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Friday, Oct. 31, 2014
Shelbyville Missing

In an average year, two or three persons go missing in our state. That two are missing within four months of each other, three overall - and in a town the size of Shelbyville -- it becomes a statistical anomaly. This series of articles details the investigation and the frustration of the families with unanswered questions. Antonio Taylor, then 21, has been missing since Sept. 20, 1999. Bobby Smelcer, then 52, went missing Nov. 21, 2010. Shelley Mook, then 24, was last seen Feb. 28.

Candles burn for Shelley (03/04/14)
Approximately 15 people -- and no media or reporters besides the T-G -- showed up at a short candlelight vigil Saturday night remembering Shelley Mook, who disappeared three years ago last Friday. Other missing persons from Bedford County were also remembered. (T-G Photos by David Melson)
Lights for Shelley: County still cares (02/27/14)
A candlelight vigil marking the third anniversary of the disappearance of Shelbyville teacher Shelley Mook will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday on the lawn of Bedford County Courthouse. Participants will place candles in the shape of a heart, said organizer Kristy Smelcer...
Billboard reminds public of Shelbyville Missing (01/10/14)
A newly-posted billboard across the street from Shelbyville and Bedford County law enforcement headquarters is helping give hope to family members of five missing persons. "We're looking for a killer," Sherry Meeks, brother of Leon McClaran Sr., who died with his wife Mollie in a September 2012 house fire near Rover, said Thursday. The bodies of Chloie Leverette and Gage Daniel, who were staying with their grandparents, have not been found...
'Never give up': Rally keeps hope for missing residents alive (10/01/13)
The raindrops that began falling as balloons were released at a rally for Bedford County's missing persons Sunday seemed perfectly appropriate. Tears from heaven, one might say. Under those balloons and raindrops, hope and hugs reigned. They keep Cheryl Leverette Daniel going as she hangs on to the belief that she'll someday be reunited with her children...
Not just a vigil: Leads sought for the missing (07/25/13)
In the hope of generating leads, a candlelight vigil for the area's missing will be held Saturday on the courthouse lawn starting at 7 p.m.. According to Kristy Smelcer, the event will focus on raising awareness about five people missing from Bedford County -- Shelley Jones Mook, Antonio "Tony" Taylor, Chloie Leverette, Gage Daniel and Bobby Smelcer, Kristy's brother...
Massive search for missing scheduled (04/05/13)
What organizers call a "massive search effort" is planned for Saturday in various areas of Bedford County. Searchers for clues to the disappearances of Shelley Jones Mook, Antonio "Tony" Taylor, Chloie Leverette, Gage Daniel and Bobbu Smelcer will meet at 8 a.m. at Bedford County Agriculture Center...
Supreme Court denies Tyler Mook custody try (02/28/13)
Two years after a Bedford County teacher went missing, her former husband has been told he will not regain custody of their child. The Tennessee Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal of Tyler Mook and his parents, Jim and Kim Mook, who have been fighting for custody of Shelly Mook's daughter...
2 years, no signs of Mook (02/28/13)
Two years after the unsolved disappearance of Shelley Mook, the concern over the case is evident in the voice of Sheriff Randall Boyce. "It's the most frustrating thing you can imagine," Boyce said Wednesday. "It's just eating at me." The Mook case, as well as those involving two children missing after a Rover-area house fire last September and the fate of Shelbyville resident Bobby Smelcer, weigh heavily on Boyce's mind...
Judge says visitation not appropriate (01/11/13)
A circuit judge has ruled that "it is not appropiate" for a man suspected in the disappearance of his ex-wife to resume "any form" of visitation with his daughter. Judge Lee Russell wrote Friday that after reading depositions entered into evidence during a day long hearing Thursday that "I have conculded that the child's story is credible."...
Dad pleads to see daughter (01/11/13)
Following a day-long hearing, a judge said he will have to study depositions before making a decision whether to allow the ex-husband of a missing Harris Middle School teacher to have any contact with his daughter. That decision is expected to be released later today...
