By Erica Morse
Editor in Chief, VNO
Updated 3:45 p.m., February 21, 2013
(VNO) — Authorities in Texas have announced a second arrest in the disappearance and murder of a young pregnant mother in December 2011.
Twenty-two-year-old Lajuana Long of Graham, TX, was arrested by the Texas Rangers yesterday, and charged with the offense of murder in the death of missing Candice Shields. Senior Trooper Tony Fulton of the TX DPS Press Office told Victims News Online Long is currently being held on $750,000 bond at the Young County Jail.
The former boyfriend of both Shields and Long, 24-year-old Jeremy Thornburg of Sweetwater, TX, remains behind bars at the same facility — also on $750,000 bond — also for the offense of murder.
As the case has now turned from one of a missing person to homicide, authorities will focus on prosecuting those responsible for her death and locating her body.
The last known sighting of Candice Shields was at her family’s home by her grandfather in the late evening/early morning of December 10 or 11, 2011. It was around 2:30 a.m. on December 11 police say she last used her cell phone from inside the residence.
At a press conference one day after Thornburg’s arrest, Texas Department of Safety officials told the media that new information shows Thornburg traveled to Candice’s home on the evening of December 10th, and that the young mother left the home with him in the early morning hours of the 11th.
Roughly three months’ pregnant at the time of her disappearance, Candice was the mother to a two-year-old son, with another on the way. According to her mother, Michelle Quillin, Candice had recently begun working at the local Whataburger, and would have not willingly left her son or her job. In a December 2011 interview, Quillin told The Graham Leader that no neighbors reported anything suspicious in the area that evening, and even the family’s two dogs were not rattled or awoken by anything out of the ordinary. The back door to the home was unlocked; however there was no evidence of foul play.
A Facebook page remains active for Candice Shields, as loved ones and supporters continue to share her flyer and request assistance from anyone who may have information. Volunteers have also begun to plan new search efforts for the woman in and around the area of Graham. To date, no new information has become available as to Candice’s possible whereabouts, according to TX DPS Senior Trooper Tony Fulton.
At the time of her disappearance, Candice was three- to four-months’ pregnant, and weighed 130 pounds. She was 5’5″ tall, with brown hair and green eyes. When she disappeared, Candice was wearing a black hoodie and pajama pants with an “X-box 360” logo.
The investigation into Candice’s murder is now a joint investigation between the Texas Rangers and the Graham Police Department. The Graham Police Department continues to lead the investigation into her disappearance. Anyone with information related to Candice’s disappearance is asked to call the Graham PD at (940) 549-1212.