December 8th, 2010 10:00 EST
'Footprints in the Snow'-What Happened to Tanya Shannon After the Car Crash?
Footprints in the snow lead from a crashed car to the road and then nothing. Oh, an abandoned slipper. Tanya Shannon wore a floor-length red gown at the party Saturday night. The husband, Dale Shannon is left dead in the car. Broken back. Deputy finds car crashed in rural Illinois around 1:45 AM Sunday morning. Where did Tanya go?
The news footage of the crash sight paints a picture for us. Cold, remote area, lots of snow. See a few houses and a nuclear plant. 80 miles from Chicago. Brookfield Township in LaSalle County. Never been there. Need a detailed map of Illinois. Near Seneca. Where`s that? This Grand Ridge Mazon Blacktop road looks flat.
The Shannons live in Ransom, but the Christmas party was in Streator, about 17 miles west of Ransom. How did the accident happen? No other vehicle was involved. Police say they spun around and hit a pole. But it was the back of the car that hit the pole. The force was such that it broke both seats and killed Dale.
Still, I`m having trouble picturing this accident. Must have hit a slick spot in the road? Must have been traveling fairly fast, say 65 or 70 mph. Don`t know, what do you think? Chicago Tribune says that 7 inches of snow blanketed LaSalle County over the weekend. A CNN affiliate WGN-TV says that rescue efforts have been suspended. Can`t find nothing.
Could Tanya be buried in the snow? This option has been mostly ruled out, from what I`ve read. The sheriff Tom Templeton has held the job for 12 years and he is completely baffled by the circumstances of the accident and Tanya`s disappearance. "Anything that`s even remotely close has been gone over several times. It`s a mystery."
Investigators have two working theories to explain the oddities of the accident. 1. An injured and disoriented Tanya wanders off in the snow and collapses at some unknown locale. Remember, one of her slippers was abandoned in one of the snow prints. 2. Someone must have picked her up in a vehicle with an offering of aid.
The first option or solution has all but been eliminated. Authorities have combed that area thoroughly. I didn`t notice any drifts of snow all that big, when watching the news. The second option is more likely. A loner picked up Tanya. But she never called family or showed up at a hospital of some kind. Here`s where the trail grows cold.
I was seized with bewilderment around 4 PM yesterday when first encountering this story. I was saddened by the death of Elizabeth Edwards also, it came on so suddenly, but at least we can explain it in terms of the cancer that she suffered from for several years. Tanya`s disappearance made no sense whatsoever, unless we factor in the possibility of foul play.
After work I ran some errands, a trip to my neighborhood Walgreens, then a light bite at the salad bar of Wheatsville. Okay, so I picked up a vegan brownie for the road, because I was anxious to further research the Shannon story. When I got home I printed off 8 or 9 different versions of the story. They all gave the same accounts. Second hand news, where one copies the other, I figure. I favor the Chicago Tribune, since it`s closer to the source. I will say however, The Daily Mail from England always has more photos. Daily Mail has pics of the rural crash site-isolated, flat farmland, road stretching for miles into the distant horizon. Nothing out there as far as the eye can see.
The blurry photo of the Shannons at the Christmas party is taking on more importance. You can clearly see the red gown that Tanya was wearing Saturday night in Streator. I keep staring at this photo, it`s telling me something. I don`t know what, though? Oddest case I`ve ever come across. Will be checking the news periodically today. Will pray for a happy ending.