Monday, February 2, 2015

Historical Tidbit: The Bizarre Case of the Sisters Shelton

Sisters Debbie and Vicki with their parents Marcia
and James, years prior to Debbie's disappearance.
Have you heard... of the sisters Debora Lee Shelton and Victoria Lee Specials, who both went missing under suspicious circumstances, three decades apart?

It's true. In January of 1969, Marcia Shelton lived in Aptos, California with her three young daughters, Debbie, Vicki, and Melissa. Their father had been killed in a tragic car accident three years before. 

Debbie, a seventh grader, wanted to go out with some friends that morning. Her mother relented, telling Debbie to be back by noon because she had a dentist appointment. Debbie never returned. After taking one of the other girls to their appointment, Marcia returned home, expecting Debbie to be there. While waiting for her, the phone rang. A young voice on the other end said, "We have your daughter. We want $500. Drive out to Trout Gulch Road." Assuming it was a prank, Marcia hung up. The caller never called back. It was only hours later, when Debbie failed to appear, that her mother realized perhaps it had not been a joke. 

Undated pic of Debbie Shelton (Source)
She called the police, but many searches produced no clues as to her whereabouts. 

A week prior to her disappearance, Debbie told a church friend that she was interested in an older boy named Sherman, and played to see him that day with her friends. Unfortunately, neither the friend nor Debbie's mother had ever met this boy. No one seemed to know who he was, what he looked like, or even if that was his real name.

For sixty-nine days, Marcia waited and hoped. On March 8, 1969, the search came to an end when a boy out shooting his BB gun stumbled on the badly decomposed remains of Debbie Shelton. Her body had been there for at least a month. Because of the advanced decomposition, dental records were needed to ID the girl, and it was impossible to tell if she'd been sexually assaulted. Even the cause of death was hard to pin down, but it appeared she'd been strangled.

With few suspects and fewer leads, the case stalled. Over the years, Marcia would get periodic calls from law enforcement about a new person of interest, or would call herself to ask if anything new had surfaced, but the years failed to produce an case-closing results.

Marcia learned to deal with her grief, not letting it make her angry or bitter. She'd accepted that Debbie's murder would probably never be solved. 

Undated pic of Victoria Lee Specials
Thirty-two years later, Marcia's second daughter Vicki (Victoria Lee Specials) was 44-years old and still living in California. She'd told her mother that she'd recently ended a troubled relationship. However, her ex planned to go visit his mother for Christmas, and asked Vicki to come house sit and watch his dog. She agreed.

When Marcia didn't hear from her daughter for a long time, she went to see the ex. He told Marcia that Vicki had decided to go to San Francisco for New Years. A visit to her daughter's house, however, revealed a purse, I.D., and money left behind. 

Marcia called the police for the second time in her life to report her daughter missing. 

Young Debbie and Vicki together. (Source)
Vicki's body has never been found. Her mother believes her dead and is simply waiting for someone to stumble on her daughter's body somewhere in the world. The ex has been investigated thoroughly, but there is no sign of what happened to Vicki. 

Marci has opted to turn her daughters and their cases over to God.

"This is never very far from my mind, but I can't solve it," she said. "I have turned it over to the Lord. My grandmother used to say, 'God does not pay off on Saturday nights,' so I figure it is in his hands. He knows all things and it's not hidden from him."

For more details, see this Source.

Be sure to check out my crime fiction series, Street Games.

Book 1: Dark Remants, currently available from Amazon and other major retailers. 

In the most dangerous city in the country, one controlled by a sadistic gang called the Sons of Ares, Kyra Roberts is searching the deep places for someone…
Kyra has come to Abstreuse city to find someone she’s lost, but walking the underbelly—a dark alley system residents call the Slip Mire—even in disguise, is rife with dangers. Kyra must stay on her toes if she intends to live. After crossing paths several times with the same detective, she wonders if his work and hers might be connected.
Gabe Nichols has worked homicide in Abstreuse for three years. Dead prostitutes and gang violence are part of the night shift. When a woman who looks like a street junkie but acts like an intellectual saves his life, he’s intrigued. Another woman shows up at his crime scene, and Gabe’s instincts kick into high gear when she clams up. Two cases involving strange women who won’t tell what they know are too coincidental.
If Gabe and Kyra can’t find a way to collaborate, they may not live to see the sunrise. Doomed, like so many others, to become gray, unmarked graves in a forgotten fracture of the Slip Mire.

Book 2: Desolate Mantle, coming in February.

In the most dangerous city in the country, one controlled by the sadistic Sons of Ares gang, Kyra Roberts recently crossed paths with detective Gabe Nichols. She dismissed any liaison with him as impossible, but telling him the truth may prove inevitable...
Walking the Slip Mire nightly, dressed in her disguise and trying to infiltrate a homicidal gang, Kyra sees plenty of things she can’t explain. When she begins to suspect a serial killer might be at work, she decides to approach Gabe again.
Gabe has plenty to keep him busy: a bizarre missing persons case, a new development in his brother’s cold case, a new neighbor, and the grisly murders that are a nightly ritual in the Slip Mire. When Kyra shows up unexpectedly, he jumps at the chance keep her around, but it’s harder than he bargained for. She’s not an average source any more than she’s an average Mireling. Gabe wishes she would be sensible about her own safety.
Their partnership crumbles, but when things become even darker than usual in the Slip Mire, they’ll need one another get survive a hellish situation. If they can’t work together to shoulder their burdens, they’ll find themselves utterly alone. In Abstreuse, it’s not a matter of not coming out of the darkness, but of being absorbed by the darkness itself…

What do you think of the cases of these two sisters? Does anything (physical, non-physical or metaphysical) connect them?


  1. What a terrible tragedy to lose two daughters in such a manner.

  2. 2 confirmed deaths and a supposed third in one family....maybe the police need to look closer to home.