In the past decade, nearly 26,000 murders have gone without an arrest in major American cities. Of those, more than 18,600 of the victims -almost three-quarters -were black, according to TheWashington Post.
Shenikas body was discovered on January 12, 2010, near 64th Avenue and Indian School Road, in the parking lot of Arizona Korean Presbyterian Church at 4:54 A.M. She was 23 at the time of her death, and the killer has never been caught.
Shenika grew up in Phoenix, Arizona, and attended WestView High School in Avondale. She had three young girls ages two, four, and six at the time of her death, who are now being raised by her sister and grandmother. Her sister Kareka described Shenika as the life of the party, a genuinely fun person to hang out with who, brought joy to all those who knew her. She also recalls that Shenika hoped to eventually open a dance studio for kids, to pursue her passion for dancing. Unfortunately, her dreams would never come true.
“I just want them to have a conscience and know that her kids are hurting and her family is hurting.” -Kareka Watson
According to witnesses, Shenika had left her home with a friend the night of her disappearance. But what transpired after that remains a mystery. Her body was reportedly discovered by a garbage man making his rounds. Though not much more information is available, it’s clear that the police had a suspect, a black male driving a Chevy, possibly with a fin on the rear of the vehicle. Police chose to withhold the cause of death from the public, but they did state that it was an extremely brutal crime. Maybe it’s better that we don’t know. There were a few reports that her hands and feet were bound when her body was discovered by police, but I can’t confirm whether that’s accurate information.
“It’s obvious that this was not an accidental death, somebody harmed her intentionally and that somebody needs to be taken off the street.” -Phoenix Police Sgt. Jamie Rothschild
This case is a bit bewildering. Between the lack of media coverage and the lack of information from law enforcement, it feels as though (in my opinion) Shenikas death was not investigated as thoroughly as it should have or could have been. I understand withholding information from the public as part of an ongoing investigation but as far as I could tell, no one was ever arrested in connection with the murder, and they never released a full description of the suspect. I’m not a detective but it seems to me that sharing the description at some point over the last ten years could have brought in some fresh leads. No matter what really happened, or who the perpetrator was, I hope someday this case will be solved some day. Her sister and other members of her family appear to be the only ones who are still fighting for answers in this tragic case. They deserve to know what happened to Shenika, and she deserves her justice.
If you have any information regarding Shenikas case please contact Silent Witness at 480-W-I-T-N-E-S-S, 480–948–6377, or 480-T-E-S-T-I-G-O for Spanish speakers. You can also leave an anonymous tip on the silent witness website at silentwitness.org. There is currently a $1,000 reward for any information that leads to an arrest.