A 20-year old Graham woman has been missing for more than a week, and her parents are frantic as they look for her.
Candice Shields was last seen at the home of her grandparents, Johnny and Diana Salinas, in the 1300 block of Pearl Street on the evening of Dec. 10.
?The last time they saw her was at 9:30 or 10 p.m. She was starting a new job at Whataburger in Graham the next morning. She gathered her things to go to bed,? said Shield?s mom, Michelle Quillin. ?My dad got up in the middle of the night around 2:30 or 3 a.m. and checked on her, and she was gone. He looked all over the house. He noticed the front door was still locked, but the back door of the house was unlocked. He looked out the back door and didn?t see her, and he called us the next morning and told us she was missing. She was not in her bed.?
Shields, who is three months pregnant, left all of her belongings behind.
?She just mysteriously left her grandparents? house in the middle of the night. She didn?t take any of her things ? no clothes, personal belongings, no personal hygiene things, nothing,? said her stepfather Ronnie Quillin. ?She?s practically welded to her cell phone, but she left her cell phone, her purse, her ID, money, everything.?
Michelle said she and her husband have talked to neighbors to see if they saw anything that night but to no avail.
?Nobody saw anything, and they have three dogs in the back and two Dachshunds that bark at the drop of a hat. They bark if a leaf gets turned over, and my dad gets up and looks out, and they did not bark that night whatsoever,? she said.
The Quillins, who have recently moved to San Antonio, spent four days in Graham searching for their daughter. Michelle said she knew something was wrong when she didn?t get a call from Candice last week.
?My birthday was Dec. 14, and my husband and I have six children. Out of our six children, she is the first one to call me in the morning,? she said. ?She didn?t call, text, send me anything in the mail. By that evening, I knew in my gut, in my heart of hearts, I knew something was wrong with my baby. We immediately packed and left and headed to Graham Wednesday, and we started asking around and talking to people. We went to the police and filed a missing person?s report.?
There?s also been no online activity for Shields since her disappearance.
?She?s a constant Facebook updater. She?s always on it and there?s no activity,? Michelle said.
The last status update for Shields is dated Dec. 11 at 12:38 a.m.
Shields also hasn?t spoken to her friend she usually relies on in times of need, Marissa Munn.
?She is the one that Candice goes to when she?s in trouble, needs anything. Marissa even said this is not like Candice,? Michelle said.
Munn, along with the Salinas, inventoried the belongings Shields left and determined what she was wearing.
?Marissa knows everything she owns. They were roommates in Midland. She said her black hoodie, her black sweatpants with the Xbox logo and her white Nikes are missing so we know that?s what she was wearing,? Michelle said.
The Quillins fear that because their daughter is an adult, the police are not taking the investigation seriously, but they also know they may not have much to go on.
?They think because she?s 20 that she?s just gone missing because she doesn?t want to be found. But I don?t think so. I think she?s gone because something desperately wrong has happened to her, or she doesn?t want to be found because she?s scared,? said Michelle.
Shields was recently threatened by the ex-girlfriend of a man she was dating.
?We have heard word that?s she?s running for her life,? said Michelle. ?She?s been threatened because of a former boyfriend that she was seeing. His ex threatened to take Candice out because she wanted him back. She made threats in front of witnesses that she was going to take out Candice anyway she could to get (him) back. Police said they have already talked to her, and she denied making the threats.?
Graham Police Chief Tony Widner said Monday that the search for Shields is ongoing.
?We are still inquiring. We are receiving sketchy reports and trying to check them out. We still ask anybody in the public that has spoken with her or seen her to contact us and let us know and if they know where she is, that she contact us to let everybody know that she?s safe,? Widner said.
The Graham PD has entered Shield as a welfare concern/missing person on the Texas and National Law Enforcement computer systems as well as contacted law enforcement agencies in areas where she has been in the past.
?We?re contacting any agency that we have any reason to believe that she might be in their jurisdiction,? said Widner.
The Quillins said as a teenager, Shields did some foolish things, but nothing like this. Michelle said her daughter never went more than 24 to 36 hours without letting her know where she was.
?Everything is adding up to something is wrong, and we hope to God we?re wrong. We?d love nothing more than for her to pop up and go, ?Ha, ha, the jokes on you,? but it?s not looking like that,? said Ronnie.
The worst possible outcome is very real for the Quillins because the family has seen firsthand what can happen in a situation like this. They were close to Bridget Herard, the teenage girl who disappeared in December 2009 and whose body was found six weeks later.
?She was a friend of my daughter. She spent the night at our house two weeks prior to her disappearing. We don?t want this to end up like another Bridget case,? said Michelle. ?This does not need to be taken lightly. We can?t let this go that far. Hailey Dunn, the girl from Colorado City, Dec. 18 is a year for her and nobody?s heard anything. We don?t want her to go this far. This is just something that ... Graham does not need this to happen again.?
She said the rumor mill is not helping in any way.
?There are so many rumors going around that Candice is with somebody or that she has been found. We, as the parents through the media, will let you know when she?s been found,? Michelle said.
She said she is appreciative of the support but hopes the community will continue to look for her daughter.
?It?s great we?ve had so many people post her picture on Facebook and so many people call us and say they?re praying for her safe return, but with as many people looking, there?s been nothing ? absolutely nothing,? Michelle said. ?I hope everyone will comb the fields or if they?re driving or riding their bike, go down a different path and just see. Look for anything unusual. Hopefully, everybody will say a prayer, keep the lights on and let her know that you?re there for her and take another path everyday and maybe they will see something.
?It?s really hard to stay focused, but I?m trying to focus and pray and keep an open mind. I?m trying to stay optimistic, and I know that the Lord will guide her home. I hope that?s enough.?
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https://www.facebook.com/groups/223972177689097/ - Find Candice FB