Home » Shonna Wesley, 16: Teen Mom Vanishes 1981, Daughter Found Abandoned
At 14-years-old, Shonna Wesley became a mother. The details involving her home life or the father of her child remain secrets only privy to those involved, loved ones, and the authorities. In five days, it will be May 29, marking 41 years since anyone has seen or heard from Shonna Wesley—who, in 1981, was a 16-year-old mother to a two-year-old daughter, Shandonder. On the day Shonna went missing, she and Shandonder were reportedly on their way to the store to meet up with Shonna’s boyfriend in Dallas, Texas. However, what happened to Shonna after this encounter has plagued investigators for decades.
Little has been shared about the last movements of Shonna Wesley, but that same day, little Shandonder was located in the South Oak Cliff apartment complex by herself. The two-year-old was reportedly only wearing a diaper and a shirt, and due to the circumstances, authorities weren’t immediately able to identify the child. Shandonder would spend a week in foster care before her grandmother, Mary Wesley, mother to Shonna Wesley, would claim her. The reunion came after a newspaper ran a photo of the little girl.
Reports also stated that Shonna’s boyfriend, who hasn’t been named publicly, called Mary to tell her that the teen disappeared. It is unclear when this alleged phone call was made, but it is reported that the boyfriend told Mary that Shonna was gone and had taken much of her clothing. However, it has been said that Shonna’s mother told police it wasn’t her daughter’s wardrobe that was missing, but a good portion of Shandonder’s clothes had vanished.
Sadly, Shonna’s mother would pass away in 2002 without learning of her daughter’s fate, but 34 years after Shonna went missing, Shandonder sat down with KHOU 11 News to revisit one of the greatest mysteries to befall her family.
She told the outlet that of all her possessions, she only has one photo of her mother. She doesn’t hold tight to any memories, considering Shandonder, who has kids of her own, doesn’t remember her mother, and according to her interview, she doesn’t even know much about Shonna Wesley as a person. It took months of convincing, but in 2015, Shandonder was able to get the Dallas Police Department to take her DNA sample so they would have it on file in case there were any developments in her mother’s investigation. They reportedly re-opened the case that year.
“It makes me feel good that I’m not going at it alone anymore,” she said. “Somebody cares besides me.” She also offered additional information about the disappearance. “We were said to be on our way to the store to meet with her boyfriend at the time and never returned.” Shandonder added that she heard it was a man and a woman who dropped them off, but that hasn’t been confirmed.
She also stated that Mary would tell her that Shonna Wesley would have never abandoned her. “She would say things like, ‘Your mother loved you. She would never leave you.’ She wanted me to know that.” However, Mary didn’t say much about her daughter or Shonna’s disappearance. Before passing away, Mary told The Dallas Morning News that Shonna Wesley didn’t leave of her own accord and it was her belief that “something else is keeping her from coming back.”
Meanwhile, Shandonder did admit that she has grown suspicious of her mother’s boyfriend, but the status of the renewed investigation remains unknown. It is also unclear if this boyfriend is a suspect or person of interest.
“I know that I can’t grow old not trying,” she said. “I mean, if I find nothing, then I find nothing. But I at least want to try. Or if she is out there, I least want her to see that I’m reaching out to her and maybe she’ll reach out to me. If for any reason there was a tragedy and she is deceased, I would like to know that, too. Again: Either way is closure for me.”
At the time of her disappearance, Shonna Wesley stood 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighed 130 pounds. She had black/dark brown hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing a t-shirt with blue jeans. Her middle name is “Dannette” or “Danette” and she has a scar on her head. Her dental records and fingerprints are not on file but her DNA has been recorded. Shonna would be 57-years-old at the time of this publication.
Anyone with information about this case is urged to contact the Dallas Police Department at (214) 671-4268 or their local authorities. The agency case number is 236551-M.
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