El Mirage funeral held for 16-year-old girl killed in 1992

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Date: 2011-04-05
Source: AzCentral

by Ian Sullivan - Apr. 5, 2011 03:10 PM
The Arizona Republic

After 19 years of being buried without a name, Shannon Aumock received a proper goodbye Tuesday from families and friends.

Shannon was buried at Sunwest Cemetery in El Mirage as family and friends gathered to mark the life of the 16-year-old, a murder victim whose unidentified body was found in a desert nearly two decades ago and buried in a pauper's cemetery.

Her distraught mother, Tawne Townsend, sat with her head bowed, tears in her eyes, quietly saying a farewell to the daughter she hadn't seen since she gave her up as a toddler.

Townshend, who was 16 when she had Shannon, couldn't take care of her daughter and turned her over to state custody when she was three years old.

"I've never forgotten her, not one minute of one day," Townsend said. "When I gave Shannon up, I wished she would have a better life than I could give her."

Instead, Shannon led a troubled life. She lived with foster parents for several years until they told Child Protective Services they could no longer handle her and didn't want her anymore.

Shannon ran away from group homes and foster homes more than 40 times, said Dave Stevenson, a former caregiver who attended Tuesday's ceremony.

"She felt that no one wanted her," Stevenson said. "She turned to the wrong people."

In 1992, a recreational cyclist found a badly decomposed body in the desert near 26th Street and Deer Valley Road.

Phoenix police believe homicide was the cause of death, but no one could determine who she was. No one reported her missing.

The body was buried in a Maricopa County cemetery for the poor in Tempe.

Nineteen years later, on March 22, a Phoenix police detective discovered her identity after combing through hundreds of reports of runaways, ultimately leading to Shannon's mother.

Now, police are focused on finding Shannon's killer.

Knowing who she is "may continue to generate more leads," said Barry Giesemann, a Phoenix police detective who was at Tuesday's service.

"Someone knows something and is not resting peacefully," he said.

Anyone with information regarding Shannon Aumock can call investigators at 602-262-6141 or 480-WITNESS.


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