‘She was a good person’: Daughter mourns as details emerge about murder of woman whose remains were found on porch

Shannon McCarthy, 43, charged with murder in death of her partner, Heather Sheppard

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A newly released arrest report revealed that a 43-year-old Jacksonville mother whose remains were found on the front porch of a Westside home earlier this month was shot multiple times.

Heather Sheppard had been reported missing by her family the week before.

Her body, the arrest report said, was concealed under a blue tarp and covered with ice packs.

Sheppard’s partner, Shannon McCarthy, is now charged with second-degree murder and making a written threat to kill.

McCarthy’s arrest report says she went to great lengths to cover up the crime.

A missing person poster said 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.”

An autopsy revealed she was shot to death.

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.

Sheppard’s oldest daughter opened up to News4JAX, saying her mother did not deserve to die that way. She wants her mother to be remembered for the person she was.

“She was a good person,” Samantha McGehee said. “She loved to tell people she loved them. That was something she always made sure to tell people when she was leaving, if she was getting off the phone, anything like that, she loved them. And she did her best in everything she did.”

McGehee says the last few weeks have been unimaginable. She hopes sharing her mother’s story will send a message to someone else in a similar situation.

“If you can leave, you should try. It’s hard but it may save your life,” she warned.

Sheppard leaves behind three children and hoped to one day be a grandparent. Her daughter said Sheppard loved her children, the beach and was loved by everyone.

“I remember her smile. I remember how she always cared. She wanted to do anything she could to help anyone.” McGehee said.

As the murder case against McCarthy gets underway, McGehee plans to attend all of the hearings.

“She’s got to know that she took something important. And we’re going to be there to see that she pays for that,” McGehee said. “That my mother was not alone. We will be there for her.”

About the Author:

Ashley Harding joined the Channel 4 news team in March 2013. She reports for and anchors The Morning Show.