Shelley's daughter.
A $20,000 reward is being offered for information leading to Shelley's whereabouts.
Anyone with information is urged to call 1-800-TBI-FIND.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

New Developments In Missing Persons Case of Former Erie Woman

There are some new developments in the case of a middle school teacher from our area, that disappeared in Tennessee.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation confirms that they are now examining new evidence in the case of Shelley Jones Mook.

She was last seen on February 28th of 2011, leaving work at Harris Middle School in Bedford County, Tennessee.

Investigators discovered her burned out car in a field.

We're told that investigators have recently seized a van owned by the neighbor of Shelley's ex-husband, Tyler.
Investigators say Tyler Mook is a person of interest in her disappearance. He's been a person of interest since early on in the investigation.

The FBI won't say how the van is connected to the case, but, they are in the process of gathering evidence from the vehicle.

Billboard reminds public of Shelbyville Missing

This billboard keeps the Bedford County missing in the public's eye, said Kristy Smelcer, sister of Bobby Smelcer.
(T-G Photo by David Melson) [Order this photo]
A newly-posted billboard across the street from Shelbyville and Bedford County law enforcement headquarters is helping give hope to family members of five missing persons.
"We're looking for a killer," Sherry Meeks, brother of Leon McClaran Sr., who died with his wife Mollie in a September 2012 house fire near Rover, said Thursday. The bodies of Chloie Leverette and Gage Daniel, who were staying with their grandparents, have not been found.

Lillie Buchanan, right, grandmother of Antonio Taylor, gets a hug from search dog handler Lois Alexander.
(T-G Photo by David Melson)
"In our opinion they were murdered. That's how we feel," she said, standing with sisters Mary Lamb and Karen Smith.
Relatives of Chloie and Gage, Bobby Smelcer, whose skull was found in Duck River in April 2012 after he was reported missing in November 2010, and Antonio Taylor, last seen in 1999, gathered under the Lane Parkway billboard Thursday afternoon.
They shared hugs and hope at what Kristy Smelcer, Bobby's sister, termed a "visual" event. The billboard also includes Shelley Mook, a Shelbyville teacher last seen in February 2011.
No Mook family members were present, but Smelcer said she'd heard Tyler Mook was attempting to gain custody of his and Shelley's daughter at a hearing Thursday in Pennsylvania, where the girl has been staying with a grandparent.
A van belonging to a neighbor of the Mooks on Nashville Dirt Road was being processed by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation's crime lab earlier this week, said a TBI spokesperson who did not release further details.
The families admit it's hard to not know the fate of their loved ones for so long -- but hope remains.
"Pray to God," Rochelle Adams, Taylor's mother, says when asked how she copes. "We just hope and pray that one day there will be some kind of closure."
Kristy Smelcer, an organizer of many of the events highlighting searches for the Bedford County missing, says "hope" gives her strength.
"The hope that we're going to get there -- find the rest of him and find out what happened, get resolution for my family," Smelcer said. "It's so different from death."
She's learned ways to cope since Bobby's disappearance in November 2011.
"At first it got the best of me," Smelcer said. "Now I've learned to balance it out. One thing that keeps me going is all the others that have gone missing."

Raising their hands in hope under the missing persons billboard are, from left, Rochelle Adams, mother of Antonio Taylor; Kristy Smelcer, sister of Bobby Smelcer; dog handler Theresa Compton; Mary Lamb and Karen Smith, aunts of Chloie Leverette and Gage Daniel; Lillie Buchanan, Taylor's grandmother; Sherry Hobbs, Leverette and Daniel's aunt; and dog handler Lois Alexander.
(T-G Photo by David Melson) [Order this photo]
Dog handlers from Bloodhound Search & Rescue of Clarksville attended the event. They say they've been working with area law enforcement in all the cases.
"We've worked all cases, even Antonio Taylor," dog handler Theresa Compton said. "We became involved in Bedford County right after Bobby went missing."
The group took part in 132 searches -- from missing persons to wanted criminals -- in the Middle Tennessee area last year, dog handler Lois Alexander said.
Those included at least seven in Bedford County including "three to four" searches for Smelcer, she said.
"In any search, clearing areas is as good as having an actual find as you close out the area," Alexander said. "You know they're not there."
Emotions felt by families of the missing are shared by searchers, Alexander said.
"The closure you bring the family is not one you can describe. It's euphoric," she said as she stroked Stozie, a Dutch shepherd.

Karen Smith, center, takes down information from the missing persons billboard as Mary Lamb, left, and Sherry Hobbs look on. All are sisters of the late Leon McClaran Sr., who died with his wife, Mollie, in a 2012 house fire and aunts of Chloie Leverette and Gage Daniel, the McClarans' grandchildren who were also in the home and have not been found.
(T-G Photo by David Melson)
Billboards, searches and special events are supported by the families to keep the missing in the mind of the public, they say.
"There are leads coming in," Smelcer said. "Every time we do a visual like this we get leads coming in.
"It keeps cases from becoming cold."
The billboard is funded by the Kristen Foundation for the Missing of Charlotte, N.C., which Smelcer says helps families of the missing across the country.
"Joan Scanlon-Petrouski (leader of the foundation) has never charged us a dime," Smelcer said. "Lamar Advertising gave us a huge discount on the billboard."
The Kristen Foundation is named for Kristen Modaffari, a Charlotte resident who disappeared while living and studying in San Francisco. Scanlon-Petrouski was a neighbor of Modaffari's parents. See for more details.
"We are confident the dedicated efforts of each and every one of these victims' families, combined with the diligent efforts of state and local law enforcement, will produce the leads we so desperately need," Det. Sgt. Brian Crews of the Shelbyville Police Department said in a press release.
"We also ask the citizens of Bedford County to keep each of these victims and their families in their thoughts and prayers throughout the year."

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

New lead in Shelley Mook disappearance provides hope

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - New leads are giving new hope to the family of a missing Bedford County woman. Shelley Mook disappeared nearly three years ago, and TBI investigators are now examining new evidence. The TBI is searching a van owned by the neighbor of Shelley's husband, Tyler Mook. Investigators say Tyler is a person of interest in the case. The search for Shelley Mook has taken years. People have been looking for the former teacher ever since her car was found burned in February 2011. There is now a new lead. "Anything that they find that may be of some evidentiary value, that is what we're looking for," says TBI Executive Officer Illana Tate.    The TBI won't say what led them to the neighbor's van, or how it might be connected.   It is good news to Shelley's mother Debbie Sikora, who lives with Shelley's nine year old daughter Lily in Pennsylvania. "It is very important for me as a mother, and for Lily as my daughter's daughter, to know where she is," says Debbie Sikora. Shelley Mook's case is important to many in Bedford County. There have been vigils and walks to make the public aware of this and other missing person cases. Jesse Julien has helped organize those events. "I'm hoping that this is going to be one of the breaking leads, and hopefully serve justice to someone," says Jesse Julien. TBI investigators confirm this case is open and active. "We want to leave every stone turned over to see what we can find, and this is just one of those things," says Illana Tate. Shelley Mook's mother hopes one day she'll know what happened to her daughter, and she believes this new lead offers a chance for justice. "And hopefully all of this will tie together and finally will bring this to a resolution," says Sikora. It may take several days for investigators to finish processing the van. Investigators tell us Tyler Mook has moved out of Tennessee and is now living in Florida. 

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