Charles Rex Arbogast, Associated Press
RANSOM, Ill. — Dozens of searchers braved frigid temperatures on Tuesday to search a remote area in northern Illinois for a 40-year-old mother of four who has been missing since a weekend car crash that killed her husband.
Authorities say Tanya Shannon, of Ransom, may be dead and her body may be buried in the snow, but that they're not ruling out that she may be alive.
"It's just one of those weird situations," said Sergeant Jeff Whalen of the LaSalle County Sheriff's office. "We have no idea what happened."
The part-time waitress has been missing since Sunday, when a sheriff's deputy found her husband, Dale Shannon, dead behind the wheel of their car, which crashed in a rural area about 70 miles southwest of Chicago. The couple left the holiday party sometime after midnight Saturday. Authorities said it was snowing at the time of the crash, which happened a few miles from the couple's home.
Authorities believe Tanya Shannon may have tried going for help. A set of footprints was found in the snow leading away from the car, as well as one of Tanya Shannon's slippers — she had apparently changed out of her heels for the ride home.
"We just want her home," said Shannon's sister Corinne Johnson of Ottawa. "I just want to find her."
Johnson said she last heard from Shannon through a text message around 9:45 p.m. Saturday. It read, "I can text ya 2morrow at dales xmas party all dressed up."
Shannon, described as a five-foot-two, 125-pounds, with shoulder-length strawberry blonde hair, was wearing a red dress at the party.
Johnson said she and her sister talked about the condition of the roads before the party, and that Shannon said she wasn't afraid to drive on them, especially since she'd lived in Illinois for twenty years.
At first, Johnson said she thought the disappearance was due to "something silly." But she said she changed her mind as crews searched for a third day Tuesday without finding any clues.
"I wasn't thinking something drastic like this," Johns said. "She just wouldn't walk away from this, this is her life."
More than 35 searchers carefully scanned the area near the crash site on Tuesday, using poles to probe snow banks, metal detectors in ditches and even a helicopter to blow away snow and fly over the area.
Because of the cold temperature hovering around 20 degrees, searchers on foot only went out for an hour at a time, coming back to a command center to warm up and get their blood pressure checked.
"It's just a continuing search, I wish we had more," Whalen said.
The couple's four children — who range in age from 4 to 15 years old — are in the care of family.
"The kids are doing as well as expected," Johnson said.
Information from: WSPL-AM, http://www.am1250wspl.com
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