About 5 years ago, I started a blog called ZeroGossip.com. I wasn’t sure what it was I wanted to say at the time, but I decided to ride it out and see where it took me. The topics were all over the map, from interviews with celebrities to helping publicize the cases of missing people. Not exactly a focused effort on any topic. While ZG still exists, I’ve decided to create this new blog, this time with a focus. This time around, I hope to get stories out there from cases that, so far, no one has been able to solve. Or perhaps a better way to put it, no one has been able to legally solve. My heart goes out to those who are missing their family or friends and have no idea where they’ve gone. Equally so, the families or survivors of murder victims whose killers haven’t been found. I was shocked to see how many are out there spanning back decades. Can writing about an unsolved crime help 10 or 20 years later? I don’t know. But if there’s a chance, even a small one, it’s worth the effort. To do that requires the help of families, friends and people who may have any information…even someone who knows something trivial like a person’s favorite meal. I want to get to know the people who are missing or murdered. I want to know who they knew and who they were.

I’ve already begun preliminarily looking at cases that may be of interest.

Nancy Valentin murdered in Stratford, Connecticut

On September 7, 1990, at approximately 10:45 p.m. Nancy Valentin, age 31 was found lying on the pavement in the parking lot of Rose’s Family Restaurant at 595 South Main Street in Stratford. Ms. Valentin was employed as a waitress at Rose’s and had just left work for the evening.

Ms. Valentin was transported to the hospital where she later expired. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner determined that the cause of death was a gunshot wound. She was the mother of 2 shot, robbed and left to die. From a cold case website: When co-workers discovered her body at 11 pm, her wallet had been missing. At the time of the shooting, witnesses reported seeing a large two-tone car leaving the parking lot. The State is offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the perpetrators of this crime. If you have any information about this case please contact the the Stratford Police Department at (203) 385-4100.

It’s been 21 years. Let’s help this poor family.

Shannon Hercutt originally thought to have died in a car accident. Now murder is suspected.

Shannon Hercutt originally thought to have died in a car accident. Now murder is suspected.

The other case I’m currently interested in is the 2007 murder of Shannon Hercutt. At 40 years old, she was found in her car after it appeared to have gone off the road and down 125 feet into boulders. It was originally listed as a traffic fatality but the investigation later changed that to murder. Tips made to police indicated that she always wore her seatbelt (not when she was found). That piece of information came from her father Ted, who says he is a suspect in her death. From the Knox News:

PIGEON FORGE – Ted Hercutt can think of more than person who might have wanted to see his daughter dead.

But he himself is not one of them.

In fact, Hercutt said in an interview today that he pestered authorities until they agreed to perform an autopsy on the body of his daughter, Gatlinburg businesswoman Dawn Shannon Hercutt.

She was found inside her 2007 Cadillac Escalade off Walker Trail in the Fox Run Resort of Sevier County on Aug. 3. The luxury sport utility vehicle was at the bottom of a 125-foot cliff, crashed against boulders.

Initially investigating her death as the result of a traffic accident, Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper John Pedigo wrote in a report that Hercutt, 40, was driving north on Walker Trail about 11:50 p.m. when she hit her brakes too hard and lost control of the Cadillac.

But when Ted Hercutt learned the windows of his daughter’s Cadillac were down, and she was not wearing a safety belt, he said he knew her death was suspicious.

He said she never drove anywhere with her windows down or unrestrained, so he began pushing for an autopsy, asking three times before it was conducted, he said.

On Aug. 6, Sevier County District Attorney General Jimmy Dunn requested the traffic accident investigation be turned over to the Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Division and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation after new information was provided to authorities.

Sheriff Ron Seals said today that investigators are probing Hercutt’s death as a homicide.

Whether her father was involved or not, I have no idea and at this point I don’t want to have an idea. If I can get in contact with her family and friends, it will be with a totally open mind.

So there it is. Let’s see where this journey takes us. I encourage you to contribute with your comments. Just try to keep it somewhat civil!


Posted on October 29, 2011, in Cold Cases and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I am happy to cross-reference content with you – you took the words out of my mouth in your article. I don’t know if writing about these cases helps, but it can’t hurt either. Wonderful idea, and I hope you keep it up. This information is of such value, and it could be a tiny piece of the puzzle for the truth.
    Take care, and thanks for your interest in my blog as well.

  2. Thanks so much Amelia! Looking forward to reading what you have to say.

  3. I am Jan Sawyers. I was previously married to Ted Hercutt for 2 1/2 weeks. Yes that’s right 2 1/2 weeks. Our marriages was just annulled a month ago.

    The reason we are not together is Tef is dangerous. He told me the things he did. I know he is responsible for his daughters death “Shannon Hercutt”. We have found enough evidence. We have handed it over to Jimmy Dunn, but he will not do anything about this. Can you please help. Until Ted is brought to justice me or his other living daughter will never be safe.

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