Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Unsolved Murder Spotlight: Shannon Paulk

Shannon Paulk. Family photo/handout.

Shannon Paulk was 11 years old when she disappeared from her trailer park in Prattville, Ala., on August 16, 2001. For two hopeful months, Shannon’s family and friends clung to the possibility that the young girl may be found alive. But that hope was shattered when rabbit hunters discovered Shannon’s body in a forest 17 miles north of town. More than a decade later, the case remains unsolved.

Composite sketch of the man last seen talking to Shannon Paulk.

After her disappearance, Prattville police released a composite sketch of a man last seen talking to her. He is described as 5’11 to 6 feet tall and very tanned with creases around his eyes. He has a mole with two hairs under his eye, and the bridge of his nose looks as if it had been broken. His arms are muscular and hairy and his teeth are yellow and crooked. The man drove an off-white colored, four door, medium sized passenger car, and may also have driven a red Jeep.

Two similar cases in nearby cities drew comparisons to the Shannon Paulk murder, but police can’t be sure if they’re related because all three remain unsolved. On August 15, 1999, Teresa Dean disappeared in Macon, Ga. On August 19, 2003, Heaven Lashea Ross went missing in Northport, Ala. Dean’s body was never found; Ross’s was discovered in 2006. Like Shannon, both girls were 11 years old and were abducted from trailer parks in mid-August.

Anyone with information about the man in the composite image is urged to email

Thanks to reader Diana for suggesting this case. If you know of an unsolved murder you’d like to see featured on Crime Library, email us at

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