Tuesday, March 1, 2005 Story last updated at 11:30 AM on Tuesday, March 1, 2005

Shipp mystery deepens

By Stephanie Howard The Examiner

Independence Police have reservations about a card recovered this weekend during the search for a missing Kansas City woman.

Private investigators led a search Saturday for clues that might lead to finding Summer Shipp, who was last seen Dec. 8 in an Independence neighborhood. With the help of 100 volunteers, investigators recovered a Sutherlands Lumber and Home Center discount card, but police are concerned the card had never been found before.

"I don't think it's been there since she's been missing," said Detective George Parks.

Police have previously searched the wooded area where the card was recovered, behind the China Buffet on East U.S. 24, and Parks said he doesn't believe the card is something officers overlooked. Parks also said private investigators had searched the area before without finding the card.

"It could have been left there to either lead us to that area or lead us away from another area," Parks said.

Still, the card could be an important piece of evidence. The card was just slightly weathered with the laminate peeling off one of the corners. Issued in June 2004, the card had never been activated.

"This was an item someone would have kept in their purse," Parks said.

To reach Stephanie Howard, send e-mail to stephanie.howard @examiner.net or call her at (816) 229-9161, Ext. 25.