Pankey family offering $7,000 total reward for info in disappearance

Shawnta Larae Pankey, 25, of Grangeville

GRANGEVILLE — Investigators continue their inquiries into the nearly four-month disappearance of Grangeville woman Shawnta LaRae Pankey. To facilitate this, her family this week announced it is offering $7,000 total in reward money for information.

According to the Idaho County Sheriff’s Office, the family is offering a $3,500 reward for information leading to her recovery, alive or deceased. Additionally, if foul play were involved, an additional $3,500 is offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible. Tips should be communicated to ICSO and not through the Pankey family, as per their request.

Reward money was raised through a recent fund-raiser held by the family.

“We are still working it actively,” said ICSO Detective Jerry Johnson.

“We still have the belief foul play is involved, but we’re open to any possibility,” he said. Pankey’s boyfriend, Edward M. Mills, 39, of Grangeville, remains a person of interest for information concerning the case.

As time permits, Johnson and detective Brian Hewson are checking at different points along the Salmon River – at its low point for the year -- for signs of Pankey, and they continue to follow up on tips from the public, which are greatly appreciated, he said, and encouraged more information to be provided.

“Even if the public doesn’t think it’s important, it may be,” he said, and so not to assume investigators already know the information. “Anything we can get on this we’re definitely interested in. Even minor tips, we want to hear them.”

Pankey, 25, was reportedly last seen on foot near Pine Bar along the Salmon River on Sunday, April 15, about 10 a.m. where she and Mills were camping. Following an argument between the pair, it was reported she went on a walk. She has not been seen or heard from since.

“We’re trying to stay busy at it and keep chipping away,” he said, noting these kinds of cases can languish for a while until new information comes forward. Those advancements in the case can’t happen without the help of the public, he said.

“We’re hoping to get that one break or one tip,” Johnson said, “that will lead us to her one day.”

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