PERKINS TOWNSHIP, Ohio -- A search will resume Thursday morning for the body of a man who disappeared 15 years ago. The founder of a nationally known search and recovery organization believes he is close to bringing some closure to the man’s family.
After about two and a half hours of searching, investigators in Huron County temporarily wrapped up their search for the body of Michael Sheppard, Junior just before sundown.
"It's been pure hell…I miss him so much, I can't stand it," said Sheppard’s mother, Rosalie Gottwald.
Gottwald of Milan is hoping to get answers that she has been waiting for since 2003. Just before Mother's Day, her 35-year old son, Michael Sheppard, Junior mysteriously disappeared.
"There was supposed to have been an argument over marijuana and the guy that shot him said he over reacted and shot him four to seven times," Gottwald said.
Wednesday afternoon, Tim Miller, founder of Texas Equusearch was in town, assisting state BCI investigators and Huron County sheriff's deputies as they searched and dug up a wooded area behind a house on Fox Lane in Norwalk Township.
"We're 15-and-a-half-years out, so you know, we don't have obvious indentations in the ground or mounds or things like that, you know, there are a lot of trees, there's a lot of vegetation down there," Miller said.
Tuesday, 37-year-old Joshua Stamm pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter for causing Michael Sheppard's death. He was one of three men charged last year with killing him during a drug deal gone bad.
"Deep down in, I think he's on that property, I think that he never made it off the property," said Gottwald.
As part of a plea deal, Stamm told authorities that Sheppard was killed inside a house, then buried behind the property.
"There's a strong possibility that it is credible, it's the best thing that we've had so far, I think when I came up here eight years ago, we knew that was the general area," said Miller.
Michael Sheppard’s mother hopes this latest search will end 15-years of wondering.
"My heart's in my throat, I've been pacing a lot, I'm just so anxious for a phone call," said Gottwald.
"I certainly hope we get the opportunity to call Michael's mother and say, hey, it's over with and we're gonna bring your son back home to you," said Miller.
Sheppard’s family is hoping they can now have a memorial service for him. They also hope that the other two men charged with his death, will soon be punished for their roles in the killing.