South Carolina family looking for closure after cold case spanning nearly 21 years

Shelton Sanders
Shelton Sanders(WYFF)
Updated: Jan. 28, 2021 at 3:55 AM EST
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GREENVILLE COUNTY, S.C. (WIS) - A South Carolina family is asking for help, searching for their son who went missing back in 2001 and they believe some people in the Upstate may know where he can be found.

The Sanders family, near Sumter, said their son Shelton was last seen June 19, 2001 in Columbia.

At the time, he was a senior at USC. That night, they said, he was searching for hotel rooms, helping to plan a bachelor party for a good friend.

He called home to his family in Sumter around 8 o’clock that night, according to his mom, Peggy, and told her he’d be back later than expected.

“I just took it for granted that he would be home in the next couple of hours,” she recalled.

But he never came back.

In 2003, his car was found in a Columbia apartment complex.

And in 2005, Mark Anthony Richardson was arrested and charged with murder in connection to Shelton’s disappearance. Investigators said Richardson was with Sanders the night he went missing.

The 2008 trial resulted in a hung jury.

“After ten years of just cold case, I took it upon myself and my family to try to be unofficial investigators of our own,” said Sanders’ sister, Wilveria. “We don’t have any ill will. We’ve forgiven anyone who’s had any dealings with the murder or disappearance of Shelton and we just wanna bring him home to a proper burial spot, where he belongs.”

She set up a Facebook page and established a tipline, asking for information. Even, she said, if it’s anonymous.

“All we want is to find out where his remains is,” said Sanders’ father, William. “Where he can finally, finally come home to his family. That’s what we are asking for.”

“Then we can have a proper burial and that would be a big thing for me,” said Peggy. “I can have a grave to go to just have words. But not knowing where he’s at is such a big mystery and it’s just unbearable.”

The family said some people who live in the Upstate and they may know his story and where he can be found.

The family is now offering a $50,000 reward for accurate location and discovery of his remains.

“We just want closure. Please help the Sanders family bring closure,” said Wilveria.

To access the Facebook page, click here.

The tipline number is 803-427-4209.

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