Jennifer Cahill-Shadle walked out of the North Atherton Street Wal-Mart around 5 p.m. on May 15 and has not been seen since.
As the new year approaches, police and family are asking for anyone who may have seen or talked to her around that time to come forward. There have been no fresh leads recently, Ferguson Township Police Chief Diane Conrad said, and information has been scarce all along.
“We haven’t got anything new lately,” she said. “We didn’t have much to begin with.”
There have been leads. She was reportedly sighted three times: once in Ohio and twice in Pennsylvania, said Detective Jonathan Mayer, who heads the investigation. These were later determined not be Cahill-Shadle, Mayer said.
Police are also still hoping to speak with four men Cahill-Shadle was sighted with at Champs Sports Grill on May 2, just less than two weeks before she vanished. They have been unable to identify or speak to the men but are still trying, Mayer said.
Local searches also yielded nothing. Ferguson Township police partnered with other local law enforcement to conduct them using ATVs, helicopters and dogs, Mayer said.
The investigation is still being treated as an open one, Mayer said. There is no evidence that anyone else was involved with her disappearance, which limits measures police can take. They can’t obtain search warrants for bank accounts or phone records because there is no indication something criminal happened, Conrad said. There is also no indication that Cahill-Shadle left the state, she said, which keeps the FBI and other federal agencies out of the investigation.
There is also a possibility that she could have left on her own, though her family does not believe that to be the case. Cahill-Shadle was in constant contact with her mother and her children and not speaking to them is out of character, said Amy Mekelburg, her cousin.
“She would never leave without being in contact with them,” Mekelburg said.
Police have placed her information in the National Missing and Unidentified Persons system so that if she would come into contact with law enforcement agencies elsewhere, she would be identified as a missing person, Mayer said. Her dental and DNA records have also been entered in case a body would be found.
“We’re not trying to say that’s what we think happened to her,” Mayer said. “We just want to be prepared for any potential outcomes of this investigation and one of the potential outcomes is that she’s deceased.”
The family recognizes that the chances of finding her alive diminish every day nothing is heard, Mekelburg said.
“We always hope for the best and at this point, one way or another, she has to be found,” she said. “Not knowing is literally eating at our family.”
Anyone with information is encouraged to call police at 237-1172 or 800-479-0050.