Hillsborough County authorities announced Thursday afternoon that the father of the 13-year-old-girl found dead in a nature preserve has been arrested, according to Bay News 9.
Janessa Shannon was reported missing July 2, 39 hours after she was last seen. A hiker stumbled upon her decomposing body 10 days later in Triple Creek Nature Preserve.
“Today we arrested Nahshon Shannon, Janessa’s father, charging him with aggravated child abuse and first-degree felony murder,” said Col. Donna Lusczynski during a press conference Thursday. She added he has been booked into jail without bond.
Nahshon Shannon, 37, reportedly left the state shortly after Janessa’s remains were found, which officials say is “unusual.” He also had retained an attorney and stopped cooperating with detectives. At that time, he had not been labeled a person of interest by the sheriff’s office.
Janessa was staying with her father due to “behavioral issues,” said Lusczynski. Nahshon Shannon picked Janessa up from the home of Michelle Mosley, her mother, in Manatee County on July 1 and took her to live with him at his Riverview home. Janessa had been grounded for trying to sneak out of her mother’s house.
Nahshon Shannon previously took care of Janessa throughout most of her childhood. When Nahshon Shannon split up with his long-term partner, Katrina Doichinov, last year, Janessa went to live with her mother.
In February, Bradenton police found Janessa at the Bradenton Riverwalk after she was reported as a runaway. The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office did not issue an AMBER Alert because it tends to consider a history of running away when deciding whether to issue one.
Officials say that at some point, Janessa and her father got into an argument that resulted in Janessa’s death.
“Her body then was taken to the remote location at the reserve in an attempt to bury and hide the body,” said Lusczynski.
During the news conference, Lusczynski said the case was “very complex.” The Hillsborough sheriff’s office worked alongside both Bradenton police and the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office while investigating case leads.
“I can tell you that every person that worked on this case worked hard to get justice for Janessa,” said Lusczynski “I know that doesn’t take away the pain for the family, but hopefully it will help them to start working toward some closure.”
Nahshon Shannon has previously been charged with 11 felonies, including sexual assault, felony batteries and burglaries, and nine misdemeanors, according to Lusczynski.
No one else in Janessa’s family is currently facing any charges related to her death.
Ryan Callihan: 941-745-7095, @RCCallihan