PODCAST: Unsolved murder case still haunts Alexander City

Published: Mar. 2, 2022 at 10:45 AM CST|Updated: Jul. 12, 2023 at 9:00 AM CDT
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ALEXANDER CITY, Ala. (WSFA) – It’s been 27 years since Chanty Shiverdecker’s body was found in an abandoned wood yard. Decades later, the murder mystery still haunts those in the community of Alexander City.

Her brother, Christopher Shiverdecker, said he is living in a constant nightmare.

“It’s been 27 years this December 9th when she went missing,” Christopher Shiverdecker said, “I believe the thing that’s going to break the case is someone actually coming forward with information. Someone has information.”

Christopher Shiverdecker believes that information will lead to an arrest. Her brother vividly remembers the years leading to his sister’s disappearance and murder.

Chanty always made an impression everywhere she went, he said. She was vibrant and always had a ball in her hand, and she had very distinct features, including platinum white hair.

“She was albino and had spinal meningitis as a child and left her eyes with a constant twitch,” Christopher Shiverdecker said, “but, even with all that, she was always into sports stuff.”

In her teenage years, Chanty Shiverdecker played basketball. So, when her family relocated to Alexander City in 1994, she saw this as a chance for a new start. Determined, the legally blind teen tried out for the high school basketball team and made it.

“She was just incredible. Nothing stopped her,” Christopher Shiverdecker said.

In December 1994 and Chanty and Christopher’s parents were going on a trip to get some of the items they left behind during the move. Chanty and her brother would stay back. But soon, that bright light did stop shining when she disappeared.

“She had a basketball practice that day, and my parents wouldn’t be there,” Christopher Shiverdecker said, “She was told to call me to get a ride.”

Chanty was told to call her brother from a school phone at Radney School, where they were practicing, to pick her up. Christopher was at home waiting, but the phone never rang.

“It didn’t seem odd until about 9 ‘o clock, and even after that, it’s like, well you know, maybe she’s deciding to stay out late because the parents aren’t home and we’re kids,” he said, “But, about 10, I started getting nervous.”

Christopher Shiverdecker hopped in the car and drove around looking for his sister. After about an hour, he called his parents, who told him to contact the police.

“After that, things got really, really bad,” Christopher Shiverdecker said.

Quickly things spiraled, and police started investigating. Her family was still hopeful that she would return soon.

“She had a basketball game the next day, and it was her first big game,” Christopher Shiverdecker said. “Seeing that she was legally blind and tried out and made the team, this was a big deal to her. She would definitely have been at the game and came home the next day.”

Unfortunately, she never showed up. From there, a lot of scrutiny and questions for Christopher Shiverdecker’s family. Many people in the community became suspicious of her brother, “the new kid in town,” and his family.

“We were new to this area, and I was the only one at the house when they were out, and the rumors started circulating,” Christopher Shiverdecker said. “It eventually prompted me to drop out of school and get my GED instead. It was very rough, and kids can be cruel”.

Amid this ongoing trauma, a devastating break in the case. In February 1995, the body of a teen girl was found in an abandoned wood yard located off Highway 9 in Coosa County. The person who made the gruesome discovery noticed a distinct feature: platinum white hair.

“From my understanding, it was a guy who was looking to purchase the land,” Christopher Shiverdecker said. “He went out there to check out the area, and that’s when he made the discovery.”

For years, these questions and this mystery have truly tormented the Shiverdecker family. Authorities immediately ruled the death as a homicide but did not have a specific cause of death. Now, her brother said, there is so renewed hope.

“I would say that for the first time in a long time, I feel very optimistic about this,” Christopher Shiverdecker said. “We are meeting with authorities again. People are talking about it on social media. There’s been a podcast and some interest in the ‘True Crime’ community.”

Alexander City Police Detective Drew Manchen has been on this case and said that Central Alabama Crimestoppers and the governor’s office had offered a reward in the case.

“We have been actively reading through everything, investigating, talking to people for several years,” Manchen said. “We’re following every lead that we get until we exhaust everything.

“I believe the thing that’s going to break the case is someone actually coming forward with information,” Christopher Shiverdecker said.

Her brother says he will never stop looking for answers until someone comes forward.

If you have any information regarding this crime, please immediately call the Alexander Police Detective Drew Machen at 256-329-6746 or CrimeStoppers at 215-STOP.

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