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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Woman Claims to be Girl Missing Since Age 6

Aired July 29, 2003 - 19:27   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Well, police today continue trying to confirm a stunning claim that could end a 17-year-old missing person's case.
We talked about this a little bit last night. Now an update.

Shannon Marie Sherrill -- that's the girl's name -- she disappeared back in 1986. Well, now a mysterious woman has claimed that she may be Shannon.

CNN's David Mattingly has been on the story and joins us with the latest from Tipton, Indiana -- David.

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, we've got a 17- year-old mystery that's growing more mysterious by the day.

On Saturday, a woman called Dorothy Sherrill of Thornton, Indiana, and gave her the incredible news that she believes she could be her long lost daughter, Shannon.

Shannon disappeared back in 1986. She was abducted at the age of 6. She was last seen playing in her yard outside her mother's home. There have been leads, but all of them fruitless.

A couple years ago an age enhanced photo was created. This is what Shannon could have looked like at the age of 19. If she's alive, she is 23 years old now.

Shannon's father, Mike Sherrill, over the years has passed out thousands of Shannon's pictures. And he's been in a unique position to do that because he owns this small dinner and this gas station on what is a very busy intersection here in central Indiana. It's something of a landmark known for its very direct advertising slogan that reads: "Eat Here and Get Gas."

When truckers, in particular, come here, they are given a handful of fliers of Shannon's photograph. So for that reason, Shannon's picture has been seen all across the country and the search has never ended. This being the heart and soul of that nationwide search for Shannon.

Now, as for right now, Shannon's father's trying to go about his daily business as much as he possibly can. He can't eat, he can't sleep, but he says that this time he feels like he's never been closer to finding Shannon than he does right now -- Anderson.

COOPER: Unbelievable. David Mattingly, thanks for the update.

Seventeen years of hoping, that's what this man has been doing.

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