Nearly two decades after his disappearance, the family of Shelton Sanders still searching for his remains

The University of South Carolina student and Rembert native was last seen in Columbia in June 2001

REMBERT, S.C. (WOLO) — It’s been nearly twenty years since University of South Carolina Student and Rembert native Shelton Sanders was first reported missing.

However, his family is holding out hope that someone can lead them to the location of his remains.

In June 2001, Sanders was a student at the University of South Carolina who also worked as a computer programmer for the university’s medical school.

On the morning of June 20, his mother Peggy got a call she would never forget.

“He was supposed to report to work early, and I said ‘no, he’s not here,” Peggy told ABC Columbia. “He loved to speak, he would make himself very known when he’d go to work, and I just got all nervous and torn apart, and started calling all the hospitals and calling law enforcement.”

After finding no trace of his location for nearly two years, authorities found his car, a white 1988 Oldsmobile Regency, in the parking lot of the Greenbrier Apartment complex near the Columbia Place Mall.

Two years later, Mark Anthony Richardson, whom authorities say hung out with Sanders the night he went missing, was charged with his murder.

“We triangulated his cell phone records and we were able to, on the night that Shelton Sanders was last seen and heard from, we were able to put Mark Richardson’s cell phone records right where the car was found,” said Sgt. Shawn McDaniels, the investigator from the Richland County Sheriff’s Department on the case.

Without a body or a location of his remains, the 2008 trial resulted in a hung jury, and the judge declared a mistrial. 

Since the day Sanders went missing, his family has been following up on every lead that comes their way, looking for any clue that can guide them to Shelton. 

“I’m looking for the one, the one answer that will bring him home, that would bring his remains home,” said William Sanders, Shelton’s father. 

There’s a table in the Sanders home with newspaper clippings and pictures of Shelton, a constant reminder of a son and brother that meant so much to them.

“This area of South Carolina is so big that it would be impossible for me to walk through every wood or wherever he may be,” said Wilveria Sanders, Shelton’s sister. “Please, it’s never too late to come out and say what happened to my brother.

The family is now offering a $25,000 reward if anyone comes forward with information on where his remains could be. 

“We just need him home, we would certainly appreciate anything, if anyone knows anything,” Peggy said.

Family members say they only want one thing.

“We don’t want vengeance, we just want closure,” William said.

If you have any information on where Shelton’s remains could be, call the Richland County Sheriff’s Department or the Shelton Sanders information hotline at (803) 427-4209.

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