Independence Man Charged with 2004 Murder of Summer Shipp

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- An Independence man has been charged with first-degree murder in connection to the 2004 death of Summer Shipp.

Jackson County prosecutors say that Jeffrey S. Sauerbry, 40, was charged in July in the December, 2004, murder of the 54-year-old Shipp.

Sauerbry was convicted on Friday of first degree murder in another case - the 1998 stabbing homicide of William Kellet in Independence. Following the jury conviction, the charges against Sauerbry in the Shipp case were unsealed and released.

Shipp was last seen on December 8, 2004, while conducting a marketing survey in an Independence neighborhood. Her remains were found nearly three years later in October 2007 by fisherman along the banks of the Little Blue River in Independence.

According to court documents, witnesses reported seeing Sauerbry, working as a door-to-door salesperson for a phone service, and Shipp in the front yard of a home in the 1500 block of W. College Terrace in Independence, where Shipp was conducting the marketing research. Shipp and Sauerbry were seen walking towards Sauerbry's home on the same block.

Shipp's daughter reported her mother missing a few days later. Court documents show that during a later police interview, an associate of Sauerbry told officers that Sauerbry admitted raping Shipp, and that she "would not be coming back."

In addition, court documents show that Sauerbry allegedly told his boss that he was concerned about going back to his house because of the police search for Shipp in his neighborhood, saying, "If I go home, I'll be arrested."

Sauerbry is now in custody in the Jackson County Jail.

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