This week’s featured missing person is Shep Deon Leonard, a young man who vanished mysteriously from Sylacauga, Alabama five years ago. It’s like he woke up, got out of bed, walked out of his house and into a void. He left the lights and the heat turned on.
Shep’s car turned up in a Wal-Mart parking lot in Chelsea, Alabama, a half-hour’s drive from Sylacauga. It seems unlikely to me that it was him that drove it there. Sylacauga has its own Wal-Mart, so why drive all that way to visit another one?
The most recent news I could find for the case was from last year. The article notes that Shep’s phone sent a text message from Talladega, Alabama — also about half an hour from Sylacauga, but not in the same direction as Chelsea — just saying “I’m here.” And that was the last sign of him. I wonder if he even sent that text himself or if someone else sent it trying to throw the cops off the trail.
Google Maps says both Talladega and Sylacauga are quite close to the Talladega National Forest, which covers 392,567 acres spread over eleven counties. I wonder if Shep’s body is in there somewhere. If you have to get rid of a body and quickly, a nearby national forest seems like as good as a place as any. But if he was murdered, why? And who did it?