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AL SHEILA HUGHES: Missing from: Pickensville, AL - 1 Sept 2000 - Age 29

Discussion in 'Missing 2000 to 2009' started by Scorpio, Sep 25, 2016.

  1. Scorpio

    Scorpio Bronze Member

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]


    Details of Disappearance:

    Hughes left her residence in Aliceville, Alabama with her boyfriend of five years, Renard Simmons, at approximately 10:30 p.m. on September 1, 2000. He was the father of her unborn son. The police stopped Simmons's car at a road block in Pickensville, Alabama at 1:00 a.m. on September 2; Hughes was in the car at the time. This is the last time anyone saw her. Simmons later told authorities that he dropped her off at her home at approximately 3:00 a.m. on September 2. She has never been heard from again.

    Hughes's brown purse and her white slippers were discovered under a tree in a cotton field in Noxubee County, Mississippi sometime after she was last seen. An extensive search of the area produced no clues as to her whereabouts. The items were located just west of the Alabama/Mississippi state line. Hughes's disappearance remains unsolved.

    Hughes's family members stated Simmons was unhappy about her pregnancy and wanted her to have an abortion. In a conversation with her older sister the night before her disappearance, Hughes said, "If you don't see me anymore, don't worry about me, know that I've lived my life to the fullest." Her family believes she is deceased, and authorities also think she met with foul play. She was declared legally dead in February 2008, seven and a half years after her disappearance. Simmons died in 2013. Hughes's case remains unsolved.

    edited by staff to fix link to the Charley Project
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 2, 2018
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  2. Scorpio

    Scorpio Bronze Member

    • Missing Since: September 1, 2000 from Aliceville, Alabama
    • Classification: Endangered Missing
    • Date Of Birth: June 17, 1971
    • Age: 29 years old
    • Height and Weight: 5'5, 150 pounds
    • Distinguishing Characteristics: African-American female. Black hair, brown eyes. Hughes has scars on her left arm and lower lip. Her ears are pierced. Her nickname is Boot.
    • Clothing/Jewelry Description: A gray shirt, stretchy white maternity shorts and white house slippers.
    • Medical Conditions: Hughes was nine months pregnant with a boy at the time of her September 2000 disappearance. She planned to name him Renard Simmons Jr. She was due to deliver her baby at any time.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 2, 2018
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  3. Scorpio

    Scorpio Bronze Member

    Aliceville woman went missing in 2000; family hasn't given up hope

    Posted Sep 1, 2016 at 9:00 PM Updated Sep 1, 2016 at 9:14 PM

    Debra Hughes remembers how her sister, Shelia Hughes, was about to begin a new chapter in her life before Sept. 1, 2000.

    Shelia, then 29, was due to give birth to a son.

    “She was saying that when she had the baby, she would stay with me for a few weeks and then find a place,” Debra Hughes said. “She was going to name him Junior.”

    The night of Sept. 1, Shelia was living with her sister in Aliceville when she was picked up by Renard Simmons, her boyfriend and father of the unborn child. Debra Hughes remembers that before her sister left she said something to her that she still remembers to this day.

    “Her last words to me were 'If you don't ever see me again, don't worry about me because I have lived my life to the fullest,'” Debra Hughes said.

    After that, Shelia was never seen again.

    Thursday marked 16 years to the day that she disappeared, but Debra Hughes and her family still hold out hope that they will receive answers one day. In 2008, the family had Shelia declared legally presumed dead in Pickens County Probate Court.

    “In my heart, I really believe she is deceased, but sometimes hope arises,” Hughes said.

    The night of

    Hughes said she always had concern about Simmons account of the night. According to reports, Simmons told law enforcement that after picking Shelia Hughes up that evening, he dropped her off back home at 3 a.m. the next morning.

    However, Hughes said she was at home that night and never saw her come back.

    “I was at home that weekend and he did not drop her off,” Hughes said. “That's what he said, but I was off that weekend, so he did not drop her off.”

    Following Shelia's disappearance, Hughes become more vocal about what she thought happened to her, telling The Tuscaloosa News in 2008 about how she felt about how Simmons "may have had something to do with her going missing."

    “He's shown no sympathy since she disappeared,” Hughes said in that interview. “He wanted her to have an abortion, but she refused and he was really upset.”

    On Nov. 5, 2013, Simmons died. He was never charged in the case, although Pickens County District Attorney Chris McCool said he was a person of interest at one point.

    “The evidence was never clear enough to charge anyone and until the evidence shows what happened and who did it, even if that person is deceased, it won't be closed,” McCool said.

