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


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Submitted: Thu, 05/01/2014 - 3:59am
Updated: Fri, 05/02/2014 - 3:52am
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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.

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53 Comments on "Man convicted of killing child charged with murder of missing Shannon Rippy"


Wendy Barnes
2015 years 8 months ago

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?

Mike Ibara
2015 years 8 months ago

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

Ashamed in nc
2015 years 8 months ago

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!

guest123
2015 years 8 months ago

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.

Hiatus Againus
2015 years 8 months ago

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.

ONE THING IS FOR SURE- SHANNON WAS ONE FUN LOVING COOL CHICK AND SHE IS MISSED. BE AT PEACE NOW SHANNON, THE WILMINGTON AND SURROUNDING AREA PEOPLE WILL ALWAYS HAVE IT’S VAST SHARE OF ASSES, NOW YOU DON’T HAVE TO HEAR IT ANYMORE! Bright side.

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!