Sister of jailed
man seeks answers
By LINDA MAN The
Kansas City Star
Lori Matthes isn't sure what to think.
Her brother has been sitting in a jail cell nearly a month.
Summer Shipp, a Kansas City woman, has been missing for the same
amount of time. And Independence police have combed through her
mother's home, looking for clues to Shipp's disappearance.
“I'm very upset,” Matthes said. “I'm very confused. My heart goes
out to that poor family. How can it not?”
Matthes' brother has not been charged with Shipp's disappearance,
but he is being held on a $70,000 cash bond for seven traffic
Shipp was last seen a month ago today, Dec. 8, conducting
door-to-door market research in the 1500 block of West College
Terrace in Independence. A neighbor told police that he had seen
Shipp walking toward the home of Matthes' mother and brother.
Police said Matthes' brother was a “person of interest” because
he has a fairly extensive criminal record and because Shipp's
abandoned car was found near his residence.
However, the 32-year-old man isn't the only person of interest.
Police said other persons of interest include relatives and friends.
Police would not elaborate.
In investigating the disappearance, Sgt. Dennis Green said,
police considered three major groups: family and friends, felons and
sex offenders who lived nearby, and strangers.
Green said detectives have interviewed the felons and sex
offenders and ruled them out. Tracking down strangers who might be
involved with Shipp's disappearance will be harder.
“There's not a lot we can do about that,” Green said.
Otherwise, the case is wide open, he said.
“We're still shotgunning right now, getting information on
different avenues and possibilities,” Green said. “We're trying to
rule him (Matthes' brother) out,”
Matthes' brother would not comment from his jail cell.
Matthes said in a telephone interview from her home in Camden
County, Mo., that she understands that investigating a disappearance
takes time. But, Matthes said, her brother hasn't been charged with
any crime related to Shipp's disappearance.
“Maybe that's just a downside of the judicial system,” Matthes
said. “But charge him or let him go.
“My brother doesn't have the cleanest past, so he's an obvious
His criminal record covers several convictions, stretching back
to 1992. Most recently he was released from federal prison in June.
The convictions covered charges involving drugs and firearms.
Matthes said her brother had just gotten a job as a salesman when
Shipp disappeared. He was trying to put his life back together, she
said. Matthes is married and uses a surname different from her
“You just hope and pray that someone you know wouldn't be
involved with this,” Matthes said. “I don't think he did it.”
Meanwhile, Shipp's family has hired private investigator John
Underhill. He said he has helped create a Web page regarding Shipp,
mapped out areas for future searches and handled calls from
Shipp's former husband, John Shipp, said the family has put 30
posters on cabs and five posters on buses, and is working to erect a
billboard in Westport.
“We are still convinced that someone is out there who saw
something, who heard something or who knows something,” John Shipp
He said the family scarcely noticed the holidays.
“What holidays?” he asked rhetorically. “Friends came by with
decorations. The holidays were just another day.”
To reach Linda Man,
police and courts reporter, call (816) 234-7809 or
send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Police say family and friends
are among the “persons of interest” in the search for missing Kansas
City woman Summer Shipp.
• The Screenland movie theater
is showing ”The Triplets of Belleville” to benefit the Friends of
Summer. The movie is free, but a $10 donation per person is
requested. The screening is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday at 1656