published Thursday, September 13th, 2012

'No luck' in search for missing Shelbyville teacher

HOW TO HELP

Anyone with information about missing Shelbyville, Tenn., teacher Shelley Mook can call the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation at 1-800-TBI-FIND [1-800-824-3463]. For more information about how to donate to search efforts and to the family, go to www.findshelley.com or www.facebook.com/pages/Shelley-Jones-Mook/195150477172504 on Facebook.

The recent search of a Franklin County railroad yard for clues in the disappearance of Shelbyville, Tenn., middle school teacher Shelley Jones Mook was unproductive, but investigators hope renewed attention to the case might jog some memories.

Authorities searched the CSX rail yard in Cowan, Tenn., last Thursday "with no luck finding Shelley," Tennessee Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Kristin Helm said this week. Cowan is about halfway between Winchester and Sewanee in Franklin County.

Bedford County sheriff's officials said Wednesday that there was nothing new in the investigation there.

A $20,000 reward is offered for information in the case, and no charges have been filed. Mook, 24, last was seen alive between 3:30 and 4 p.m. CDT on Feb. 28, 2011, according to Helm, at her ex-husband's home while dropping off their child.

Mook was living in Murfreesboro at the time and was supposed to meet a maintenance person at her apartment at 4:30 p.m. CDT, but she never showed up and has been missing since, Helm said.

Early the next morning, authorities found Mook's late-model Pontiac Grand Prix abandoned and burning near a field along U.S. Highway 41A in Murfreesboro, Helm said. Evidence of an accelerant was recovered from the vehicle, she said.

"TBI and law enforcement in the Bedford and Marshall counties have conducted a couple ground searches for Shelley with no luck finding her in over the last 18 months," Helm said.

The missing woman's ex-husband, Tyler Mook, "gave an initial statement to local law enforcement right after Shelley disappeared and his home [was] searched," Helm said. "He has not been cooperative since that time."

Tyler Mook is a "person of interest," Helm said.

The five- to six-hour search in Franklin County last week involved about 50 searchers from 10 different local and state agencies, according to Helm.

Agents were acting on "some new information about this particular area in Cowan and conducted the search to follow up on that lead," she said. Helm said she couldn't comment on any use of credit cards or cell phones belonging to Shelley Mook.

about Ben Benton...

Ben Benton is a news reporter at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He covers Southeast Tennessee and previously covered North Georgia education. Ben has worked at the Times Free Press since November 2005, first covering Bledsoe and Sequatchie counties and later adding Marion, Grundy and other counties in the northern and western edges of the region to his coverage. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn., a graduate of Bradley Central High School. Benton ...

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