HOUSTON CO., TX (KTRE) – Houston County investigators say they need relevant, reliable information to help them close the books on what happened to a 32 year old mother who vanished without a trace from her ex-husband's house 11 years ago.
Her name is Dina Shoemake. "We've got no viable information that she has ever made contact with anyone since that day," Sheriff Darrel Bobbitt, Houston County, recalls.
It all started at Shoemake's ex-husband's house. Investigators say she had made the trip near Latexo to visit her children. Her then live-in boyfriend reported her missing on January 19, 2000, after she failed to return home. Her ex-husband, Curtis Shoemake, was the last known person to see her alive.
"She was going over there to take care of something for the children." Although, investigators say he told them a different story. "That she had been to the residence, but that she had left with an unknown individual," Sheriff Bobbitt said.
When investigators arrived, Dina's car was still parked at the home. "From a law enforcement stand point, and just a person, that seemed to be an alarm to us that a mother would leave and not check on her children, would not try to inquire about those children at some time or come back to see them."
And, that's why they keep trying to find out what really happened to then 32-year old Dina Shoemake. "We have on numerous occasions throughout the years followed up on particular leads."
It's one such lead that put Bryan Lake, a ranch owner, and his now deceased father, in the thick of the investigation. "It was eery. We had the crime scene tapes all around the entire place."
A tip led investigators to the bottom level of an old nudist colony lodge. They went in breaking up and digging up the concrete there because that is where they though Dina's body could be found. The Sheriff's team focused on the Lake's ranch after someone who had worked construction on the lodge called them. The tipster told them about some "funny business" going on right before they poured the concrete floor on the underground level of the lodge. "While he was building it, the Sheriff's Department believes that one of the hands buried somebody under the concrete floors before they poured the concrete on it," Lake recalled. It turns out, Lake's property is about a mile away from where Curtis Shoemake lives, the last place his ex-wife was seen. "Her ex-husband was a welder and he could've worked on that lot," said Sheriff Bobbitt.
"When I arrived the Sheriff got out and had all of his deputies there. They walked to the area they thought she was in and said, 'everyone this is a crime scene - expect you to be respectful - document everything they have," Lake said.
Investigators brought in a backhoe and jackhammers to break up the concrete, but discovered nothing and soon gave up on finding Dina's body there. Then, back in 2005, the newly formed Crime Stoppers in Crockett decided to spotlight what was then only a 5 year old Missing Person's case. "Every now and then, we'll contact family members if we've heard a particular thing and were asking a particular question and sometimes family calls us just to see if there are any new leads," Bobbitt said. "I believe there are people out there who know what happened in this case. I wish they would come forward."
After more than 10 years of trying, Sheriff Bobbitt says it is time to solve this case and provide the family with some closure. He's asking anyone with information to call Houston County Crime Stoppers. Crime Stoppers is offering a $5,000 reward.
They don't want your name, just your tips. Call 936-545-TIPS(8477).