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Man convicted of killing child charged with murder of missing Shannon Rippy


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- The search for a missing woman might have ended Tuesday night. But, not the way family and friends had hoped.

Tuesday, police accused James Bradley, who was convicted of a 1988 murder, of killing Shannon Rippy Vannewkirk. She was last seen alive April 5 at the Husk bar in downtown Wilmington.

After countless prayers, more than 20 days of searching and more than 1,000 hours of detective work, police now believe they have found Vannewkirk.

"Our gut told us early on this was not going to be a good outcome," Police Chief Ralph Evangelous said at a Wednesday morning news conference.

Tuesday morning investigators discovered human remains off Hoover Road in Hampstead.

"We are waiting on confirmation of those remains from the medical examiner's office," Evangelous said.

Bradley has been charged with murder before. According to a 1988 story in the Fayetteville Observer, Bradley killed his 8-year-old stepdaughter by beating and strangling her.

He was released from jail in 2013. Tuesday night, police arrested him at a traffic stop.

Investigators have not released many details in the case. They think that Vannewkirk and Bradley knew each other.

Friends say they both worked for Mott Landscaping. We reached out to the owner, but have not heard back.

Bradley also declined an interview. He is in the New Hanover County Jail without bond.

Vannewkirk's friends say they are in shock. They said they were too distraught to talk to us today.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.


Just google "White Girl

Just google "White Girl Bleed a Lot: The return of racial violence and how the media ignore it.

Well that sure shut

Well that sure shut everybody who thought they already knew everything up....

Body not Rippy.

We now know that another murdered victim was buried and was not the missing woman. This is even worse, now we know that someone else is missing a loved one. I pray for the family and I also pray for Rippy's family who was told that the body found was Rippy. That had to have been very painful. Are there more bodies out there buried? It is very strange indeed for another body to be found in the area on property nearby or owned by the employer of Rippy and the man charged with her murder and now suspected of murder of the body found this week. What next?

Updated on the news is that

Updated on the news is that it was NOT Shannon's body but this man is Still being charged for her murder. Murder with no body? CROOKED!

Crooked indeed

I've never in my life heard of someone being arrested before they get a positive ID on the body. I've also never heard of someone being held accountable for a crime they weren't even originally being accused of. Does anyone else think it's odd that this body is on Mott's property? Why is he not a suspect? Is it because he's white with no criminal history? Also, no one thinks it odd that he's considering closing down his business? I swear if he skips town and we do find Shannon and find out he may be involved, lots of people are gonna be looking might stupid. If it turns out that Bradley is not guilty on either count, he better sue. They have put him through the ringer all on a hunch, nothing really solid. He lost his job, his freedom, and if he's no guilty and is free to go, his name has been dragged through the mud to the point of no return. People can rehabilitate... it's society who refuses to let them.

Shannon Rippy Vannewkirk

People are convicted of murder all the time without the body being found. Why should they benefit because they hid the body better than their cellars?

You don't have to have a

You don't have to have a body to be convicted of murder. It is more difficult to prosecute but has been done quite a few times. He is also suspected in the murder of the unidentified body so this strange story if bound to unravel eventually.

There is no rehabilitation

There is no rehabilitation for a murderer! Especially murdering a child. Our government system fails us everyday. We pay taxes so this doesn't happen. Gov. doesn't care about what's right. There is no profit from murderers being killed by execution. The longer an inmate stays in prison the fatter someone's pocket gets. And every time a prisoner is booked someone receives a paycheck. This is why u have murderers convicted and still killing. You shouldn't have "rights" when convicted of murder or rape. Did the offender care about the rights of the victim. Not even for a minute, so why should we care about his? to murder a child you have no soul, no reasoning, nothing but a savage mind that need to be extinguished. I hope the judge who let this man out after 13 years is haunted for the rest of his/her life by the child and woman this man has taken from the world!


The local banter in this forum is repulsive, out of hand, and outright ANNOYING! Shut up with your ignorance and political stupidity!

