Shannon Paulk

Could it be possible that these three cases are connected? Could they have been committed by the same person? Is there a serial killer he takes 11 year old girls from trailer parks in the August 15–19 time period, exactly two years apart? Investigators into each of the three disappearance are starting to question whether there is a pattern and if the three cases are connected. It appears that the same man may have committed the three crimes.

Shortly after America’s Most Wanted profiled the murder of Shannon Paulk, an AMW tipster came through with a great lead. She remembered an attempted abduction of a little 10-year-old girl from a trailer park in Lexington County, S.C. eight years ago: the man drove a grey pick-up truck with a toolbox, water cooler, and ladder in the back, and had a large mole under his right eye. Luckily, the little girl got away and was not harmed.

During this time, Shannon’s mother, Marie Paulk, received a phone call from a man who admitted to murdering Shannon. The man then proceeded to give graphic details of the different ways he had violated Shannon, and then how he killed her. Luckily, Marie played it cool and contacted Det. Furlong so the call could be recorded.

Det. Furlong traced the call to a hospital in Lansing, Mich. and worked with police there to discover the identity of the mysterious caller. They determined that the man did not kill Shannon, but was merely having fun by causing Marie emotional pain. Unfortunately, harassing a victim is a misdemeanor, so it hasn’t been determined yet how much of a punishment the man will get. Det. Furlong is in the process of lobbying for laws to be changed so that people cannot harass victims so freely.

One Bad Turn Leads To Another

Outgoing 11-year-old Shannon Paulk was used to wandering around her Candlestick Trailer Park neighborhood. She considered everyone in the community to be an extended part of her family, and would often go into her neighbor’s trailers to watch TV, grab a snack, and wait to greet them when they got home. To Shannon, no one was a stranger and everyone was a friend.

On August 16, 2001 Shannon finally met a stranger. At around 2:30 p.m., two of Shannon’s friends were on a walk through the trailer park, when they saw Shannon talking to an unfamiliar man. Nearby was a white, four-door car, with red clay mud on the back. They went up to talk to Shannon, but she didn’t introduce them to the newcomer, so they figured she didn’t really know him very well. The girls talked briefly, then parted ways. When Shannon’s friends passed by again half an hour later, Shannon, the mysterious man, and the car were all gone. Shannon was never seen again.

The strange man had a large mole underneath his right eye.
Never Knew A Stranger
Police believe the mole underneath the suspect’s right eye could be the key clue to identifying him.

Local and federal police and neighbors formed “Shannon’s Task Force,” to help find Shannon. The two girls who saw the mysterious man talking to Shannon came forward and gave police the description of a man aged 35 to 45 years, about 5’11” to 6’0″ tall, with a medium beer belly, muscular hairy arms, and blond hair with gray streaks. A huge characteristic was a large, protruding mole underneath his right eye. Two mole hairs were growing out of the mole towards his nose.

After weeks of searching, Det. Robert Furlong of the Prattville, Ala. police department still had no new leads. Then, two months later, Det. Furlong got the call he had been dreading. Shannon’s body had been found in the woods, discovered by rabbit hunters.

The case had been upgraded from a missing child to a murdered child, and Det. Furlong was more determined than ever to find who did it. But a large amount of determination doesn’t necessarily lead to results. After a while, the leads dried up, and Det. Furlong felt no closer to solving the case.

On August 19, 2003, only a few days after the two year anniversary of Shannon’s disappearance, he sat down to watch the local news and became very alarmed. The newscast said that in Northport, Ala., only 45 minutes away from where Shannon disappeared, an 11 year-old girl went missing from her trailer park home. Heaven LaShae Ross left home after her older sister to walk the 100 yards to the bus stop. She never made it to the bus stop.

Heaven LaShae Ross

(Photo Of Heaven LaShae)

Heaven was a sweet little girl who loved to roam freely around the trailer park, and never knew a stranger.


Det. Furlong immediately called the lead investigator, Terry Carroll of the Northport Police Department, and arranged to meet face-to-face and compare notes. What they found couldn’t pass for just mere coincidence. Both Heaven and Shannon were 11-years-old, youngest daughters, from suburban trailer parks outside major cities, and lived near wildlife refuges and active construction sites. Despite the laundry list of similarities, police couldn’t determine if there was a direct connection because Heaven Ross was still missing.  The detectives knew they couldn’t discount the fact that she might still be alive.

Three years passed, and the cases cooled down. Then in January of this year, Det. Furlong was flipping  through a law enforcement magazine when he found a bulletin for a missing 11-year-old girl from Twiggs County, Ga. If this girl was from a trailer park, they could have another connection.

Teresa Dean went missing from her trailer park home on August 15, 1999 — almost exactly two years before Shannon. Teresa lived in a suburb of Macon, near a wildlife refuge and construction sites. She was a small girl with slight learning disabilities and a lisp. Neighbors would often find Teresa on their sofas or on their doorsteps waiting to welcome them when they came home. The day she went missing, Teresa went to her neighbor’s house to look at some puppies. Her neighbor told her that if she caught a puppy, she could take it home, so Teresa headed back home to get her brother to help her. She never made it home, and hasn’t been seen since.

Teresa Melissa Dean

Cops believe there are too many similarities to ignore – all the girls were 11-years-old, from trailer parks, youngest daughters, very outgoing and social, lived in suburbs, and had wilderness refuges and active construction sites near them. Possibly the most chilling similarity is the fact that all the girls disappeared within days of each other exactly two years apart.

Investigators fear that if these cases are related, they could be hunting a serial child killer. The concern is that he might be an anniversary killer – someone who only hunts during a certain time of year. If this is the case, this killer strikes in August every two years. While no girls went missing in August of 2005, Det. Furlong fears he could have changed locations and struck somewhere else, or been put in prison for another crime. While jail-time might keep him from killing now, it won’t stop him from killing again when he gets out.

Just before Christmas 2006, cops in Tuscaloosa, Ala. found a body in an abandoned house. Evidence found around the body leads them to believe it is Heaven LaShae Ross.

Det. Furlong needs your help more than ever to catch the man responsible before he kills again.

  1. Jordan says:

    It is very possible that Detective Furlong is dealing with a serial killer. There is lot of circumstantial evidence to suggest a serial killer. The fact that all three girls share five attributes. I believe it is beyond coincidence that the victims share these attributes. The murderer most likely has a fetish for girls that age,height,sex, and living place. Another possibility is that the killer has dislike of girls that match the victims descriptions. I think that it is interesting that the suspect’s description is not well known. You would think that a person(or truck matching that description would be well noticed. I noticed that the detective does not have a lot of information on the third victim. I think the killer is some sort of handy man, hence the tool box and ladder reported being in the back of his truck. The red clay that was reported could be some sort of iron. Either if it is iron or some type of dirt with concentration of iron I do not know. In my mind the best bet would be to wait around the numerous trailer parks similar to where the previous three victims lived. The killer leaves no distinct mark. All the killer has to really identify himself is the description that the two girls gave, and his choice of victims. Hanging around trailer parks similar to where the previous three victims lived is the detective’s best bet to catch the killer.

  2. Anna says:

    Sounds by the suspect’s description that he works construction. Maybe Det. Furlong should consider going to the construction sites near the abductions. Could be a connection there. The kidnappings were not very far from each other so maybe this man travels from the different constructions sites where he works. Might be good to speak to the construction supervisors at these sites and see if anyone has gone to jail recently.

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