Tulsa Police seek help in unsolved murder

Monday, April 22nd 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

The story of a tragic life and devastating death. Tulsa Police say someone knocked 31-year-old Cindy Shanks on the head and killed her last month, in a fight over money.

News on Six crime reporter Lori Fullbright says Shacks case is an unsolved homicide. Cindy Shanks was killed at an east Tulsa motel on East Admiral in room 114, but there's more to this story than how she died. It's also about how she ended up at the motel in the first place.

Cindy Shanks' best accomplishment was her daughter, Ashlee. Shanks grew up in a small town with a stay-at-home mom. She was first chair flute player, head cheerleader, wrote poetry, went to church, until she was 13, when someone offered her alcohol and her life changed forever. Drugs, running away, getting arrested and worse. Elaine Rutledge, victim's mother: "I don't know what the answer is, I just know I hate drugs. I hate alcohol."

Rutledge did everything, took her daughter in, gave her money, got her help over and over, but, Shanks fell deeper into her lifestyle, until finally, Rutledge was forced to get custody of her granddaughter, who is now 12 and devastated by her mother's death. "She says I pray every night, Mee-maw that my mom will come get me, but, she didn't."

Police say Shanks was with a crowd of people at an east Tulsa motel on March 25th when there was an argument about money, it ended in room 114. Tulsa Police officer Lucky Lamons, "When she was found, she was unconscious, still alive and the people with her said it was a drug overdose, so, there was no suspicion by the police at the time."

The medical examiner says it wasn't drugs, but, a hit on the head that killed Shanks. So, now police are working a homicide and need to talk to the people with her at the motel that night. Especially a man who was White or Indian, 6-2, 200 pounds and around 40 years old with brown, collar length hair.

If you have any information about this case, you can call Crimestoppers at 596-COPS. You don't have to give your name and you could receive as much as $2,000 if the tip leads to an arrest.

Shanks' family says whoever the killer is, not only took away her life, but, also took away their hope that she could someday turn her life around and they all find the happiness they've dreamed about.