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Shelly was last seen with her husband of sixteen years, John Markley, at their home on Greenville Road in rural Bristolville, Ohio on December 15, 1995. Their five children went to school in the morning and when they returned that afternoon, the house was unlocked and their parents were gone. The Markleys' red and silver Chevrolet pickup was missing also, and there was no note.
Upstairs in the Markley's residence, their gun cabinet was found open. It was normally kept shut and locked at all times. A small safe in the master bedroom was also open, with birth certificates and other papers scattered around the room. The beds were unmade, and some of John and Shelly's clothes were on top of their bed. A coffeepot in the kitchen was still cooking and had nearly boiled dry. John's wristwatch, which he normally wore all the time, was on a shelf above the stove. Shelly's cigarettes, cigarette case and lighter were on the kitchen counter. She normally took her cigarettes with her whenever she left the house. In the garage, the tarps that normally covered John's 1978 Corvette were missing. He never left the car uncovered.
The Markley children initially believed their parents would return in a short time. John's twin sister died of cancer two days before he and Shelly disappeared. Calling hours at the funeral home were at 5:30 p.m. the day they went missing, and the funeral was scheduled for the day after. John was very distraught over his sister's death and planned to go to the funeral home with his children. The children went to their aunt and uncle's nearby and waited for their parents to return. They went to the funeral home without John and Shelly after the couple did not arrive home. Their aunt and uncle reported John and Shelly's disappearance to the police at 12:30 a.m. the next day.
John's missing truck was later found locked and abandoned in the parking lot of a store in Bristolville, Ohio, ten miles from his home. The keys were missing. Inside the cab was the couple's cellular phone, and in the bed of the truck was a tire for a semitrailer truck and the tarps that had been taken off the Corvette.
The last transaction made on the Markleys' checking account was at 10:36 a.m. on the day of their disappearances, two hours after their children last saw them. A personal check for $1,000, made out to cash and signed by Shelly, was cashed at the Bank One in Bloomfield, Ohio, leaving an $865 balance in the account. The bank teller at the drive-through window stated she remembered seeing the Markleys pull up in their pickup. John was driving and Shelly was seated between her husband and another man, whom the teller was unable to identify or describe.
Shelly was a stay-at-home mother at the time of her disappearance, and is described as a devoted parent to her children. Their home was fully paid for, and they left behind a freezer they had stocked full of food for the coming winter. One of John's coworkers claimed to have been holding them for a $10,000 ransom, but authorities later decided the man was an opportunist who had not been involved in the Markleys' disappearances. He was charged with extortion.
John and Shelly's cases remain unsolved. Foul play is suspected.
Trumbull County Sheriff's Department