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April 02, 2022
In the winter of 2015, mother of two and Florida resident, Laurie Leigh Shaver, informed friends and loved ones that her husband, Michael Shaver, 36, had left her and their kids. Their marriage had been tumultuous towards the end, and they had been apart for a while, but Michael loved his children, and those close to him felt unnerved by his sudden disappearance.
When asked what happened, Laurie explained that Michael had taken off in his car, a black SUV, and watched his Clermont home become a speck in the distance of the rear-view mirror as he drove away from his family, with no intention of returning.
Michael’s boss soon received a text message from Michael’s phone, informing him that he wouldn’t be returning to work, and telling the company to keep his costly and beloved aircraft mechanic tools as he didn’t want them.
Family members and friends received text messages from Michael’s phone demanding they leave him alone. Now and again, he would post similar notions to his social media account asking the same of those trying to contact him.
Michael was last seen in person in November 2015, and beyond messages online telling friends and family not to bother him, no one had physically seen him in person.
Laurie could not seem to keep her story straight over the years and told varying accounts of Michael's whereabouts. She told some that he had relocated to Georgia and others that he had left for California or New York. The story changed depending on who she talked to, with some claiming Laurie said Michael was even in jail for neglecting to pay child support, which was untrue. She told Michael’s mother that he was barely around because he was a pilot. Laurie had even claimed that Michael had been stalking her, which made no sense as nobody had seen them man for months.
The reality of Michael Shaver's whereabouts, however, was far more sinister.
Scott Amatuccio, a friend of Michael Shaver, contacted the local police to request they perform a welfare check on the victim on February 16, 2018, explaining that he had not seen him since late 2015, and that the missing man had not taken anything with him, such as personal possessions and the expensive tools he used for his work. He further explained that he suspected foul play at the hands of Laurie and was unnerved by a concrete slab that had appeared in the backyard not long after Michael's sudden disappearance. On top of suspicions from his friends and family, Michael had allowed his Drivers License, FAA Pilot's licence and Passport to expire.
Officers showed up to the Shaver’s home and were invited in to look around by a cooperative Laurie; however, when they became suspicious at a newly poured concrete slab in the backyard and suggested bringing in cadaver dogs- Laurie was suddenly tight-lipped and showed resistance.
The cement was poured in the summer of 2016 and Laurie and her new husband’s initials were etched into it and he had uploaded pictures of if to her personal Facebook around that same time.
Michael's body was discovered by detectives from the Lake County Sheriff’s office On March 9, 2018, underneath a concrete slab at 9850 Sandy Pines Road, Clermont, Florida at the five-acre home Michael and Laurie shared. Michael Shaver is listed as sole owner of the property.
Officers first discovered a human arm, which was sent for testing and turned out to be that of the missing man.
Police believe the suspect murdered her husband by shooting him and burying him in a shallow grave in the backyard under a paved firepit. Michael Shaver's skeletal remains displayed evidence indicative of murder by gunshot to the head. The victim's body was wrapped in a bedsheet from Kohl's, which corresponded to Laurie's bank records.
Police believe the suspect assumed the victim’s identity, sending messages from his cell phone, updating his social media account, and even penning and sending a postcard his children, stamped from Orlando.
In February 2016, Michael Shaver's Facebook account sent several messages to the account of a woman named Vanessa Townsend- the wife of a Mr. Jereme Townsend. The messages remained unseen resulting in a bouquet of flowers arriving at Vanessa's workplace with a message reading: "Roses are red, violets are blue, my wife is a whore, and your husband is too."
The message instructed her to check her Facebook messages for the details.
Through these messages, Vanessa Townsend discovered her husband, Jereme, had been cheating on her with Laurie Shaver, to which he admitted. He told her that he had indeed had an affair with Laurie, which he broke off the spring of 2016, revealing that Shaver took the relationship too seriously, to the extent that she had his name tattooed above her vagina. He had a "purely sexual" affair with Laurie Shaver, he said, and did not have feelings for her.
Shaver had been messaging Jereme Townsend the month before, enquiring about him still wearing his wedding ring and questioning why he had not yet gotten divorced.
The Facebook messages from Laurie Shaver and Michael Shaver’s Facebook accounts share the same I.P address, suggesting they were sent by Laurie herself to out the affair and have the Townsends split up, however, the couple agreed to work through the infidelity and cooperated with the investigation into Michael Shavers disappearance.
Investigation revealed that after Michael went missing his debit and credit cards were used to make multiple purchases, all addressed to Laurie Shaver. The items included women’s lingerie from Wish.com and items for children from Walmart online. Loans were taken out in his name and money was withdrawn from cash machines until Michael's account was overdrawn. In December of 2015 Laurie began selling off Michael's tools, guns, Ford truck, tractor and even the family home.
Michael Shaver was likely killed between November 7, 2015, and November 10, 2015- the last day he was seen in person and the first day he neglected to go into work. On the last day Michael was seen alive, he was at a tractor show with his family when a co-worker observed him arguing with his wife, who left early. He would never see Michael again. A few months before Michael vanished, he came into work with bruises to his face and body at the hands of Laurie.
Although she was still married to her husband, Laurie married her boyfriend, Travis Filmer. She told Filmer that she was divorced. When inevitably questioned about the divorce by her family, Laurie claimed she had been to the courthouse, along with Michael who was in a separate room. There is no record of this.
Although she herself had partners after Michael, she instructed him that he was not permitted to do the same. She once harassed a woman Michael had been dating so badly that she eventually couldn’t tolerate it anymore and broke up with him for fear of losing her job.
Laurie was arrested at her home in Okahumpka on September 17, 2020, two years after the murder, and charged with second-degree murder, as well as additional charges, in the death of her husband Michael Shaver.
The suspect's bail was set at $50,000 and she was detained in the Lake County jail before being released after posting bond.
The victim's sister, Stacie Turner, told a media outlet, “It hasn’t been easy. I honestly didn’t think it was this long, however, I do know that the police and the DA are still working diligently every single day." Turner said she hopes the family will finally get closure.
Although it has been over a year since Laurie's arrest, court proceedings have been delayed due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
January 31, 2023