Teen found dead, naked in Atlanta park: Who killed Bridget Shiel?
May 31, 2018 update: Atlanta police announced Thursday morning that murder suspect Christopher Spencer, age 28, has been charged in the slaying of Bridget Shiel. This is still a horrible tragedy, but this update is good news and the culmination of many pieces in the community coming together to fight for the lives of black women, even in death.
Bridget Shiel had come from a troubled home, but had recently enrolled in beauty school in Atlanta, Georgia, and was looking to start a career in entertainment. She was even able to star in a rap video. The 19-year-old was also an aspiring model whose smile would "light up the room," her father has told media outlets.
On May 31, Shiel's nude body was found around 6:45 a.m. riddled with bullets in an Atlanta park, near some basketball courts.
She was hit several times in her leg and back. Because of this, police say Bridget Shiel was shot running away from her victim.
Shiel's mother, speaking to WSB-TV, says that she and her daughter weren't on good terms and that it is eating her up inside. "I don't know if she suffered... if she was tortured," Angela Shiel told WSB-TV. "I don't know what happened... I feel so guilty," she said through tears.
Police have no suspects or motive, but what makes the case even more mysterious is that Shiel was shot with very rare bullets. The bullets, which have only been on the market about two years, are called “R.I.P.” which doesn't stand for “rest in peace.” Rather, it means “Radically Invasive Projectile.” Police say these bullets have tips like buzz saws, and are designed to inflict maximum damage to the flesh by virtually drilling into the target.
According to surveillance footage taken from a service station, police say Shiel was last seen in a car with two black males at about 11:30 p.m. in Stone Mountain.
"She was sitting in the passenger seat of her car so she's not in control of her vehicle. We don't know at that point if she truly was kidnapped or there willingly," APD Detective Vincent Velazquez told WSB-TV.
Who would want to kill a 19-year-old girl and in such a diabolical way? Police are investigating the case feverishly, they say. One new clue they have is social media.
Investigators are focusing on Shiel's Snapchat account: She posted a snap eight hours before she died, law enforcement officials looking into the case tell WSB-TV.
The snap says "Too pretty to be walking through grass," and is evidently the last thing Shiel communicated before she left this world. It was uploaded at 10:27 p.m. Monday. Her best friend said that Bridget and her were together about 11:30 that night, but that she said she needed to make a stop before they hooked up. She was never heard from again.
Police found her 2009 red Ford Fusion in Stone Mountain, about 25 miles away from the park where her body was discovered.
Police Maj. Adam Lee III told reporters, "We do not know the location of that vehicle at this point. We’ve been looking for it all day, so that’s where we need some help from anyone out there who might have seen this vehicle at any point since Saturday. We believe that there’s another crime scene somewhere other than Oakland City Park. Based on the information that we have now, it does not appear that the assault took place in the park itself, possibly in a residence or maybe in the vehicle that we’re missing at this point," WSB-TV reported.
Shiel also seemed to be a sex worker, investigators say. CBS46 says that law enforcement analyst Vincent Hill located Shiel's sex ad on Backpage.com, a classified ad website for sex workers and people wanting sex.
Shiel had not had an easy life in her 19 years. According to CBS46, she was listed in several police reports dating back six years for a litany of reasons, including child abuse, and being assaulted by her mother. At one point, the Department of Families and Children (DFACS) removed her from her home and sent her to her grandmother's in Washington, D.C.
More recently in February, police were called after a fight between Shiel and her boyfriend, whom she said hit her in the mouth, according to CBS46. Yet again police were called for another domestic altercation, this time between Shiel and a woman who stayed in the home. Both of them were jailed for a time period.
In Sandy Springs, a suburb of Atlanta, friends and family of Shiel gathered together last week to remember the teenager who touched so many hearts in her short time on Earth.
This week, Atlanta police increased the reward for info on who murder Shiel to $10,000, WSB reported.
The family has set up a GoFundMe account to help with funeral arrangements.