Missing man's body found (01/10/13)
The body of Matthew Tibbs, missing from his Highway 82 South home since Dec. 21, was found in nearby Duck River late Wednesday morning, investigators said. Tibbs was found by members of the Bedford County Rescue Unit and volunteers, using a cadaver dog, from Savannah Springs K-9 Center of Lenoir City, Detective Chad Webster of the Bedford County Sheriff's Department said...
Top Stories of 2012: A tragic discovery brings closure (12/27/12)
Changes in the administration of local schools, allegations of inappropriate conduct by a teacher and a scout leader, and the sad resolution to a missing persons case are tied for the sixth, seventh and eighth places in the Times-Gazette's annual countdown of the year's top stories as chosen by a vote of various T-G staffers...
Questions remain (12/19/12)
NASHVILLE -- The cause of death for a Bedford County couple found dead in a house fire nearly three months ago remains unknown as authorities continue to investigate the whereabouts of two children considered missing from the home. According to autopsy reports obtained by The Associated Press, the cause and manner of death for 69-year-old Mollie McClaran and 72-year-old Leon "Bubba" McClaran could not be determined, although the remains were severely charred and soot was found in their airways...
March for the missing (11/11/12)
Approximately 100 people marched across Shelbyville Saturday morning to promote awareness of missing and murdered people across Tennessee. Included are five from Bedford County -- Antonio Taylor, last seen in 1999; Bobby Smelcer, who disappeared from his home in November 2010 and whose skull was found west of Shelbyville in April 2012; Shelly Mook, last seen as she left her home near Shelbyville in February 2011; and Chloie Leverette and Gage Daniel, who haven't been seen since their home near Rover burned in September. (T-G Photo by David Melson)
Mook custody denial affirmed (11/08/12)
A state appeals court has ruled against the ex-husband of missing Shelley Mook in the ongoing custody case involving the Mooks' daughter. An opinion filed Tuesday in Nashville, and signed by Judge Frank G. Clement Jr., affirms the judgement of Circuit Judge Lee Russell and remands the case back to him...
March for Missing is Saturday (11/08/12)
It's been nearly two years now since Bobby Smelcer went missing from his Shelbyville home. It came just months before local teacher Shelley Jones Mook's car was found burning in a remote area of Rutherford County at the end of February 2011. The families of the two came together after the T-G published a series profiling the Shelbyville Missing, and joined their efforts to a third family, that of Antonio Taylor, who has been missing since 1999...
Reward offered in Leverette, Daniel case (11/08/12)
Members of the family of Cloie Leverette and Gage Daniel, who haven't been seen since a Sept. 23 house fire at their grandparents' Kingdom Road home, are offering a $1,500 reward for information. Their grandparents, Leon 'Bubba" McClaran Sr. and Mollie McClaran, died in the blaze...
Searchers find no new signs of Smelcer (11/06/12)
A search of the banks of Duck River west of Shelbyville revealed no additional clues regarding Bobby Smelcer, whose skull was found in the area April 16. Approximately 15 volunteers and two cadaver dogs were involved, Detective Sgt. Brian Crews of the Shelbyville Police Department said...
Russell stays on as judge in Mook case (10/31/12)
A judge has refused to remove himself from a custody dispute involving the ex-husband of a missing Harris Middle School teacher who was ordered to stay away from his child. Circuit Court Judge Lee Russell has not announced a new date for a hearing in the matter, which will have to wait until Tyler Mook has exhausted the appeals process to have Russell recuse himself from the case...
ATF enters search for children in fire (10/09/12)
Investigators aren't giving up hope of finding the ultimate fate of two children whose remains have not been recovered from a house fire near Rover two weeks ago. "The TBI said on Tuesday or Wednesday the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives) will be coming in to sift through the ashes" at the Kingdom Road home in which the children lived with their grandparents, Sheriff Randall Boyce said Monday...
Eight days of searches, no signs of two children (10/02/12)
The search for remains of two children in the rubble of a burned Kingdom Road house entered a second week with no success Monday. Sheriff Randall Boyce said "eight to 10" Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and state fire/arson investigators were combing through the home's ashes looking for possible evidence that Chloie Leverette, 9, and Gage Daniel, 7, were inside when it burned late Sept. 23...
