Murdered – December 1994 – Alexander City
Originally from Eureka, IL, the Shiverdecker family moved to Alexander City, AL, just six weeks prior to Chanty’s disappearance. 15-year-old Chanty was active in sports, sang in the church choir, and was very social. Born with albinism, Chanty had extremely fair skin, white-blond hair and light, pinkish eyes. She was also considered legally blind and wore glasses/contacts to overcome her visual impairments. Chanty did not let any of those traits define or hinder her in anyway and, instead, trained herself to compensate for the lack of depth perception not only in sports but also everyday life, including learning how to ride a bike.
Upon moving to Alexander City, Chanty joined the basketball team at her new high school. She did not typically have practice on Fridays, but an upcoming tournament had the team practicing an extra day. Her parents were scheduled to be out of town the evening of December 9th and made plans for Chanty’s older brother Chris to pick her up from practice.
Chris expected Chanty to call once practice was over, but when she had not called by 10:00 p.m., he began to worry and went looking for her. Approximately an hour later, and still no sign of Chanty, he called their parents who instructed him to call the police while they made the drive back home. The following morning, search parties were organized and focused on a 10-mile area around the school. Though Chanty was initially considered a possible runaway, officials later changed direction and began to suspect foul play was involved.
On February 24, 1995, 11 weeks after Chanty’s disappearance, an anonymous tip led investigators to an abandoned lumbar yard off Hwy 9, where they discovered Chanty’s nude body in a nearby wooded area behind an abandoned mobile home. Chanty’s clothing and backpack have never been found, but her books and purse were found later in the spring off of the same highway as the lumbar yard and appeared to have been thrown out of a car window.
Investigators do not believe the tipster was the perpetrator. There was one potential suspect in Seattle, WA, who confessed to murdering Chanty, along with others in Wyoming and Florida, but officials later determined there wasn’t enough evidence and further investigation discredited his claims.
The investigation into Chanty’s death continues today. While Chanty’s death was ruled a homicide, the cause was undetermined.
Learn more about Chanty’s case in Episode 5 of Unforgotten.