Shannon VerHage
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~~ Update ~~

Marvin Gabrion has been apprehended and is being tried ... because the murder took place in a federal park Gabrion could get the death penalty.

A grandmothers heart wrenching story!

My name is Kim,

I live in West Michigan where most of this takes place.
This story is complicated.
I hope I can make it understandable.
In June 1996 we found out that my 18 year-old son was a father.
The mother was a girl we had never heard of before named Rachel.
She had just given birth to the most beautiful baby girl I have ever seen and named her Shannon.

Six weeks after Shannon was born Rachel was raped.
The "alleged" rapist is a man named Marvin Gabrion.
The police in the community Rachel lived in did not really believe her so nothing was done for several months.

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After the rape Shannon started spending every weekend with us.
In January 1997 Shannon came to live with us full time.
This was not because Rachel was a bad mother but because she was such a good one.
Her living conditions were horrible, because of problems with her family, and she wanted Shannon away from there.

A few weeks later Marvin Gabrion was arrested for rape.
We knew he had been arrested, what we did not know was that he had been released shortly after.
Even though Rachel wrote several letters to the prosecutor asking what was happening with her case, no one bothered to reply.
We also did not know that one of the witnesses to the rape, Wayne Davis, who was last seen in the company of Marvin Gabrion had vanished off the face of the earth.

Shannon lived with us until May 1997.
Those were some of the best months of my life.
You could never find a happier or more well loved baby than my "Shannon-doll". She woke me up every morning with her laugh.

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In May things were starting to turn around for Rachel.
Her father, whom she had not had much contact with in six years, was letting her move in with him and his new family. Rachel wanted the transition to be as easy as possible for Shannon, and for me, so she suggested that we do it very gradually. On the last day of May we dropped Shannon of to spend what was supposed to be the longest time yet with her mother.
We were to pick her up on June 4th.
On June 3rd I called Rachel to find out what time she wanted us to pick up Shannon the next day.
Her stepmother answered the phone and said "Haven't you heard Rachel eloped?"
Rachel had left her father's the previous afternoon with an unknown man. She said she would be back in a couple of hours.
She took just Shannon and her diaper bag.
The next day (same day as my call) her father received a letter saying that she was eloping and would be in contact in a couple of weeks.
I never believed it but the authorities treated me like it was a custody dispute.

Two weeks later another letter supposedly from Rachel came, this one post marked Little Rock.
It said they were doing fine and would be in contact when she had a permanent address.
Two weeks after that on July 5 Rachel's body was found.
She had never left the area.
She had been blindfolded, gagged, chained to cinder blocks and thrown into a lake alive.

There has been no sign of Shannon.
Police believe that a man named John Weeks picked up Rachel and Shannon in the beginning of June.
He has not been seen since mid June 1997 and is presumed dead.
Some time early in the investigation they learned that Marvin Gabrion had been using the alias, Robert Allen.

They captured him in October 97 in upstate New York when he went to a post office box registered to Robert Allen.
They discovered that he had been receiving Mr. Allen's SS checks.
It probably isn't going to be a surprise when I tell you that the real Robert Allen is also missing and presumed dead.
In July of this year Marvin Gabrion was sentenced to 5 years for SS fraud.

He has not yet been charged with Rachel's murder.
I don't know if that will ever happen.
None of the missing men's bodies have been found so he will probably never be charged with those crimes.
Since they have found nothing linking him to Shannon her name won't even be allowed to be mentioned at any trial if and when they ever get around to charging him.

I can't go into it but there is reason to believe that Shannon may still be alive.
They have suspicions and information but no evidence on the possible accomplices who are still alive and walking around free.
Rachel was seen up until June 5th, 1997.
Shannon was never seen after they left Rachel's fathers house on June 3rd. Investigators believe Shannon was with a baby-sitter.
Associates of Mr. Gabrion, who were close to Rachel and known to baby-sit for Shannon, left on an unplanned trip on June 5th, 1997.
They were gone for two weeks.
Police have not been able to find where they went.
They have refused to be interviewed.
It is not believed that these associates would harm Shannon.
But they would hide her to protect Marvin Gabrion.

Except for Unsolved Mysteries this case has never gotten any national exposure.
We haven't been able to get anyone interested.
If anyone has any ideas on how I could get the whole country to see Shannon's picture I would be very grateful.
The FBI recently did an age progression photo and I want it on every television in the country.

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Updates on this case can be found at:
Shannons Page

If you want a print out poster:
Poster

There is now a $5,000 reward for finding Shannon

If you have any information, contact the
Michigan State Police at:
(616) 652-1662

or
the FBI at:
(616) 456-5489

Or Silent Observer at:
(616) 774-2345


This page is made up with the express written permission of Shannon's Grandmother...you may reach her at:
KVerhage@aol.com

Anyone wishing to mirror this page or link to it is certainly welcome to do so.

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