Family friend launches his own investigation into woman’s cold-case murder

Frustrated that Virginia Beach police haven’t solved a cold-case murder in 10 years, a father has launched his own investigation into who took his daughter’s life.

A family friend he calls “The Good Samaritan” has helped Bill Carson by logging hundreds of hours of research and investigation into what happened to Shellie Carson in the King’s Grant neighborhood in 2005. Shellie left her home to go to a 7-Eleven but never returned. Her body was found near a neighborhood traffic circle. Police have not made an arrest. And in responding to a NewsChannel 3 open-records request, detectives conceded they haven’t solved any cold-case killings in the past decade.

“My feeling is the Good Samaritan, the friend of mine, working with the police department could solve the case,” Carson says.

Carson, whose lobbying of Virginia Beach City Council helped form the city’s cold-case squad, says the one fulltime investigator and the two part-timers are not enough to tackle the more than 60 open murder cases, including his daughter’s. That’s why he accepted an offer from a retired man to dig into Shellie’s case nearly full time.

“The people in this community, Virginia Beach, know what happened,” said the family’s investigator, who asked us not to identify him to ensure his family’s safety. “There are some people who know what happened. That’s who we want to contact us.”

Together, the Samaritan and the father have kept Shellie’s name alive with events, fundraisers and a web site, justiceforshellie.com. On that site they say they correspond with people who may know what happened to the teen. They say they pass the tips on to police, but rarely hear back. In fact, Carson says most of his efforts have received a cool reception from authorities.

Carson said police once told him: “All these posters we’re putting around the city, and reward signs, are creating too many tips … and it would be hard for the police force to handle it. I couldn’t believe what I heard.”

The father says he wants police to open their files to his investigator – who would sign a secrecy agreement – to combine the resources. He says police have declined. When NewsChannel 3 asked why Beach police have not solved Shellie’s case or any other case in the past decade, a spokeswoman sent this statement: “While our investigators are working diligently to solve these cases, sometimes there just is not enough evidence to make an arrest,” wrote spokeswoman Tonya Borman.” In many cases there is no DNA or fingerprint evidence; in other cases, particularly very old cases, there are no new leads and everything that could have been done has been done.”

Carson believes there is still more that could be done, and he wishes police would work with his investigator..

“My feeling is the only way to solve this case is for those two to be melded together,” he said. “And I don’t understand why we’re not doing it.”

To learn more about Shellie’s case, go to www.justiceforshellie.com.

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