• Back Road Mysteries Staff

Death of a Small Town Sweetheart: Shonrda Denise May

Updated: Jul 21, 2020




On February 4, 1986 Shondra May had attended her classes at the private school she attended in Madden, Mississippi a small town in mostly rural Leake County, and then clocked in for work at the McDonald's in Forest where she was employed around 6:00 pm that evening.


Because it was a slow Tesday night, Shonrda was sent home early and clocked out about an hour-and-half after the start of her shift. Around 7:40 and phoned her mother to say she was headed home and when Shondra's father called her mother a short time later, her mother expressed concern that the 17-year-old had not made it home.


Robert May instructed his wife Genell to call Shondra's uncle and have him drive the route she would have taken from Forest in the event she had car trouble on the fourteen mile drive, But when she opened the front door she discovered Shondra's car about 100 yards from the family's residence.


The car was sitting along the side of the road. There was no signs of a struggle and the drivers side door was ajar. Among Shondra's belongings in the car was her purse and a receipt for a Valentine's card. The card was not located in the car.


Shondra apparently had stopped off at a local variety store in Forest to purchase the card for her boyfriend, 19 year old Tony Adams of Edinburg. Adams attended the same school as Shondra.


As with most missing person cases law enforcement didn't treat it as such until 48 hours had passed losing valuable time and potentially losing valuable evidence. Since there was no evidence collected from the scene, law enforcement failed to collect finger prints or tire tracks.


Shondra's family had moved her car almost right away and parked it in its usual spot without realizing the car was a possible crime scene. The crime scene quickly became contaminated do to all the foot traffic as a result more evidence was lost.

Twenty-two days after Shondra went missing, an off duty fireman who was in the area on a hunting expedition came across "an object of suspicious nature" floating in the cold waters of Bakers Creek near Bolton in Hinds County.


The plastic garbage bag, which was ironically discovered on Shondra's 18th birthday on February 26, 1986, contained the remains of the young girl.


The location of the creek was about 80 miles from Shondra's home in Scott County.


The medical examiner determined Shondra had been bound and gagged with packing like the kind used in poultry easing processing facilities.


A second autopsy was ordered which determined the cause of death as strangulation, and revealed evidence of sexual assault.


The time of death could not be determined because it was unclear how long the body had been in the creek but the medical examiner estimated Shondra lived as many as seventeen days and that her body had possibly been in the water for 3-5 days after her death.


Over time leads came and went, a lot of people were questioned all of which went no where. Shondras father and boyfriend were cleared after in depth investigations were conducted.


At one point it was rumored that a police officer from a nearby town may have been involved and several members of local law enforcement took polygraphs in order to clear up these accusations.


William Kenneth McLain

Police later found several similarities to crimes which resulted in the questioning of Kenneth McLain of Brandon, Misssissippi who was been charged inn 1993 for the murder of Lori Hill, a resident of Ellisville,


She was pregnant and McLain was said to have stopped Hill while impersonating a police officer. Hill was strangled and her lifeless body was dumped into a creek. Tuscaloosa police also questioned McLain in the murder of Chanda Fehler, however charges were dropped from lack of evidence.


To this day, no one has been arrested or charged in the 34-year old abduction and murder of Shondra May.


Anyone who feels like they have information that might shine a light on this dceades-old case is asked to call the Scott County Sheriff Office at (601) 469-1511.


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