Weatherford Democrat

Local News

October 31, 2011

Missing teen's remains found

MINERAL WELLS — Fifteen months since her disappearance, Shonda Townsend has been found. It was not the ending her family friends wanted, but the one they feared and expected.

Skeletal remains were discovered Thursday in a secluded area at the end of Sand Hill Road in the far southwest part of town. Palo Pinto County Sheriff Ira Mercer on Saturday confirmed the remains are those of Krishonda Townsend, missing since the early morning hours of July 5, 2010.

Positive identification was made through dental records. The 19-year-old Townsend wore braces at the time of her disappearance, and investigators’ first look at the skull instantly led them to believe they had found the missing teen.

Mercer said the remains were found Thursday afternoon “by a man who was looking at the property, it had a ‘for sale’ sign on it, and he was walking the fence lines and found it.”

Because of inclement weather Thursday afternoon, the scene was secured.

“We secured the scene all night [Thursday] night with an officer standing by and waited until the weather was better so we could actually get in there and do something,” Mercer said.

Interim Mineral Wells Police Chief Scott Mitcham said a search warrant was obtained so that a joint investigative team comprising officers from Mineral Wells, Palo Pinto County Sheriff’s Office and the Texas Rangers could begin examining the area Friday morning. Authorities hope a grid search of the area will yield some information or evidence.

Mercer said the 100-acre tract of land on which the discovery was made leads authorities to believe someone with knowledge of the area is responsible for dumping the body, left lying near a line of trees about 50 yards off the gravel-layered road.

“This is somebody local who did this,” said Mercer.

The remains did not appear to have been buried, he said, and as of Friday preliminary cause of death was available. A forensics examination will be conducted to see if a cause of death can be determined.

He said news reports Friday of the discovery of remains with suspicions they belonged to Townsend once again turned up chatter within the community. The difference for authorities now is that discovery of her body provides more focus to the investigation, allowing authorities to filter out many of the previous rumors and hone in on information and individuals that seem to now fit the new developments.

Mercer and Mitcham said they expect to once again bring in people of interest and review notes and statements to try and get closer to solving the case and making an arrest.

Mercer said the case has always been a priority for local law enforcement, though there have been very few tangible leads thus far in the investigation.

“Mitcham, my detective, Craig Goen, as well as several Rangers and Mineral Wells police detectives have worked on this for over a year now,” he said.

Mercer confirmed Townsend’s family was informed Thursday evening of the discovery.

Townsend was leaving a friend’s home in Mineral Wells in west Mineral Wells just before midnight on July 4, 2010. She and friends were reportedly at a nearby convenience store on U.S. Highway 180 West shortly before midnight, and they had visited a house nearby and saw several people. Now her body has been found in southwest Mineral Wells.

Her car was recovered the morning of July 5, 2010, in the 800 block of S.E. 3rd Avenue. There are indications Townsend or someone using her phone were north of Mineral Wells between the hours of midnight and 2 a.m. because activity from her phone bounded off a cellular tower in the Peadonville area during that time.

Mercer said the case has always been a priority for local law enforcement, though there have been very few tangible leads thus far in the investigation.

“Mitcham, my detective, Craig Goen, as well as several Rangers and Mineral Wells police detectives have worked on this for over a year now,” he said.

Rewards are offered for information leading to the arrest and indictment of the person or persons responsible for Townsend’s disappearance and death. Information can be provided anonymously at any time by calling Crime Stoppers at 940-325-0000.

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