Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Unsolved Murder Spotlight: Shondra May

Shondra May. Handout/Family photo.

On February 4, 1986, 17-year-old Shondra May disappeared. Her ’85 Isuzu was found less than 100 yards away from her home in Scott County, Miss., its door ajar. Shondra’s purse and belongings were in the car–the only thing missing was her driver’s license. A path of three footprints in the snow led out of the vehicle and then abruptly stopped. Three weeks later, on February 26, Shondra’s body was found, naked, bound with tape, and wrapped in garbage bags, floating in Baker Creek outside Bolton. It was her 18th birthday.

Because her body was badly damaged after being submerged in water for 3-5 days, authorities could not confirm the exact day of Shondra’s death. However, it is believed she lived for about 17 days after she disappeared. Pathologists determined she was raped, strangled and hit on the head with a heavy object.

On the day of her disappearance, Shondra left the Leake Academy, where she was a senior, and drove 13 miles to the town of Forest to her job at McDonald’s. Before leaving work shortly before 8 p.m., she called her mother from the restaurant’s phone to let her know she was on her way. Before going home, Shondra stopped at the TG&Y variety store and bought a large Valentine’s day card, possibly for her boyfriend, Tony Adams, 19, who lived in Edinburg 27 miles away. When Shondra didn’t come home, her family began to worry. A quick search quickly turned up her abandoned car.

Shondra’s father, Richard, and her boyfriend were questioned but later cleared. A more promising suspect was Kenneth McLain, who was suspected of posing as a police officer to pull over and kill Lori Hill, 18, of Ellisville, Miss., in 1993. McLain was also questioned in the murder of Chanda Fehler, 24, whose abandoned car was found in the parking lot of a community swimming pool in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Her nude body was later found floating in the Black Warrior river, bound with wire. Though McLain remains a suspect in the May and Fehler cases, there has not been sufficient evidence to indict him.

Now, more than 25 years later, Shondra’s murder remains unsolved. Though a few detectives are still working on the case, the lack of DNA evidence and the possibility that evidence was botched during the removal of Shondra’s body from the creek, makes the likelihood of the case being solved very slim.

More Unsolved Murders

Thanks to reader Susan 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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