TIPTON - “It could have been me.” The sign was in the hands of 6-year-old Angi Jackson, who bore a slight resemblance to a girl who went missing 20 years ago.

Shannon Sherrill was a shy, frail little girl with big blue eyes, who’d hide behind her father every time a stranger approached.

In her arms she’d carry her favorite doll, the same doll her father, Mike Sherrill, was holding when he made another plea to the community Tuesday to keep looking for his daughter.

“She was a total daddy’s girl. She’d go everywhere with me and do whatever I did,” he said.

Behind him was a small crowd holding a rally at the Sherrills’ gas station off of Ind. 28 and U.S. 31. They were there to support not only him and his family, but all the missing who’ve been forgotten.

Joined by Community United Effort Center for Missing Persons (CUE), the crowd held signs with Shannon’s pictures before she disappeared and pictures that showed what she’d look like now, at age 26. Shannon Sherrill was 6 years old when she was reported missing Oct. 5, 1986, from her Thorntown home.

In 2003, a Kansas woman, Donna L. Walker, claimed to be Shannon Sherrill before police discovered it was a hoax. Walker served nine months in the Boone County Jail before returning to Kansas. She is on probation until 2008 after pleading guilty to one felony count of attempted identity deception and one misdemeanor count of false reporting.

Monaco Caison, founder and director of CUE since 1994, has seen some rallies like Tuesday’s trigger new searches that solved missing-person cases.

After starting the rallies three years ago, there were five cases solved in the first year, she said.

As Mike’s stepdaughter, Kelly Clark has a personal connection to the case.

She’s seen the toll it’s taken on Mike since her mom, Becky Sherrill, married him more than 10 years ago. Clark said she’d want to help him, even if she didn’t know him.

“Having kids of my own that are that age, I just don’t know what I would do if that happened to me,” Clark said.

Most parents don’t. “With parents, it’s not anybody giving them false hope, it’s just that that’s all they have,” CUE’s founder, Caison said.

Mike has never given up hope, his neighbor Donna Bagley said. Bagley believes they’ll find Shannon. “I hope and pray that it is soon,” she said.

“To lose a child to death is one thing, but to lose a child and not know is entirely different,” Bagley said.

Those same reasons have compelled Caison and her fellow volunteers from CUE to help the Sherrills find their loved one, even after two decades.

“I believe there is an opportunity for everyone someday, somewhere to be found,” Caison said. “And with new talents and new technology, I believe it’s very possible.”

The Sherrills’ investigators believe it’s possible, too. The public relations director for Mja Inc., an investigative and search group that works for rewards, wrote their group was notified of an out-of-state inmate that has information on Shannon.

They’re working on the lead.

It’s tips like these that may help Mike find his daughter and finally gain some closure.

That’s why the Sherrills are asking the community to provide them with any information they may know, no matter how obscure it may seem.

Tips can be sent to ShannonTips@aol.com. The Sherrills would also welcome any additional help.

After all, as another line on Angi Jackson’s sign read, “It could be your child.”

Meghan Durbak writes for The Kokomo Tribune, a cnhi newspaper.

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