When and If this "Recently Released Murderer" is found guilty, THEN we will know for sure. UNTIL THEN, this is like all news....just stories.

Since the News CAN AND DOES LIE, no one can be sure what is true and what is the typical local bias.


Maybe, Justice will be served, but don't expect it, because this area is full of small town mentality and bias IS what makes many arrests NOT PROOF. That has been proven time and again.

I do hope for Justice, but that will only come if some OUTSIDER makes it happen, as we've seen the incompetence of the local authorities...even when hired to work on a set and somehow things get STOLEN on their watch. Just a reminder of WHERE YOU ARE I guess.

Stop ruining our film industry with your ignorance, people. You are why many Film jobs LEFT HERE!

RIP Lovely Shannon. You, unlike many, Rocked!


What the hell are you talking about? You need to be medicated. STFU already.

Even if...

Even if the news has this wrong...even if the cops have it still begs the question as to why was this convicted murderer released back out into the civilian world? Serving 13 years for murdering a little girl and dumping her body in a trash can...well, I don't care how high and mighty you consider yourself...this bastard should never be free again!

convicted murderer murders again!

Wow. The news article states this animal murdered the 8 yr old girl and threw her little body in a dumpster. She was then dumped in a landfill.
Who thought it was a good idea to let this freak ever walk out of prison after such an act?
If he had been made to serve his life sentence this innocent woman would be alive now. May she rest in peace and strength for her family and friends.
He was set free and less then a year later murdered again. Makes no sense. I agree if his employer knew he was a child killer he should have let other employees know. I doubt anyone would want to be friends with a person who had just recently been set free from prison after murdering an innocent little girl!!
There are some cases where a person like this really should get the death sentence.

This is outrageous that this

This is outrageous that this man was walking among us in the community and how many more murderers are out there with the same free will to roam and hurt others as they please. I am also equally disgusted that the owner of Motts hired him after being released from prison. I know their are laws regarding discrimination, however he was and is a murderer and to put your employees in jeopardy is irresponsible beyond words. My heart goes out to the family as I first saw the flyer at a restaurant in Wilmington and know that she was loved and cared for by many. Our judicial system is so screwed up and the simple fact is that criminals have more rights than law abiding citizens. Shame on the system for letting him out and shame on Motts landscaping for putting your employees at risk!

killed 8 year old child

This sick trash killed his 8 year old step daughter in 88. AND THEY LET HIM OUT???? FAIR SENTENCING ACT my ass. Thanks Jim Hunt.

Cart before the Horse

Before ya'll grab a rope and find a tree, how about this man be allowed his due process rights and remember that he is innocent until proven guilty?

I am not taking sides, just saying that jumping to conclusions about an arrest when there has been NO press release as to what evidence that they have against the man leading to his arrest is foolish.

Those without sin shall cast the first stone.

Wow cart before the horse

Wow cart before the horse arent you putting the cart before the horse? Hes already been convicted of capitol murder in the death of his step daughter and served 23 or 24 years for that. Are you really saying give him due process???? You must be insane yourself? You most def put the cart before the horse earning your name but do you think its so far fetched that he has killed again? You must be a politician and while I hate politicians you are the worst there is no innocent before proving guilty anymore this country lost sight of that a long time ago and when ppl start to realize that I hope you make our government see the wrongs of the judicial system and finally make them right.

Obviously, You condone what

Obviously, You condone what this man did......twice. If any ropes or trees are sought, whoever turned him loose one year after killing a child should share his fate.

Not So Obvious

I read the post by Fishwife...twice! Your reply was so far off base, it doesn't even rank on the pathetic scale. The poster didn't condone nor judge. Basically, Fishwife only repeated what our Bill of Rights paraphrases...that suspects are innocent until proven guilty.

Granted, this POS Bradley is hardly an innocent person and should not have been set free after killing a child. And it's a simple assumption that someone who kills is more likely to kill again...but neither of those issues is proof of guilt in this case.

