Family Members Hope Human Skull Could Be Link To Missing Woman Case

OCTOBER 4, 2004 -- Posted at: 7:00pm CDT

The last time a family member looked into Sheila Ann Johnson's brown eyes was January 18th, 1989.

"The people that she had the appointment with called us and told us that she didn't ever show up and had we seen her," said Carolyn Johnson, Sheila's sister-in-law, who lives in Jackson County. "She was pretty attached to her kids. She wouldn't have just gone off and left them."

The morning Sheila went missing, Carolyn said she pulled into the parking lot at what was at that time the Jonesboro Police Department at 524 S. Church Street. She went inside. Someone saw Sheila come out and get into a car. That was the last time she was seen.

Carolyn and her husband became parents to two of Sheila's three children.

Carolyn explained, "The girl, Jessica, turned 21 last month, and Brian was 19 in August."

At the end of September, the skull of what investigators believe is a petite adult was found in the northern edge of the St. Francis Sunken Lands Wildlife Management Area. Carolyn said Sheila stood about 5'5" tall. Her children were preschoolers the last time they hugged her small frame.

"They want to know what happened to their mother, and I don't blame them," said Carolyn Johnson. "I want to know what happened to her too."

A copy of Sheila's birth certificate was kept along with the newspaper article that was printed after she was reported missing. Carolyn said having a death certificate would at least bring an end to a decade and a half of searching.

"They think they know who did it. They just said that they think she's dead, and that if they ever find the body, then the person that they think did it would be going to jail," added Johnson.

Carolyn Johnson has been encouraged by the sheriffs in both Dunklin and Craighead Counties to collect a DNA sample from Sheila's mother. Investigators can't do any further work on the case until a forensic anthropologist studies the skull.