Posted on Tue, Mar. 15, 2005

Jailed man a ‘person of interest' in Shipp case


The Kansas City Star

Independence police recently arrested a Kansas City man after they allegedly found marijuana while his house was being searched in connection with Summer Shipp's disappearance.

Capt. Travis Forbes, head of the investigations unit, said that he did not consider the man a suspect in the Shipp case but that the man was among people who were questioned in the investigation.

“Because we haven't found her yet, we're very open-minded to any avenue this case might take,” Forbes said.

Last week Jackson County prosecutors charged the 45-year-old man with a felony count of possessing a controlled substance with intent to distribute and a misdemeanor charge of having drug paraphernalia. He was being held in the Jackson County Jail. Bond was $150,000.

John Liebnitz, a spokesman for the prosecutor's office, said the man had several prior drug convictions. Liebnitz said the bond amount was not unusual in such a case.

According to court documents, police found the marijuana in December in the man's home. Independence detectives were searching the house with the man's consent after they had interviewed him about Shipp. The documents say the man, a “close friend” of Shipp's, became a “person of interest” during the interview because of “suspicious statements and actions.”

The man is the second person whom Independence police have called a “person of interest” in the Shipp case. Earlier an Independence man was arrested on unrelated traffic warrants. He was freed in mid-January after his bond was reduced.

Shipp, of Kansas City, 54 when she disappeared, last was seen Dec. 8 while doing market research in Independence. A $100,000 reward has been offered for information that helps find her.

To reach Russ Pulley, call

(816) 234-7811 or send e-mail to

How to help

• People may send tips to:

Friends of Summer
P.O. Box 410821
Kansas City, MO

They also may call the Move Up secret witness line at (816) 753-1111 or the TIPS Hotline at (816) 474-TIPS (816-474-8477).