Remains of woman who went missing in 2018 identified

Published 5:47 pm Friday, April 23, 2021

The remains of a woman who went missing in August 2018 were identified as those of Shari Saunders, according to law enforcement officials.

Escambia County Sheriff Heath Jackson said in a release that on Aug. 4, 2018, Saunders left Norfolk, Va. traveling to Monroeville to visit with family. Saunders was then listed as a missing person and entered into a nationwide database.

Some nine days later, Saunders’ vehicle was located on a dirt road off Canaan Church Road in Conecuh County.

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“A search of the area was completed by the Conecuh, Escambia and Monroe County Sheriff’s Offices, but Shari Saunders was not located,” Jackson said. “Investigators continued to search for Shari Saunders, interview sources of information and follow up on leads and information that came in on a weekly basis.”

Jackson then said on Dec. 26, 2020, skeletal remains were found in a wooded area off a gated private road that intersects with Canaan Church Road. The remains were submitted for forensic testing in hopes of a positive identification.

Jackson said the forensic laboratory positively identified the remains as that of Saunders.

Jackson said additional evidence is being evaluated by other forensic labs, and multiple sheriff’s offices are focusing on particular suspects.

“We would like to thank the community for their willingness to help in bringing this case closer to being solved and ask that you report anything that might be of evidentiary value,” Jackson said. “Please call the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office at 251-809-0741 and ask for Investigator Smith.”