6/26/2008 11:50 PM 1 comment(s) on this story E-mail this story to a friend
By KAREN DAILY
When 34-year-old Lisa Shuttleworth vanished from her Beech Island home nearly five years ago, she left behind family members who agonize every day over the many unanswered questions surrounding her disappearance, holding their breath every time the remains of a woman are found and rumors begin to circulate once again in the community.
Left with just photos of her mother, now 19 years old, Krystina Shuttleworth has started to resemble her mother. With wide-set eyes and a slight frame, she isn't much taller than her mother who, at 5-foot-3, barely tipped the scales at 100 pounds.
While Krystina vividly remembers "mama" and can still hear her voice, she struggles knowing that her younger brother, Ryan, who was just 9 when their mother disappeared, has a difficult time doing the same.
"People have forgotten, but her family hasn't," she said. "Maybe if someone with the least bit of information comes forward, they will have the last puzzle piece we need to find out what happened."
Lisa Shuttleworth was reported missing on Sept. 4, 2003, by her mother, Lorraine Mabrey, when Shuttleworth failed to pick up 9-year-old Ryan from the school bus stop.
Krystina last spoke with her mother that morning to tell her she was planning on catching a ride after school with friends. But later that evening, she began to worry because she couldn't reach her mother.
"About 6 or 7 that night, I called my grandparents and went to the house," she said. "Tea was still on the stove, but it had been moved with a napkin that was still on the handle."
Shuttleworth's purse was gone, but her driver's license and social security card were still there, Krystina said.
Investigator Chuck Cain said Shuttleworth did not willfully walk away from her home.
"It's a delicate case, and we can't say anything to jeopardize it, but there is nothing to suggest that she just walked out of her life," he said.
That appears to be the only absolute.
"She was a single mom, and she would not leave her two kids," Krystina said. "The one thing I know is that she is not at peace - it's been five years."
A freshman when her mother vanished, Krystina has had boyfriends and break-ups, been to the prom and graduated high school, and, fighting back tears, she said she will get married and have kids - all without her mother.
Sadly, she has little hope that her mother is still alive, but she is holding out for justice.
Although the investigation has been labor-intensive, detectives say they think they are headed in the right direction.
"From the beginning to where we are now, we took what was initially available to us and looked at it from a different perspective," Cain said. "That opened up a new avenue for us, around 2006-2007, and it took us in the same direction, but further and deeper along the path."
The investigator said he wouldn't speculate on the events of the morning Shuttleworth went missing but instead is focusing his efforts on finding the answers for her loved ones.
When remains have been found in the community, friends call the family.
Just months after her mother's disappearance, a set of human remains was unearthed in the area, and a friend of Krystina's called with her condolences.
"I just lost it," she said.
There have been several similar phone calls, but none has shed any light on the mystery surrounding her mother's disappearance. For that, the family is relying on the sheriff's office and asking for the public's help.
Shuttleworth's mother said that not having answers is agonizing.
"It's difficult to lose a child at any age," Lorraine said. "I don't care how old, but this not knowing what happened ..."
Krystina and Ryan, now 14, live with their grandparents, Lorraine and Jerry. Krystina said she is grateful for their support.
"It's been 100 percent my grandparents," she said.
The family hopes the "roller coaster" will end soon and both they and "mama" can have peace.
Anyone with information is asked to call CrimeStoppers at 888-CRIME-SC.
Contact Karen Daily at email@example.com.
Lisa "Mabrey" Shuttleworth : 6/27/2008
I want to thank Aiken Standard for publishing this story at least we know that she is not forgotten. We all miss her very much!! Hopefully soon my Aunt and Uncle as well as Lisa's children will have some peace. If anyone out there can help, please come forward. You can speak anonymously... please. Thank You Again, Cindy Mabrey Snipes and Family