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Family in shock as search for missing woman continues

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Investigators are still looking for answers after finding a body in Pender County they now say is most likely not a missing Wilmington woman.

Family and friends of Shannon Rippy Vannewkirk say it’s back to square one after Thursday’s discovery.

“I was driving down the road when they told me. I had to pull off the road because I was basically in shock,” said Shawn Dayton, Vannewkirk’s brother.

In disbelief, Dayton says he had a momentary glimmer of hope his sister could still be alive after investigators told him Tuesday they found her remains in Pender County.

“Who would have thought they’d run across somebody else?” said Dayton.

But as reality sets in, he knows the chances of finding his sister still alive are extremely slim and the search to find her starts all over again.

“To have her gone again is gut-wrenching,” he said.

Other families with missing loved ones arguably lost faith when they heard the human remains found off of Hoover Road in Hampstead were not Vannewkirk.

“I knew last night was going to be a long night, and it was. Just trying to get families to just keep on task, keep on the course because it might not be their missing loved one. Let’s not get side tracked,” said Monica Caison with the CUE Center for Missing Persons.

Dayton says Wilmington Police are anything but sidetracked in trying to help he and his family get answers. He says the detective in charge of the case has called him every day with updates.

“He is taking it personally, like a family member I believe,” said Dayton. “That’s the way all of them seem to be going at it.”

Dayton says if investigators do not locate Vannewkirk’s body this weekend, family and friends will start their search efforts again on Monday.


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