Carthage couple last seen alive October 11, 2008
Robert (Bob) Sheldon and Ellen Sheldon, owners of the Old Cabin Shop in Carthage, Missouri, were last seen alive on Saturday, October 11, 2008 at about 8 p.m. When they did not show up for church the following morning, October 12, they were found dead in their home.
Jasper County Sheriff Archie Dunn said the Sheldon's son went to their home when they did not show up for church. The son found their bodies and called 911, telling police he thought his mom had been shot because she was laying in a pool of blood.
An official said that a technical glitch was to blame for the 911 call not being recorded. The issue with the 911 tapes has since been resolved.
When the Sheldon's were found, Sheriff Dunn said that the deaths were different from any murder he had ever seen - but would not say why.
"Any crime scene is not pleasant to be around - this one is a little different in the way that it actually happened - and you'll find out (why) when you find out how it happened, and you will understand it a little better," Sheriff Dunn said.
He said his office was limiting information so that they would not taint what could be a capitol murder case in court and could send suspects running.
The sheriff also said "I don't want to tip my hand on the investigation."
While he would not give out details of the death, Dunn said that what was seen at the crime scene indicated that the Sheldon's died a violent death.
Neighbors take extra safety precautions
Neighbors of the Sheldon's said they were taking extra precautions to keep safe and making sure their homes were locked.
One resident who lived a couple of houses down from Bob and Ellen Sheldon was worried that the murders may have been a random act of violence.
The Jasper County Sheriff's Office said investigators believe the crime was an isolated situation, but said a murderer is on the loose and they are urging people to take precautions.
The county's first murder of 2008
The deaths of the husband and wife were Jasper County's first two murders of the year, and the Tri-State Major Case Squad has continued to try to piece together clues from the double murder.
Just days after the murder, the sheriff said the Major Case Squad had around 35 officers on the case and the had interviewed over 50 people after getting leads.
One lead was in regards to a vehicle seen driving into the Sheldon's driveway the night before they were found dead. Sheriff Dunn said investigators were looking into it, but they were not sure if it had anything to do with the crime.
The sheriff's department said the bodies of Robert and Ellen Sheldon had been sent to Columbia, Missouri for autopsy.
Shocked, not yet angry
The funeral for Robert and Ellen Sheldon was held October 17, 2008 in Carthage. Hundreds of people attended the service as well as many area law enforcement officers, including Jasper County Sheriff Archie Dunn.
Robert (Bob) Sheldon was a reserve deputy sheriff for 25 years.
"Bob was kind of a slow easy going guy," Sheriff Archie Dunn said. "Everybody liked him. We haven't found anybody that would have reason that we believe to do something like - what happened out there the way it did."
Clark Cayton spoke at the service and explained that it was difficult for him to be angry, because he was still in shock over what happened to his friends.
"I'm sure a lot of that shock has to do with the nature of the crime and the ongoing investigation since the public really doesn't have many answers, there are just a lot of questions," Cayton said.
Fairview Christian Church made themselves available for those who needed help with counseling and crisis management.
Reward fund started
In January, an anonymous donor started the reward fund at Southwest Missouri Bank.
Since then, Robert Jr. and Danny Sheldon said many contributors have come to their father's Old Cabin Shop and to the bank to drop off money for the fund.
Over 1,000 people attended a special gathering in Carthage in March. Around $20,000 in proceeds was added to the reward fund.
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