Still few leads in decade-old homicide

Published 11:20 am Tuesday, November 25, 2014

It’s been 10 years Angela Schultz Shiers Barrentine went missing, but time has brought little comfort and few leads in her disappearance and death.

Barrentine was supposed to show up for Thanksgiving dinner 10 years ago today but went missing for almost nine months before her body was found inside her truck submerged in the Big Black River.

“She left her house the night of the 24th and never came back,” her sister Stacy Hartley said.

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Family members last saw Barrentine around 6:30 p.m. Nov. 24, 2004 at her home at 137 Cain Ridge Road. The 27-year-old mother was cooking dinner when the her grandparents stopped by to make sure she was coming to their home for Thanksgiving the next day.

She assured them she would, but when mealtime came, she never showed up. She had vanished without a trace, leaving her epilepsy medication and driver’s license at home.

“This case has haunted me since 2004,” Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace said.

Every day for the next eight and a half months, her sister searched for her.

“I prayed and prayed and prayed ‘just please let me find her,’” Hartley said.

Hartley and investigators from the Warren County Sheriff’s Office discovered Barrentine’s body inside her purple and green Ford F-150 on Aug. 2, 2005.

Finding Barrentine’s body only brought the family more grief and questions.

“I thought if I found her I would be satisfied, but that wasn’t true,” Hartley said. “You get one step of closure, but it opens a totally different book.”

Barrentine was a good, caring person who struggled with drug abuse throughout her life, her sister said.

“She was a great person when she was sober. She really was. I’ve got to put the good in with the bad,” Hartley said.

Witnesses reported seeing Barrentine at about noon on Thanksgiving Day in Edwards, and family members have said she may have gone to Hinds County to purchase drugs. An investigation by Hinds County Sheriff’s Department turned up little, and family member have said they had difficulty getting help from the department. Only one investigator ever contacted them, Hartley said.

“We never dealt with anybody else, and he’s gone now,” she said.

Attempts to reach a Hinds County Sheriff’s Department spokesman were unsuccessful Monday.

In Warren County, investigators are still seeking clues in the decade old killing.

“No death investigation will ever be closed, and we will always be hopeful that information would one day be developed that would allow some agency to provide answers to a grieving family,” Pace said.

The case has been used in training classes for Mississippi Department of Public Safety Investigators and has been analyzed by the state’s cold case unit, Pace said.

“Over the years we have solicited the assistance of a number of different agencies including the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation and the FBI to no avail,” he said.

Still, Hartley is committed to finding her sister’s killer.

“I know one day I’ll find out. I’m determined,” she said. “One day I’ll find out who did it and why they did it. I think the family deserves to know who did it and why they did it.”

Central Mississippi Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of $6,500 for information leading to an arrest in the case. The agency will pitch in $2,500 and Barrentine’s family will pay the other $4,000.

New leads are always welcome because there is no statute of limitations on homicide, Pace said.

Pace said anyone with information “regardless of how unimportant they may think it is,” should call Central Mississippi Crime Stoppers at 601-355-8477 or the Warren County Sheriff’s Office at 601-636-1731.

“If the lead or the tip is in another jurisdiction, we will immediately forward the information to the law enforcement agency of appropriate jurisdiction,” Pace said.