Mary Jo Shelleby.

1973 Florida Cold Case: Mary Jo Shelleby Found Lying On Dirt Road 50 Years Ago

Mary Jo Shelleby (SCSO)
Mary Jo Shelleby (SCSO)

SARASOTA, Fla. – The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) marks the 50th year for the unsolved murder of Mary Jo Shelleby.

According to deputies, on November 10, 1973, the body of 19-year-old Mary Jo Shelleby was found lying in a dirt roadway at the south end of McIntosh Road in Sarasota.

Shelleby was a student at Manatee Junior College and had lived in the area for a short time. She was known to “hitch-hike” for transportation, and there had been a possible sighting of the young woman at the Land Chess Bar on Main Street.

Read: Without A Trace: Bonnie Lee Dages And Son, Missing From Florida Shopping Center In 1993

An autopsy revealed that she had been raped and determined the cause of death to be a homicide.

Detectives interviewed potential suspects at the time, exhausting all leads and evidence; however, no arrest was made. Over the years, as new technology has developed, articles of her clothing have been sent for DNA testing. The results did not provide any new leads.

The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office remains hopeful that detectives can solve this case and continue to review Shelleby’s file, as no unsolved case is ever considered closed.

If you believe you may have information about this homicide, please call Crime Stoppers at (941) 366-TIPS or SCSO Criminal Investigations (941) 861-4900.

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