Family pleads for leads in marina murder case

TOLEDO Esther Swope stood on the front porch of her little white east Toledo house Thursday morning,
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010



Esther Swope stood on the front porch of her little white east Toledo house Thursday morning, framed by the broad shoulders of her two sons.

She dipped her head to stifle tears as she asked the public for any information that might help police find out who strangled her 26-year-old daughter and dumped her body in a remote Ottawa County marina.

Authorities from the Ottawa County Sheriff's office and Toledo police continue to investigate the murder of Jennifer Shively, who they say was last seen alive Aug. 15. They have not said where they believe she was last spotted.

Shively's body was found Aug. 25, bound with rope and duct tape and weighted down by concrete blocks in Lamberjack's Marina in Carroll Township.

Investigators said they are following up on leads that might reveal when and where Shively was killed, and, most importantly, who might have done it.

"Sometimes I don't even feel like it's real. Sometimes I don't want to think that's her," said Raymond Smith, Shively's brother, through tears.

He and his brother, Jerry Smith, wore black T-shirts printed with family portraits and the words "In Memory Of" as they made their plea to the public.

Raymond Smith and his mother identified Shively after they saw pictures of her tattoos on an evening news broadcast.

"If anybody knows anything about my sister's murder, please contact the authorities," he said. "We lost a loved one, and it's tearing the whole family up."

Shively was the mother of five children, ages 9, 6, 4, 2 and 1, who were not in her custody.

Raymond Smith said the children who are old enough to understand they'll never see their mother again are taking the loss very hard.

"She was a good person," he said. "She had her problems in the past, but everybody does."

He said Shively's violent death and the knowledge the culprit is still on the loose makes it harder to cope with the loss.

"It ain't like she just died," he said. "Someone just took her."