    Keith Cox investigated Shelia's case from the time he was a police officer at the Aliceville Police Department to his time as an investigator for the 24th Judicial Circuit and said Simmons was not the main focus of the investigation, though with his death, some questions remain unanswered.

    “Regardless of what people think his status was, any information we need to clarify with him we can't do now,” Cox said.

    Cox said he is not sure what happened to her. No body was ever recovered and no new information has been gathered in the case in years.

    "Until there is some final closure, you never really know what happened," he said.

    The years since

    McCool, who was assistant district attorney for Pickens County at the time Shelia disappeared, said the case is cold, but not closed.

    “I'm not aware of any new evidence that has surfaced in the last few years, but as far as the case goes, Shelia will not be forgotten,” McCool said. “It won't be closed until she's found and her killer is brought to justice.”

    McCool said Simmons was a person of interest for a time, but that there was never enough evidence to charge anyone. Nonetheless, he said the case would remain open.

    “Finding out what happened is justice,” he said. “I'm not satisfied until we know what happened.”

    Cox, now circuit clerk of Pickens County, said that years later, the case still weighs heavily on him.

    “It's probably one of the biggest disappointments in my career that I could not give this family an answer as to what had happened,” Cox said.

    Shortly after Shelia's disappearance, law enforcement came across substantial evidence: pieces of her clothing that were found in Mississippi. Cox said that unfortunately, the discovery did not yield any further results in the case.

    “There never was a break of any kind,” he said. “There was nothing concrete to go on.”

    Cox said the biggest obstacle in figuring out what happened to Shelia was the lack of evidence and, outside of Simmons' account of the night, nothing of note.

    “It's almost as if she just vanished into thin air, but we both know that is not the case,” he said. “It just doesn't make sense.”

    Cox said at one point, law enforcement investigated rumors that Shelia had been seen in different parts of the country. Hughes is adamant that her sister would never have just left her family.

    "If that was me and someone said that, that might be true, but with Shelia, there's no truth to that," Hughes said. "I knew Shelia too well."

    "Until there is some final closure, you never really know what happened," Cox said.

    Despite the passage of time, Cox still has faith that the truth is out there.

    “There's no doubt in my mind that somebody somewhere knows something about this case that can break it open,” he said. “Until the day I die, I will firmly believe there is something someone in this area knows.”

    Gone but not forgotten

    People that knew Shelia said she was very social and full of spontaneity, often planning family trips and reunions.

    “She was the one that kept the family together,” Hughes said. “We haven't had a family barbecue since she was missing because she was the one that used to get it together.”

    She said she still thinks about her sister every day.

    “I often think about what she would be doing now,” Hughes said. “I think about what her child would be like and how he would come to visit.”

    Hughes said she and her family are still recognized from the case.

    “When we are out and about talking about it, other people may ask 'Oh, are you the family of that girl who disappeared who was nine months pregnant,'” she said.

    Cox said he knew Shelia before the case and would often see her in town.

    “She was always nice and pleasant,” Cox said. “She always made a point to speak and she always had a good attitude.”

    McCool said that despite the unresolved case, he has some assurance.

    “I take comfort in the fact that while we may never be able to find answers, the Lord knows what happened,” McCool said. “I hate that we have not been able to provide answers to the family, but again, there are some things that we have to trust that the good Lord has in his hands, but that doesn't mean we won't keep working to find answers.”

    Anyone with information on the case is encouraged to contact the Pickens County DA Office at 205-367-9915 or the Pickens County Sheriff's Office at 205-367-2000.
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  4. Scorpio

    Scorpio Bronze Member


    Name: Shelia Diane Hughes
    Case Classification: Missing
    Missing Since: September 2, 2000
    Location Last Seen: Pickensville, Pickens County, Alabama

    Physical Description
    Date of Birth: Circa 1971
    Age: 29 years old
    Race: Black
    Gender: Female
    Height: 5'3" to 5'4"
    Weight: 140-150 lbs.
    Hair Color: Brown
    Eye Color: Brown
    Distinguishing Marks/Features: She was pregnant and due at anytime. She has a scar on her left arm.

    Dentals: Not available
    Fingerprints: Not available
    DNA: Not available

    Clothing & Personal Items
    Clothing: White maternity shorts, white shoes, and a gray shirt.
    Jewelry: Unknown
    Additional Personal Items: Unknown

    Circumstances of Disappearance
    Shelia Diane Hughes was last seen in Pickensville.
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  5. Scorpio

    Scorpio Bronze Member

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