Paola Tristan Arruda
November 17, 2023
It’s been six days since Shakeira Rucker, a Winter Springs mother of four, disappeared.
When it comes to a missing person case, the investigation can be complicated.
Dr. David Thomas, a former police officer and a forensics studies professor at the Florida Gulf Coast University, provided insight into the inner workings of this type of investigation.
“It is more about trying to eliminate things through a series of processes. So, from what I read, the forensics unit has already gone or is at [Rucker’s] apartment,” Thomas said. “And so they’ll tear that apart, just trying to recover any information that they can.”
Thomas says aside from physical evidence, it is important to look at everyone in Rucker’s life and talk to her close friends.
Technology, such as phones and cameras, also plays a huge role in a missing person case.
“It can literally track where a person goes and where they’ve been, and we’re used to the cell towers pinging. Google is a great resource also,” Thomas said. “If a vehicle has GPS, that’s another great resource because it collects data from everywhere that it’s been.”
Police have named Rucker’s estranged husband a person of interest in her disappearance, but they still don’t have answers as to where she may be.
Family and friends want the search effort to be widened, and they want more deputies out looking for Rucker.
Derrica Wilson is the co-founder of the Black and Missing Foundation, a nonprofit organization that aims to bring awareness to missing persons of color.
Wilson says she sees cases like Rucker’s often, and she believes everyone needs to do their part in this investigation.
“So often our cases slip through the cracks, but it’s so important for people out there to understand that these are valuable members of our community, they’re mothers, they’re fathers, they’re sisters, they’re brothers, and they deserve to be found,” Wilson said.
Photo credit: WESH Orlando