Mystery grows over how missing NC mother of four ended up dead in trash bin

Photo of Shantika Dunlap posted by Crime Stoppers of Winston-Salem on Dec. 14. Facebook screenshot.
Photo of Shantika Dunlap posted by Crime Stoppers of Winston-Salem on Dec. 14. Facebook screenshot.

Shantika Dunlap had been missing for two days when her body turned up in a trash bin Saturday, but Winston-Salem police are still not using the word “homicide” in unraveling the mystery, according to the Winston-Salem Journal.

It’s instead being called a criminal investigation of a “suspicious” death, and investigators are keeping quiet on how 30-year-old Dunlap died, when she died, or what kind of tip led them to the Dumpster, the Journal reports.

Crime Stoppers of Winston-Salem has referred to the mother of four as “a murder victim,” but police had not confirmed that was the case as of Tuesday.

On Wednesday, the case turned even more mysterious when TV station WGHP reported a preliminary austopsy failed to show how Dunlap died. Investigators are now waiting on a toxicolocy report, the station said.

Her body was found Saturday afternoon behind JuggHeads Growlers & Pints, a brewery on Country Club Road in Winston-Salem, said the Greensboro News & Record.

Winston-Salem police and the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office are working the case together and say they have “subjects of interest” in the circumstances that preceded Dunlap’s death, said TV station WXII.

Meanwhile, Dunlap has four children — all younger than age 13 — who will be motherless on Christmas morning, the station reports.

“This is gonna be the worst Christmas of my life,” Dunlap’s mother, Latonia Mayes, told WGHP/Fox8. “Whoever did this, they (are) a monster ... They didn’t have to take it this far.”

Investigators told WSOC that Dunlap was last seen Wednesday, Nov. 12, at the home she shares with her boyfriend. Mayes says Dunlap’s boyfriend is the one who first reported her missing on Thursday, according to WFMY.

Her four children have moved in with Mayes and their grandfather as the family awaits a break in the case, WGHP/Fox8 reports.

“I have to be strong because I have four grand-babies to take care of, and I’m going be there for them by all means necessary,” Mayes was quoted telling WFMY.