Search efforts prove futile (09/28/12)
As many as 50 representatives of various law enforcement and rescue agencies spent Thursday doing yet another search of the rubble from a burned Kingdom Road home. Their painstaking hand-sifting of ashes and debris for any remnants of the bodies of Chloie Leverette, 9, and Gage Daniel, 7, was to no avail, authorities said...
Did they survive? TBI says children's fate is unknown (09/27/12)
As cadaver dogs searched Wednesday afternoon for the remains of 9-year-old Chloie Leverette and 7-year-old Gage Daniel in the burned rubble of their home on Kingdom Road near Rover, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said the children may be alive...
TBI seeks information on missing children (09/27/12)
Chloie Leverette is described as having brown hair and hazel eyes, standing 4-feet-8 and weighing 75 points, according to a TBI press release. Gage Daniel is described as having brown hair and hazel eyes, standing 4 feet tall and weighing 50 pounds...
Nothing seen in newest Mook search (09/07/12)
Nothing was found by law enforcement agencies searching areas of Franklin County on Thursday for clues in the disappearance of Shelley Mook. "Unfortunately, they came up empty-handed," Tennessee Bureau of Investigation spokesperson Kristin Helm said this morning...
TBI seeks Mook in Franklin County (09/06/12)
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and other law enforcement agencies were searching areas of Franklin County today for clues in the disappearence of Shelbyville teacher Shelley Mook. The ground search was based from a command post at the CSX railroad yard in Cowan, TBI spokesperson Kristin Helm said this morning...
T-G claims 22 press awards (06/20/12)
Times-Gazette features writer Tracy Simmons received one of the state's most prestigious awards for journalistic accomplishment from The Associated Press during its annual awards banquet, held Saturday evening at the Sheraton in downtown Nashville. Simmons earned The Malcolm Law Award for Investigative Reporting for a series of articles highlighting the families of the Shelbyville Missing...
Searchers roam river banks for Smelcer clues (05/24/12)
Searchers spent Wednesday morning along the banks of Duck River looking for bones or clues concerning Bobby Smelcer, whose skull was found in the Wolf Meadows area off Stewart Road in April. Several bones will be checked by forensics experts, Detective Sgt. Brian Crews of the Shelbyville Police Department said, but investigators suspect all are animal bones...
No evidence found in Smelcer search (05/03/12)
Rock by rock, inch by inch, for hours on end a team of experts searched Duck River on Wednesday for additional traces of Bobby Smelcer, whose skull was found nearby in April and identified Monday. All to no avail. "We haven't found anything," Detective Sgt. Brian Crews of the Shelbyville Police Department said at mid-afternoon...
A year of tears, hopes (02/28/12)
Today marks a milestone for the family of a popular eighth grade reading teacher at Harris Middle School who disappeared last year. Shelley Jones Mook, then 24, had moved from Shelbyville to an apartment in Murfreesboro over the prior weekend, taking Monday off to finalize the move. Her mother, Debra Sikora had flown from Pennsylvania to assist her daughter that weekend. Shelley had dropped Debra off at the airport early that Monday morning...
Missing teen's dad faces loss 'day by day' (02/17/12)
The heartache of not knowing the whereabouts of his child is wearing on Anthony Beavers. "I'm not doing good at all," Beavers says. His son, 16-year-old Jordan Beavers, was last seen Feb. 6 in Shelbyville. Jordan jumped out of his father's truck that day at the Madison Street-North Main Street intersection and was seen later by a neighbor at his home. Anthony told police Jordan packed a few items and left a note for his sister...
Missing teenager gone since Monday (02/09/12)
Authorities are searching for a 16-year-old boy last seen Monday. Jordan Beavers got out of his father's truck at the North Main Street-Madison Street intersection about 11 a.m. and ran away, police said. The youth went to his home and packed a few items before leaving, a Shelbyville police report said. The report added Beavers has family in the Lewisburg area...
Love, hope and waiting: Families stay strong for missing loved ones (01/01/12)
When she saw her brother recently he was smiling broadly, says Kristy Smelcer. He sat next to her and put his hand on her leg and said, "Why are you all so sad?"...
