As each day without their daughter passed, Luis and Yvonne slowly began to realize that Shannon would not be coming home alive.
"My husband, from day one, said, 'We'll never see Shannon again.' But after that phone call he really got a little ray of hope there I think," recalls Yvonne. "Shannon's still alive and the hardest thing was coming to grips within yourself that she's not. That we would never see her again and being able to look at each other and say, 'She's gone. Our baby is gone' is hard."
"It was a reasonable assumption that she was murdered at that point," says Ice.
But if Shannon had been murdered, frustrated investigators could not find any evidence of the crime.
In the months that followed Shannon's disappearance, Hinton became the focus of a feeding frenzy by the Atlanta media.
In Sgt. Ice's opinion, not only was the initial investigation botched, but also the first two searches of the Hinton home.
"In my opinion, that search wasn't done quite correctly. Some things were missed," he says.
So investigators tried again. This time, police used search dogs and a bulldozer to dig up Hinton's yard. Authorities had received a tip from a neighbor that Hinton may have buried evidence there.
One of the search dogs was a cadaver dog, highly trained to only alert on human body remains and blood. Ice says the dog quickly focused under the backyard deck, on a small door leading to a crawlspace.
"The dog got in the crawl space and went nuts. Very, very strong alert," says Ice. "So It indicated to me that a body was stored there."
Ice says investigators took samples and sent them to the lab for testing.
Then the cadaver dog ran to what had been a fire pit in the backyard. A neighbor said Hinton had built a roaring fire there, the morning after Shannon disappeared.
Ice says investigators began excavating the area, looking for clues. "I think he disposed of her. Then he cleaned and he wanted to destroy everything he used. Built a fire pit in his backyard and tried to burn it up."
But investigators were shocked when the samples from the crawlspace came back negative and when they failed to find any human remains in the fire pit.
But what they did find was startling.
Ice says they found wire ties, cleaning utensils, female sweaters and plastic pants that investigators wear at crime scenes to prevent blood from getting onto clothing.
Investigators found eight to 10 women's sweaters, along with other women's clothing. None of it belonged to Hinton's wife at the time or to Shannon. Whom they belonged to remains a mystery. But authorities say they have a pretty good idea why they were buried there, calling them trophies of what might be many other crimes.
"A very distinct possibility," says Ice. Asked if he thinks there are other victims, Ice says, "There have to be."