If he is found guilty of the murder of this person (and/or Vannewkirk), I'm all for sending him to Oklahoma to get his injection (you know...take a while and, hopefully, make it sting a little). Until then, he's innocent of this crime...however repulsive that may be.

ok,let's say he didn't

ok,let's say he didn't murder this woman,he did,but for sake of argument let's say he didn't.He still murdered an eight year old child.This son of a bitch should have been exterminated,period.HE MURDERED A CHILD!

are you kidding?

He killed an 8 year old CHILD AND ADMITTED IT ! He should already be swinging from a TREE.

..... 'You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.'.

Jumping to conclusions?

Sorry, but what we have here is readers that clearly understand a previously CONVICTED murderer is the ONLY suspect in yet another murder, barely a year after being paroled from prison from his first one. This should've NEVER happened and we can voice our opinions as clearly and as loudly as we desire.

Nobody here is "hanging" anyone, but we will all eagerly await to see if another mamby-pamby courtroom ruling will allow this piece of criminal vermin to live out his years or wear a red jumpsuit and wait for the needle. Either way in my opinion, will give him far too much time on this earth for the disgusting acts of violence he has thrown on our society.

There's MY stone!!! Now, slip back in that easy chair go on back to watching your Jim and Tammy Baker reruns.


Get out of here. Really? Liberal!!

The horse has been out front

The horse has been out front on this cart for a long time. This murderer should never have been released from prison after beating and strangling an eight year old girl to death and throwing her into a dumpster to be thrown into a landfill. You would think that he would have received life without the possibility for parole for such a heinous crime, but no, he was released to murder another victim. I would not be surprised if there are other bodies buried by his hand.


People with your mentality are why these cretins get out of jail and kill again. I firmly believe in bringing back the rope and tree. Our society has gone to hell.

Showing Your True Colors, Aren't You??

If you firmly believe in bringing back the rope and tree, then why hide your identity? Are you ashamed that you are a racist? You just indisputably proved that racism is alive and thriving, but I'll bet you my wife and kids that you'll get in front of people, face-to-face, and swear on your life that you are NOT a racist.People like you ensures that the "United" States of America will never truly be united. You need to pull your head out of your ass and take a good look at the real world. Times have changed, it's people such as yourself who will not.

PS: Go find Jesus, and ask him to help you TODAY!!!!

So, you have to be a racist

So, you have to be a racist if you believe in bringing back hanging? I have seen these comments refer to white defendants as well.

People who see racism everywhere will never change.

Couldn't have said it better

Couldn't have said it better myself. It's one thing to be angry, but it's not cool to go ahead an crucify the man without having all the evidence against him to legitimately declare his guilt.

Does anyone wonder why crime

Does anyone wonder why crime is so bad ? This guy is a "Convicted Murderer". We keep slapping these evil murdering monsters on the wrist. We will hear much more, over the next several years, from the murderers of the CFCC student. After all the plea-bargains, and deals are struck.

Central Prison should execute at least 300 criminals a year, from across NC. And this thug needs to be at the top of the list.

So I understand that he's a

So I understand that he's a convicted murderer... and I understand that they're charging him with Shannon's murder. Has anyone considered the possibility if him behind framed or that maybe Steve has more to ddo with it that originally thought especially since Shannon was found on his property? I'm not saying James isn't guilty, but I'm saying there's other factors to be considered as well. Steve was also seeing Shannon as more than just his employee and it's highly possible that he could have become enraged after finding out she was also going out with James. Just something to consider before we condemn someone without know all the details of the case.

Without even considering if

Without even considering if he is guilty of this murder he never should have been released from prison from the murder in 88. Our prisons are so full that they are letting them out the backdoor and bringing in new ones through the front. Crime rate in this area is very high. I sure don't know the answers but someone who killed an eight yr. old child over a tv argument should never be allowed to return to society.