Update: Body of missing Bradenton woman found in Palmetto; suspect in custody

ABC7 News at 12:30pm
Published: Jun. 10, 2022 at 9:45 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 10, 2022 at 3:10 PM EDT
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UPDATED Monday with arrest of subject, additional details.

BRADENTON, Fla. (WWSB) - The body of a missing 38-year-old woman was found in a ditch in Palmetto Thursday night, and the man caught on tape dragging her body through his house has been arrested.

William Redden, 51, was arrested Thursday evening and charged with abuse of a corpse, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of an altered firearm. He is in custody under a $108,000 bond.

Stephanie Shenefield was the subject of an intense search by friends, family and sheriff’s deputies after her disappearance on June 3. Her decomposed body was found Thursday night by two passersby in a deep ditch near 26th street East and 20th Street East in Palmetto. "

Sheriff Rick Wells stated, “It took us a while to be able to identify her, but we have positively identified her, and we have notified the family,” he said. “We are we are deeply sorry for their loss.” The cause of death has yet to be determined.

Wells said detectives gained access to Shenefield’s computer on June 8 and discovered she had hired an Uber ride to Redden’s house in the 200 block of 30th Street.

Detectives went to Redden’s home to question him. “He verifies that Stephanie was there on that Friday. He tells them that they hung out for a while and that Stephanie left the residence that next morning,” Wells said.

Detectives also noticed multiple surveillance cameras inside and outside Redden’s home. Redden gave deputies permission to take a recording device but told them that the system was only a live monitoring system and did not record video.

“He was wrong,” Wells said.

Wells said the video clearly showed Shenefield and Redden inside the house together.

Wells described the video, recorded at 12:20 p.m. on Friday, June 3. “We can see him dragging her lifeless body through the house wrapped in a white sheet,” Wells said. “They can view him loading the body into a vehicle. And then he leaves that location with Stephanie inside that car, deceased.”

“He doesn’t call 911. He doesn’t call authorities. He doesn’t call anyone,” Wells said.

“William Redden is a piece of crap,” he stated.

Redden is an eight-time convicted felon charged with possessing and dealing in cocaine, and multiple battery charges.

Wells would not comment on what else deputies have found inside Redden’s home.

A small group of Shenefield’s friends gathered outside the sheriff’s office, devastated by the tragic ending to the search. Many of them have been working tirelessly throughout the past week posting missing person flyers since Shenefield stopped responding to messages and they knew something was wrong.

“It would have been a week today were supposed to go to a concert but not anymore,” Jennifer Massrock said through tears. “She never made it and neither did I.”

Her friends call Shenefield a wonderful person who didn’t deserve to be treated as she did. For days they have been hoping to find their friend alive, but now they have turned their attention toward a new mission -- making sure her death does not go unpunished.

“Stephanie will get justice,” Massrock said. “We are going to get her justice. No matter what it takes.”

That justice will take some time as investigators are still putting the final pieces together in this case.

There are few clues about how Shenefield and Redden knew each other. “We know that the mother has no idea who he is,” Wells said. “I don’t know if any of the friends at this time have any clue about any relationship she was having with him.”

Wells said the video evidence will be invaluable. “It made the entire case,” he said. “It gave us everything we needed,” particularly after Redden didn’t think recordings from inside the house existed.

“Thankfully, he’s ignorant and didn’t know that.” Wells observed.

More charges are likely coming in the case, he said. “We’re still very active in this. We still have a lot of work to do.”

Shenefield leaves two teenage boys, ages 16 and 14.

If you have any information about the case, you are asked to call the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office at 941-747-3011.

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