Molly Dattilo’s Death: How Did Molly Dattilo Die? Who Killed Molly Dattilo? – Molly Dattilo appeared to disappear without a trace during a party at her apartment complex in July 2004. But the investigation into what occurred seemed to produce few hints and no solutions. One of the two cases shown on the show “Still a Mystery: Indiana Unsolved” on Investigation Discovery highlights Molly’s case. The family has made numerous attempts to find closure over the years but has often struggled with a lack of information. So, if you’re curious about Molly’s fate, here’s what we know.
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Who was Molly Dattilo? How Did She Disappeared
On June 13, 1982, Molly Dattilo was born. She would be the youngest of nine children.
While growing up in Madison, Indiana, Molly discovered early on that there were a few things she truly enjoyed and was very talented at.
Singing was the first. Molly was a vocalist who even received individualized voice lessons. Those who knew her and heard her sing praised her for her prodigious skill. She had intended to attend an American Idol audition in 2004, the year she would vanish. She was delighted to finally make it to an audition later that summer because it had been her long-held dream.
Molly continued to practice her voice and take private lessons throughout her time in college. That’s a quality Molly brought to everything she did: work ethic and resolve.
Running in the competition was another pastime hobby for Molly. Throughout her four years of high school, Molly was consistently ranked among the top 10 high school runners in Indiana. She ran for Eastern Kentucky University for a while after receiving an athletic scholarship there. Molly had recently ended her fourth and last year of competing for EKU in 2004.
In reality, Molly enrolled in some summer courses at Indiana University-Purdue University since she wasn’t quite ready to graduate after four years of college at Eastern Kentucky. An institution in the heart of Indianapolis known as IUPUI provides courses and degrees from both Indiana University and Purdue University.
The Westlake Apartment Complex, on the west side of Indianapolis and roughly five miles from IUPUI, is where Molly and her brother moved in. Traveling wasn’t a problem for Molly because she had a car.
Quite a few young people were residing in the Westlake Apartments, and Molly loved to mingle. She was friendly and enjoyed simply hanging out and being with “her people.”
On July 6, 2004, Molly attended her courses as usual. She went shopping that afternoon to find a gift for her young nephew, whose birthday was coming soon, and to send off some job applications.
Around 7:00 p.m., Molly decided to stroll to a Wendy’s fast food establishment. About a half-mile away from her apartment, she intended to drop off a job application at this Wendy’s. While out and about, or perhaps even at Wendy’s, Molly contacted her brother’s acquaintance. They had a brief conversation before Molly left to return to her apartment.
When she returned, she went to one of her friends’ flats, where numerous others were just hanging out. John Shelton, a young man, and Molly struck up a conversation. After successfully persuading her, she agreed to let John take her for a boat trip on one of the complex’s small ponds. John just so happened to have the inside track because his brother Benji worked as maintenance on the units. John and Molly took a little boat ride after Benji was able to assist John in retrieving the boat from a shed.
After that, they grabbed a quick meal at Taco Bell.
But they didn’t return to the apartments when they left Taco Bell. For some reason, they kept on driving a few miles in the opposite direction after passing the apartments. It is not entirely clear why they stopped at Thornton’s gas station at 11:00 p.m. or where else they might have been going. Molly stepped over to a nearby pay phone to call one of her friends.
Although Molly had a cellphone, it was not with her. There are various theories about why this is, but there are several possibilities. It was 2004 first. Of course, there were cell phones, but they weren’t smartphones in the modern sense, and people didn’t always take them with them. Second, her phone might have needed charging after spending the entire day out and about. Third, she might have left, believing she would only be gone for a short while. Or perhaps she simply forgot.
But for some reason, Molly felt the urge to stop and use a payphone to call a buddy just a few miles from her apartment complex. When questioned about this call later, the buddy replied that she had received a call from Molly, but the connection had been cut off before Molly could finish speaking. She initially assumed they had simply been disconnected; nothing else seemed unusual.
This was indeed Molly Dattilo’s final known communication or attempt at communication.
On July 8, 2004, Molly’s brother began worrying two days later. They lived together in a Westlake apartment complex and frequently missed one another for a day or two before he realized it had been three days. Not only that, but Molly had left the apartment completely, as shown by the fact that all of her possessions were still there. Her ID, ATM card, and cell phone were still in the exact location.
Her car had likewise remained stationary in the apartment complex’s parking area.
Molly going missing for a day or two was not all that unusual. She was often with her friends; at first, it appeared like she was simply hanging out and staying with them.
He was worried when he put the puzzle together and realized that he hadn’t seen her, that she had left her phone and ID behind, and that her car was still parked in the same spot.
To report her missing, he dialed the police.
After more than ten years, Molly was finally legally declared dead in 2017 by the family. The reason for her death is still a mystery, though.
What Happened to Molly Dattilo? Who Killed Her?
Molly ran into a friend who remembered that she had her phone as she was heading to the fast food establishment. Later, the gadget was discovered at her apartment. She first met John Shelton on July 6, 2004, at a gathering held at her complex. Through one of her pals, she got to know him. The investigation found that the two had dinner at a Taco Bell after leaving the party to take a boat excursion. The call came in at about eleven o’clock from a pay phone, although it was three miles away from the apartment in the other direction.
When questioned, John subsequently acknowledged being with Molly when she made the call but claimed to have dropped her off at home. The last person to see her alive was him. Nick, Molly’s brother, delayed filing a missing person’s report since Molly frequently took unplanned travels. Nick, however, was concerned when Molly failed to return home or get in touch with anyone by July 8, 2004. When he called the police, they didn’t take it seriously because they thought she had departed alone.
Molly still had all of her possessions in the apartment, including her wallet, identification, car, and phone, which raised suspicions of foul play. But there wasn’t much information available for the authorities to investigate. The family continued telling Molly’s story, hoping further clues would surface. According to the program, they engaged a private detective two years after John vanished and discovered more about him. For various reasons, he had been in and out of prison.
It was revealed on the show that John’s previous girlfriends warned the family they were afraid of him before the family revealed his name to the world. They claimed that John threatened to harm them and boasted about doing something to Molly. Other women in the household described how he would choke them while intoxicated. However, the authorities could not arrest John without a body or any other supporting evidence. The police received another tip in October 2008.
According to the program, the tipster asserted that on the evening of Molly’s disappearance, John called his father, Edward, and claimed to have killed someone unintentionally. Edward allegedly told him to bury the body elsewhere after that. Soon, the authorities categorized Molly’s case as a homicide inquiry. John has been the only person of interest in the investigation over time. The family received $3.5 million after winning a lawsuit against John and Edward for improper conduct in 2010. The family thought they would never get the money since the Sheltons failed to appear in court.
According to the program, John is serving a sentence in jail for armed robbery and narcotics offenses and will be eligible for parole in 2038. Assuming it occurred on July 6, 2004, the family had Molly officially pronounced deceased in September 2017. Celestra Dewey, her sister, stated, “We assume she is deceased at this moment. So, in my opinion, it is not a form of surrender. Even if someone is declared legally dead, you could continue looking for them.”
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