One year ago today, a passing motorist found the body of 25-year-old Dusty Shuck â€” a Silver City woman who had walked away from a clinic here nine days earlier â€” near a truck stop on Interstate 70, south of Frederick, Maryland. I’ve mentioned Shuck’s case before, in the context of reforming the way police interact with the mentally ill.
Well, in the past year there have been no leads into Shuck’s death. This week I spoke with Sgt. Arthur Betts, spokesman for the Maryland State Police. He said there are still no witness or suspects. Investigators traveled to New Mexico last year in an attempt to track the victim’s cross-country movements with little success. Police have long thought that she may have hitched one or more rides with a trucker.
“The investigation would be vast and wide,” Betts said, “trying to find out which trucks had loads that originated in New Mexico with an east coast destination.”
The investigation has since been transferred to the Cold Case Unit, which “works to solve homicide cases that have remained unsolved for a significant period of time.”
I’ve been unable to reach Shuck’s mother to see if she has heard anything from police in the past year. She sat with me for an interview last May, and detailed the events that led to Shuck’s disapperance.
Shuck shouldn’t be forgotten. There were 6,326 unsolved homicides in the U.S. in 2005 (the latest year with complete data). That means more than 37% of murders resulted in no arrest. Still, she should be more than a statistic, because her case exemplifies the way our system fails those who are mentally ill.