Monday, February 28, 2005 Story last updated at 12:54 PM on Monday, February 28, 2005

Search turns up Shipp credit card

By Stephanie Howard The Examiner

Thanks to the help of more than 100 volunteers, private investigators found the first piece of tangible evidence in the search for Summer Shipp.

Private investigators and volunteers searched the wooded area near Noland Road and U.S. 24, east of the China Buffet, for evidence that would lead to the Kansas City woman who has been missing since Dec. 8. About 15 minutes into the search a volunteer found a credit card belonging to Summer.

When Summer's daughter Brandy saw the card, her emotions ran wild.

"I was devastated. I almost fainted," Brandy said. "I didn't know what to think."

Immediately, investigators halted the search and called the Independence Police Department which picked up the evidence. The search resumed for another three hours, but nothing more turned up.

Brandy said the credit card was a huge step forward.

"It was a credit card my mother had on herself when she disappeared," Brandy said.

The credit card would have never turned up, Brandy said, without the help of the volunteers. She said investigators actually had to turn people away and nearly 200 people called to to help.

"With their help, we're going to find my mother," Brandy said.

Brandy said the area behind China Buffet has been an area of interest for some time. Police searched the area with dogs not long after Summer disappeared but turned up no evidence. Brandy could not comment on why the area is so significant but said several people interviewed have pointed investigators in that direction.

Detectives for Independence police who are working on the case could not be reached this morning for comment.

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