Tales of loss lead annual top story list (01/01/12)
Two stories that touched the hearts of local readers top this year's list of the top 10 local stories as determined by a poll of the Times-Gazette staff. The top story of the year was the plight of the three people collectively known as The Shelbyville Missing: Shelley Mook, Bobby Smelcer and Antonio Taylor. That story was followed by the story of a young sixth grader whose illness brought the community together and whose death broke its heart...
Donated billboard keeps missing persons in view (11/11/11)
A national organization has donated a billboard featuring photos of Shelbyville's Missing. Installed near the 1200 block of Madison Street facing east, the photos of Bobby Smelcer, Antonio Taylor and Shelley Jones Mook remind drivers of the families who continue to search for their missing loved ones...
Donated billboard keeps missing persons in view (11/11/11)
A national organization has donated a billboard featuring photos of Shelbyville's Missing. Installed near the 1200 block of Madison Street facing east, the photos of Bobby Smelcer, Antonio Taylor and Shelley Jones Mook remind drivers of the families who continue to search for their missing loved ones.
Volunteers cover county for 'The Shelbyville Missing' (08/21/11)
There were tears in Lillie Buchanan's eyes Saturday morning as she stood on the steps of Bedford County Agriculture and Education Center on Midland Road and watched the trailers of local search and rescue groups pull in to the parking lot. It had been 11 years and 11 months to the day since her grandson, Antonio "Tony" Taylor, 21, had left her home with a wave. She's not seen him since...
Volunteers cover county for 'The Shelbyville Missing' (08/21/11)
There were tears in Lillie Buchanan's eyes Saturday morning as she stood on the steps of Bedford County Agriculture and Education Center on Midland Road and watched the trailers of local search and rescue groups pull in to the parking lot. It had been 11 years and 11 months to the day since her grandson, Antonio "Tony" Taylor, 21, had left her home with a wave. She's not seen him since.
Photo Gallery: Search for the Shelbyville Missing (08/20/11)
A coordinated search was held Saturday morning for Shelley Mook, Bobby Smelcer and Antonio Taylor, three missing Shelbyville residents.
Missing persons' families search for answers (08/16/11)
Those conversations have culminated in an event -- organized entirely by the families -- titled the Massive Search for the Shelbyville Missing. Volunteers are asked to arrive at Bedford County Agriculture and Education Center, 2119 Midland Road, as early as 7 a.m. Saturday.
Smelcer, Taylor families wish $10K reward was offered (07/15/11)
Gov. Bill Haslam offered rewards Tuesday in three separate criminal cases involving Tennessee women, including a $10,000 reward in the case of Shelbyville teacher Shelley Mook. But the announcement was bittersweet for the families of two other missing persons from Shelbyville. Bobby Smelcer, 52, went missing last November. Antonio Taylor, 21, hasn't been seen since September 1999. The Smelcer family has petitioned District Attorney Charles Crawford for assistance and has made dozens of calls to Haslam's office.
Governor offers $10,000 reward in Shelley Mook case (07/14/11)
Gov. Bill Haslam is offering a $10,000 reward for information in the disappearance of Shelley Mook, the Shelbyville teacher last seen in late February, as well as rewards in the cases of two other missing Tennesseans. "I'm glad. I'm tickled. That's great," Sheriff Randall Boyce said. "We've been hoping it would happen."
Mook search yields no clues (07/13/11)
Investigators searched an area Tuesday near the home where Shelley Mook was last seen for possible clues in the missing teacher's fate. "We didn't find anything," Capt. Tony Barrett of the Bedford County Sheriff's Department said.
Investigators patiently keep missing persons' cases active (06/16/11)
At the epicenter of missing persons cases are members of law enforcement. From the initial report, to the days, months -- even years -- that follow, detectives with the Shelbyville police and the Bedford County sheriff's departments become the contact point for the families' questions -- and frustrations. "I understand the families' frustration," said SPD Detective Sgt. Brian Crews "They are doing exactly what you and I would do if our loved one was missing -- making sure that the police followed up on leads and didn't forget that their loved one is missing."
