JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Human remains found on the porch of a home in the Lakeshore neighborhood belong to a 43-year-old woman who was reported missing weeks ago by her family, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office confirmed Tuesday.
JSO also announced an arrest in Heather Sheppard’s murder.
According to a missing person poster, Sheppard had been missing since June 29 and was last seen at the home on Colonial Avenue where her remains were found July 5 “in an advanced state of decomposition.”
The medical examiner later determined the remains belonged to Sheppard. Her cause of death has not been released, but her death is being investigated as a murder.
Shannon McCarthy, 43, who was identified early on as a suspect, was arrested Tuesday and charged with murder.
“What we were told by the family was that they always had daily contact. The former husband, ex-husband talked to Heather daily. And then Heather, the mother, was on Facebook often during the day,” said Robert Bracewell with the Justice Coalition.
Online court records show a history of domestic disputes at the home between McCarthy and Sheppard. In January, McCarthy was arrested and charged with battery against Sheppard. She was set to have one final court appearance later this month ahead of a trial in that case.
Before her disappearance, Sheppard told JSO she was in fear for her life because of text messages sent by McCarthy on Feb. 5. She also told police she was still dealing with head injuries from a domestic assault by McCarthy on Jan 29.