Wednesday, June 19, 2024
 July 19, 2023

Woman’s decomposing body found on porch, ending missing person case

In a shocking turn of events, a missing person case reaches a grim conclusion with the discovery of a decomposing body at a Lakeshore home, leading to the arrest of the homeowner. However, the case is far from closed as numerous questions remain unanswered.

In the peaceful neighborhood of Jacksonville, Florida, a chilling discovery was made that sent ripples of shock and horror through the community.

The decomposed body of a woman, unrecognizable due to the advanced state of decomposition, was found on the front porch of a house on Colonial Avenue.

The owner of the house, Shannon McCarthy, was taken into custody early Thursday morning, facing charges related to sending a written threat, News4Jax reported.

Public property records confirmed that the house where the body was found was indeed owned by McCarthy. The identity of the deceased woman was not immediately clear, but the circumstances surrounding the discovery hinted at a chilling possibility.

Heather Sheppard, who was known to be McCarthy's domestic partner, had been reported missing by her family just a week prior.

Domestic disputes and unsettling revelations

Sheppard's family had not seen her since the previous Thursday. While there was no official confirmation, the family received an early indication that the body found on the porch was indeed Sheppard's.

This revelation brought to light a history of domestic disputes between McCarthy and Sheppard, with court records showing that McCarthy had been arrested and charged with battery against Sheppard earlier in the year.

Sheppard had expressed fear for her life due to threatening text messages sent by McCarthy. She also reported to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office (JSO) that she was still dealing with injuries from a domestic assault by McCarthy.

Despite these allegations, McCarthy was scheduled to appear in court for the threats charges but did not appear due to an unspecified disease.

During the hearing, the judge indicated that the alleged victim in the threats case was dead. The final determination of the body's identity and the cause of death is expected to be made by the medical examiner.

Neighbors share disturbing observations

Neighbors of the couple reported a strong, foul odor emanating from the house in the days leading up to the discovery. Many were horrified to learn that the source of the smell was a decomposing body. One neighbor, Tommy Taylor, expressed his shock, saying, "I just thought there was a dead cat or a dead rat. It sort of kind of smelled like because I’ve never been around a dead body before."

The JSO confirmed that the unidentified remains were found around 3 p.m. at the home on Colonial Avenue. One person at the home was detained during what JSO called a "death investigation." It was also confirmed that Sheppard had stayed at the home where the body was found, and records and social media posts showed that she and McCarthy were in a relationship.

Before the quote from Mikayla Sheppard, Heather Sheppard's daughter, she said:

“Just make sure they know that she was loud and vibrant and loving and that she made me feel safe and accepted, wanted and beautiful. She had us so young and she tried to be the best mom she could. She deserved better than this. I love her and I will always love her. I am proud to be hers.”

A twist in the tale: The missing sister

In a surprising twist, the JSO confirmed that a woman with a connection to the home where the body was found, who had been missing since the previous Saturday, was found safe. The woman, Hailey McCarthy, is Shannon McCarthy's sister. Records show that Shannon had assumed care of Hailey after their mother's death in 2018, but Hailey no longer lived with her.

During one investigation, Sheppard told police that Shannon accused her of being the reason Hailey no longer lived with her.

According to a report from 2009, Hailey claimed she saw her sister beating up their mother.

The current whereabouts of Hailey and whether she was being questioned by investigators were not immediately known.

A woman who said she and Shannon dated in 2019 called the current situation bizarre and said Shannon moved to Jacksonville to take care of her sister Hailey.

Shannon is currently being held without bond and has court dates set for July 25 and July 27.

A daughter's heartbreaking farewell

Mikayla Sheppard, Heather's daughter, shared a heartfelt statement about her mother. Sheppard expressed her love for her mother and her grief at the tragic circumstances of her mother's disappearance and death. She also said, "24 [years old] is too young to not have a mom, especially in these circumstances."

She further added:

“I was so scared this would be the outcome but I hoped so much. I feel lost,”

The tragic story of Heather Sheppard's disappearance and death has left a community in shock and a family in mourning. As the investigation continues, many questions remain unanswered, leaving a chilling mystery in its wake.


  • A decomposing body was found at a house in Jacksonville, Florida, ending a missing person case.
  • The owner of the house, Shannon McCarthy, was arrested on charges of sending a written threat.
  • The body is believed to be that of Heather Sheppard, McCarthy's domestic partner, who had been reported missing a week prior.
  • There was a history of domestic disputes between McCarthy and Sheppard, and Sheppard had expressed fear for her life.
  • Neighbors reported a foul odor coming from the house in the days leading up to the discovery.
  • Shannon's sister, Hailey McCarthy, who had been reported missing, was found safe.
  • Heather Sheppard's daughter, Mikayla, shared a heartfelt statement about her mother.

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Written By: Rampart Stonebridge

I'm Rampart Stonebridge, a curious and passionate writer who can't get enough of true crime. As a criminal investigative journalist, I put on my detective hat, delving deep into each case to reveal the hidden truths. My mission? To share engaging stories and shed light on the complexities of our mysterious world, all while satisfying your curiosity about the intriguing realm of true crime.
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