COMMENT: Real people, not a litany of names (06/16/11)
At this writing, there are 110 missing Tennesseans listed in the federal NAMUS database. With an average age of 30, they are a nearly even mix of male and female. Overwhelmingly, they are white. Some of the names are etched in my memory: Marlena Childress. Lucy Meadows. Janet March. In an average year, two or three persons go missing in our state. That two are missing within four months of each other, three overall - and in a town the size of Shelbyville -- it becomes a statistical anomaly.
Ray of hope keeps Mook's mom strong (06/15/11)
n many ways, the disappearance of Shelley Jones Mook distills to this: The relationship between a mother and a daughter is one of life's strongest and most primal bonds. Shelley, 24, cherishes this relationship. At holidays she's known to honor it in photo collages gifted in elaborate frames to her mother and grandmother. An English major and a teacher of reading at Harris Middle School, her scrapbook pages are typically accented with quotations by favorite authors, ones which often celebrate motherhood.
Smelcer's family keeps searching (06/14/11)
In real life, grown men don't just up and walk away. Not in the middle of November when there's a brand-new girl's bicycle hidden in the closet and a granddaughter just tall enough to ride it. Bobby Smelcer, 52, disappeared last November, leaving his family with not much more than questions.
Families of missing persons endure emotions and uncertainties (06/12/11)
It was a Monday morning, and Antonio Taylor, 21, had a job interview just after lunchtime. He ironed his shirt and laid his clothes on the bed. His mother, Rochelle Adams, was going to pick him up later and take him to the appointment. He had big plans, and today was the first step in making it all happen. It was September 20, 1999.
Search doesn't turn up Mook clues (06/02/11)
Searchers hoping to find evidence leading to missing Harris Middle School reading teacher Shelley Mook reported no success following a search of large wooded areas in western Bedford and eastern Marshall counties Wednesday
Search for evidence continues in Mook case (06/01/11)
Law enforcement agencies were conducting a ground search for evidence in the Shelly Mook case in areas of western Bedford and northern Marshall counties today. The areas included Haskins Chapel Road in Bedford County and the Clay Hill area in Marshall County, said Kristin Helm of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
Investigators find no new clues in missing persons cases (05/17/11)
Investigators say they have no new clues in the whereabouts of two persons reported missing several months ago. Shelly Mook, 24, a Harris Middle School teacher, was last seen Feb. 28 when she left her daughter at her ex-husband's home before leaving for Murfreesboro, where her burned car was found later that night. Bobby Smelcer, 51, hasn't been seen since late November. His personal effects were left behind at his East Lane Street home.
Searches continue for Mook, Smelcer (04/08/11)
Ground searches are over but sheriff's investigators are checking phone records in hopes of finding clues to the whereabouts of missing teacher Shelley Jones Mook, Sheriff Randall Boyce said Wednesday. Meanwhile, the family of Bobby Smelcer, who hasn't been seen since late November 2010, is continuing to organize ground and water searches across Bedford County.
Walking for Shelley (04/03/11)
Over 50 walkers turned out Saturday morning for a 13-mile walk from Shelbyville Municipal Airport to Rutherford County to keep up awareness of missing Harris Middle School teacher Shelley Mook, last seen Feb. 28 near Shelbyville. Her burned car was found that night east of Murfreesboro. Several Shelbyville merchants donated items for a silent auction and pilot Dr. David Barnes flew over the crowd.
Mook awareness walk scheduled for Saturday (03/29/11)
A walk to raise awareness of the search for missing teacher Shelley Jones Mook will begin at 8 a.m. Saturday at Shelbyville Municipal Airport. Organizers say proceeds from the $5 entry fee will be donated to her family. Donations will be accepted. The 13-mile walk will end at the Rutherford County line and participants are urged to come prepared.
Woods near Mook home searched (03/18/11)
A widespread wooded area behind the former Tyler Mook home on Old Nashville Dirt Road was searched Thursday by members of several Bedford County law enforcement agencies accompanied by a cadaver dog.
