The Justice Files: Mystery surrounds Cami Shepherd’s death

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WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) – Cami Shepherd’s own cell phone could hold the key in solving her death.

Last April, Shepherd’s body was found in an underground drainage pipeline. She was officially reported missing months earlier.  West Valley police determined the cause of her death was suspicious. To date, how she died remains a mystery.

But according to her family, someone was using Cami’s cell phone on social media, months after her body was found. They, as well as the police, have not been able to make any inroads as to who was doing this.

Kristi Shepherd still has one of the last times her sister contacted her. It was a voice message that Shepherd still keeps.

“Hey, my phone got stolen so do not send any text messages or anything,” said Cami Shepherd in the voicemail.

About two weeks later, Shepherd, a mother of four disappeared which seemed odd to her sister.

“Cami went through some hard times in her whole life,” said her sister, Kristi Shepherd. “But the thing is, she never went more than a few weeks without contacting one of us.”

But days turned into weeks, then months.

Last April, a survey crew stumbled upon a body inside an underground drainage culvert. West Valley police confirmed it was Shepherd.  

Back them, authorities claimed she went into the drain to stay warm.  Her family doesn’t believe that.

“Absolutely not,” said Kristi Shepherd.  “Her apartment is directly behind me in this building over here, so if she was cold she would have went home.”

The family’s private investigator also cast doubt that Cami went into the drain voluntarily. He attempted to lift it himself.

“Just lifting the weight of this lid, I don’t think she could lift it,” said Jensen. “She was petite compared to me.”

Jensen theorizes Shepherd died and somebody panicked and tossed her body into the deep hole.

“They didn’t want to bring light upon themselves or there was foul play here,” he said.

After Cami Shepherd body was found, her sister saw that someone was posting messages on Cami’s Facebook account using her cellphone to send messages about her death.

Last fall that person even tried setting up a GoFund Me account under Cami’s name. The social media messages countinued through November of last year.

“Every time it happened, we sent a screen shot to (the detective) cell phone so he was aware,”  Shepherd said.

But she claimed West Valley police never followed up on the cell phone messages.

Shepherd said their request for police to look into Cami’s cell phone records has gone nowhere.

“I just don’t think they have made it a priority at any time,” said Kristi Shepherd. “(I am) angry.  I feel like they don’t think she was important enough to look into it.”

But a spokesperson for West Valley police said they did attempt to gain information from Cami’s cell phone.

In a text sent to ABC4, the spokesperson for the police department said: “It is our understanding that Cami did not have her phone for two weeks prior to her disappearance.  We consulted with the district attorney’s office regarding obtaining a search warrant for the phone and it was determined that seeking a search warrant would not be possible because although Cami Shepherd’s death is suspicious, there is not evidence that would classify it as a homicide or prove that a crime was commited that led to her death.  Without proof of a crime, we are unable to get a search warrant.”

But Jensen said one can’t rule out that person yet. He said Cami Shepherd was either victimized two different times by two different people or victimized twice by the same person.

He still wants to find the person behind the cell phone text and is seeking information about who was with Cami on the night she disappeared.

“It would behoove the person involved in this to step forward and let me know how this came to be so that we can put it in the right light,” Jensen said.  “If police find them, it’s more than likely it would be murder charges and their life would be ruined.”

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