There was no crime scene, no body, and no evidence of a crime.
All anyone could prove was that 24-year-old Shelley Mook, a young mother and middle school teacher, vanished Feb. 28, 2011 after dropping her six-year-old daughter Lilliana off at the home of her ex-husband, Tyler Mook, in Shelbyville, Tennessee.
Shelley was officially considered a missing person, but her family and friends all insisted she was dead. They argued there was no way she would leave her daughter and never return. Equally suspicious, her credit cards, phone records, and bank accounts went silent.
There is no question about where Shelley was the day she vanished. Her ex-husband, Tyler Mook, has stated under oath that he was with Shelley at his house on the afternoon she disappeared. He says they spent over an hour talking, including about a boyfriend whom Shelley told Tyler may have been cheating on her. Shelley left to do errands and, Tyler says, she promised to be back by 10 p.m. She never returned and her mother notified police when she did not show up for work.
There was one other stunning clue. Her burnt out car -- a Pontiac Grand Prix -- was found miles from her home the morning after her disappearance.
In spite of the suspicious circumstances, authorities have not altered the status of the case from a missing person case to a homicide investigation. They do consider Tyler Mook a person of interest in the disappearance.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt a crime’s been committed. The issue now is can we gather enough information, put it together to get beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law,” Tennessee District Attorney Robert Carter told “48 Hours’” Michelle Miller. “This is a very active case. It’s being worked extremely hard.”
As hard as the case has been worked, no arrest has been made more than five years after Shelley’s disappearance.
There was one other curious development. About a year after Shelley’s disappearance, 911 operators received an accidental call. The caller had apparently “butt-dialed” 911 and not realizing he was being recorded, continued a conversation for 22 minutes. The recorded conversation contained some possibly incriminating discussion about the Shelley Mook case.
The caller eventually identified himself as Tyler Mook.
Kevin Keele is a private investigator who worked for Shelley Mook’s family and consulted with “48 Hours.”
“In a nutshell, it proves nothing. But it certainly, when combined with all the other circumstantial evidence, would lead you to believe that he has some culpability,” Keele said. “My personal belief is that Tyler was involved, and has knowledge of Shelley’s disappearance--the burning of her vehicle--and I believe he has knowledge of where she is now or her body may be.”
Tyler Mook’s attorney has always said that Tyler had nothing to do with the disappearance of his wife or the car.
Years passed and Shelley’s mom gained full custody of Lilliana. Shelley’s case slowed until a development in Florida in October of 2014. Tyler Mook was back in front of investigators, but on a different case. Tyler’s girlfriend, Robin Doneth, accused him of trying to drown her.
Florida prosecutors charged him with attempted murder. His trial took place in May of 2016.
Would that case reveal any clues to what happened to Shelley Mook?
Michelle Feuer is a “48 Hours” producer. She investigated the Shelley Mook case for the episode, “Bad Boy,” which airs Saturday at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.