UPDATE: Area behind former Mook home searched (03/17/11)
A large area behind the former Tyler Mook home on Old Nashville Dirt Road was being searched today by members of several Bedford County law enforcement agencies and a cadaver dog. Mook's ex-wife, Shelley Mook, was last seen Feb. 28 when she dropped their daughter off at the home. Her car was found burned in Rutherford County several hours later.
Searches for Mook continue (03/17/11)
The search for missing teacher Shelley Mook continues with little success but much effort, Bedford County Sheriff Randall Boyce said Wednesday. "I've had four or five people on it every day," Boyce said. "We're following tips when we get them. We need to just keep looking.
Officers share frustrations of not finding missing persons (03/13/11)
As investigators continue searching for clues to the locations of two area residents recently reported missing, law enforcement officials say they're as frustrated as anyone else at the lack of resolution.
Harris unites in support of Mook (03/10/11)
From calming students' fears to refuting rumors, Harris Middle School personnel are trying to keep the school on an even keel in the wake of reading teacher Shelley Mook's disappearance last week. Principal Bill Pietkiewicz said Wednesday he's determined to offer full support to the student body and staff -- and is gratified at the school's, and community's, response to the situation.
Crowd joins vigil in support of Mook (03/06/11)
"Shelley, come back to us, please," A hastily-assembled crowd of over 100 stood in silence at the tearful plea from missing Harris Middle School teacher Shelley Mook's mother, Debbie Sikora of Edinboro, Pa., during what organizers termed a "strength vigil" Sunday night on the Shelbyville square. Sikora sobbed in her son's arms throughout the ceremony.
Strength vigil tonight for missing teacher (03/06/11)
A "strength vigil" is being held by family and friends of missing teacher Shelley Mook at 7 p.m. Sunday on the grounds of the Bedford County courthouse. The public is invited.
Mook's burned car found (03/04/11)
A creek near where missing teacher Shelly Lynn Mook's burned car was found in Rutherford County was searched Thursday, investigators said. Mook, 24, an eighth-grade reading teacher at Harris Middle School, was last seen Monday afternoon after dropping off her child at the home of her ex-husband on Nashvillle Dirt Road near Shelbyville, police said Wednesday.
Missing teacher's vehicle found (03/03/11)
The car owned by a missing Harris Middle School teacher was found burned in Rutherford County late Monday night, Bedford County Sheriff Randall Boyce said this afternoon. Local authorities released information about the teacher's disappearance Wednesday. Shelley Mook's Pontiac Grand Prix was recovered off Manchester Highway, said Tennessee Bureau of Investigation spokesperson Kristin Helm.
Candlelight vigil set by missing man's family (02/18/11)
Family members of Bobby Smelcer, who has been missing since late November, are planning a candlelight vigil on the lawn of Bedford County Courthouse at 6 p.m. Saturday. "Our family has organized this mass gathering to serve several purposes -- to honor Bobby Smelcer and to give thanks for all the outpouring of love, support and prayers that we have received in our quest to find our loved one," Karen Harris, Smelcer's sister, said.
Candlelight vigil to be held for missing man (02/08/11)
Family members of Bobby Smelcer, who has been missing since late November, are planning a candlelight vigil on the lawn of Bedford County Courthouse later this month. The event, termed a "Candlelight Vigil of Hope," will begin at 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 19. "Our family has organized this mass gathering to serve several purposes -- to honor Bobby Smelcer and to give thanks for all the outpouring of love, support and prayers that we have received in our quest to find our loved one," Karen Harris, Smelcer's sister, said.
Interviews turn up nothing on Smelcer (12/03/10)
The whereabouts of a Shelbyville man last seen on the Sunday before Thanksgiving remain a mystery to investigators. Bobby Smelcer, 52, was dropped off at his East Lane Trailer Park home late that morning by a co-worker, Shelbyville police were told. He was last in contact with family members that afternoon.
TBI enters search for Smelcer (12/01/10)
Detectives say they're unsure if foul play is involved in the disappearance of a Shelbyville man. Bobby Smelcer, 52, of East Lane Trailer Park, was last seen at his home at approximately 4:30 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 21, his sister, Karen Harris, said.