The Jan. 1, 2017, murder of Teresa Shields in Middletown remains unsolved, but not forgotten.
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New posters have started appearing in the city featuring the face of 26-year-old Shields, who was fatally shot while a passenger in her boyfriend’s car. The posters include reward information and a simple message: “Do you know who killed my daughter?”
The posters are part of an effort from a Cincinnati mother who knows the pain of losing a child to violence and then waiting for answers.
Hope Dudley’s son was killed in a drive-by shooting in Hamilton County 10 years ago. That is when Dudley became an activist for victims, founding the group U-Can-Speak-For-Me. The group distributes posters, flyers and playing cards featuring photos of crime victims to prisons and jails, along with public locations, in the hope that someone will come forward with information.
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U-Can-Speak-For-Me’s efforts came to Butler County last year with a poster featuring the faces of several victims in unsolved homicides.
Dudley said she was not able to include Shields’ photo on the Butler County poster before it was printed.
“But I just had to do something. This family needs support,” Dudley told the Journal-News this week.
Within the past two weeks, 27 posters and 250 flyers featuring Shields’ case were printed. Posters are hung throughout Middletown, and Dudley said she mailed the fliers to Shields’ family to distribute.
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“I say it it is not when you start, just that you start,” Dudley said, noting just knowing someone wants to help and offer support can give families what they need to push through grief and continue to spread the word about their loved one’s unsolved homicide.
“It is important to keep these cases and faces in the public eye,” she said. “I can say my son was murdered, but if you see his face it has much more impact. I pray someone comes forward with information for this Middletown family.”
Twenty-eight shell casings from large caliber guns were recovered from the shooting site where Shields died on New Year’s Day at the intersection of Wicoff Street and Roosevelt Boulevard.
Since then, Middletown police detectives have traveled to Chicago and recovered a vehicle they said is linked to those involved in the fatal shooting.
Drugs and money were the motive in the shooting, but Shields wasn’t the target, according to police.
“It’s drugs,” Middletown Detective Steve Winters said. “I think that you have people attempting to excel in the drug game and in so doing you are taking different people out. I think there was a fight over drugs and money with two separate groups.”
In April 2017, Shields’ boyfriend, Steve Waldon, 34, was sentenced to prison for seven years for felony drug abuse and drug trafficking. Three others were arrested with him and also received prison sentences.
Middletown Police Major Scott Reeve said the case remains open and is not considered a cold case.
“It is worked on and we do get information,” Reeve said. “Getting someone to cooperate that has first-hand knowledge is what is needed.”
Middletown Police Chief Rodney Muterspaw said cases like these can not fall by the wayside.
“We refuse to let it go and refuse to let it be ignored. We owe that to the family. We have to speak for Teresa since she is not here to speak for herself,” he said.
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