Since 2001, over a dozen women have disappeared from the Albuquerque, New Mexico area. In 2009, the bodies of 11 women were found in buried in shallow graves near one another in a field and the case was dubbed the West Mesa murders. Thought to be the work of a serial killer, police pieced together as much information as they could about the victims. After being identified, it was learned that many of the women were known to law enforcement because of their drug abuse, arrests, or ties to prostitution. Because of this, during the years prior their missing person cases weren’t covered by local reporters. When the mass grave site was uncovered, many asked themselves how something like this could go unchecked.
Um, maybe if we saw value in all women, regardless of their social or economic status, just maybe this would have been deemed important enough to cover in the news? I don’t know. Just a thought.
While the West Mesa victims were all reported missing during 2003 and 2004, there were plenty of other women who were also reported missing in 2005 and 2006. One of these cases is that of Shawntell Monique Waites who vanished from the Albuquerque area sometime in 2006. Not much information about her lifestyle has been made public, but no one has heard from or seen Shawntell in 12 years. The person or persons responsible for the West Mesa murders has never been identified, so some believe that Shawntell has fallen victim to a serial killer who has stalked the streets of New Mexico for possibly close to two decades.
Until I know more and police can give her loved ones closure, I hold out hope that Shawntell is still out there, somewhere, trying to find her way home. She is considered an endangered missing person.
Shawntell was 29-years-old in 2006 and would be 41 today. At the time of her disappearance, Shawntell was 5’7″ tall and 130 pounds. She has black hair and brown eyes. She likes to wear her hair in blonde or light brown wigs and weaves. She has a number of distinctive characteristics that would aid in identification. To start, Shawntell is missing seven teeth, has fillings in seven teeth, and a crown in one tooth. On her right leg, she has a tattoo of the word “LADY.” Both of her ears are pierced. She is known to go by her middle name, “Monique.”
Human remains continue to be unearthed in New Mexico. In July 2018, a construction crew came across human bones. Police are actively investigating the case.
Anyone with information regarding Shawntell’s missing person case is urged to contact the New Mexico Department of Public Safety Missing Person Hotline at 1-800-457-3463 or the Albuquerque Police Department at 505-242-2677. You don’t have to identify yourself, just please help bring Shawntell home.
Share this story of Shawntell Monique Waites to continue the conversation about her mysterious disappearance. She is our sister and her life matters.