Jane Doe Identified, Exhumed from Tempe Cemetery
Police hope it will give a voice to the silenced
PHOENIX - Nearly 20 years ago, she was buried as a Jane Doe in a cemetery for the unidentified. Late last year, the Phoenix Police Department's Missing Persons Unit reopened the case, and detectives were able to identify her.
Shannon Aumock was 16 years old when she was brutally murdered in 1992. Her body was found in a remote desert area near 20th St and Deer Valley Rd by an ATV rider.
She was found wearing a floral print shirt, blue jeans, and large pink-framed eyeglasses. At the time, all investigators knew was that she was a Caucasian female between 11 and 17. She could not be identified, and every time dental records were compared to missing persons reports, the search turned up fruitless.
"For the past 19 years no one has ever come forward to say 'I know who this girl is.' There's been comparisons with missing persons cases, but there's never been a match," says Missing Persons Detective Stuart Somershoe.
In December 2010, Phoenix detectives reopened the case and discovered a possible match.
"We reviewed 1,600 reports, it's a very slow tedious process of going through each report, reviewing them and then basically doing a background check on each person to make sure that they're alive," says Det. Somershoe.
They tracked down and contacted the victim's biological mother, who provided a DNA sample. Lab results in February 2011 showed there was a match.
Shannon's mother was 16 years old when Shannon was born. Three years later, she gave up her daughter for adoption, and a Flagstaff family took Shannon in, and eventually moved to Phoenix.
They took care of her until she was 12, and then turned her back over to CPS because of behavioral problems. She was in and out of foster homes until her death.
"Shannon was a chronic runaway between 89 and 91, she had been reported missing about 40 times and what really stood out is after 1991 there was no trace of her," says Det. Somershoe.
Tuesday at Twin Buttes Cemetery in Tempe, forensic investigators dug up Aumock's grave for further examination.
The investigation into Aumock's murder was never solved and is ongoing. Investigators are hoping new photos and the victim's identity will generate new leads in the case, giving a voice to the silenced.
"Everybody comes into this world with a name, they should exit with a name, and Shannon will now be buried with her name," says Dr. Laura Fulginiti, Ph. D, Forensic Anthropologist.
"The good news is she's identified, the bad news we still have a child murderer out there that we need to locate and punish him for this crime," says Det. Somershoe.