Shoshone County featured on TV
Shoshone County Sheriff’s Office and Idaho Department of Lands personnel prepare for the search for Brian Shookman in July 2019.
“Cold Justice” star Kelly Siegler visited Shoshone County in early 2019 to look into the missing persons case of Brian Shookman. The episode featuring the case airs on March 28.
Photo by OXYGEN
Managing Editor | March 10, 2020 11:31 AM
Brian Shookman missing persons case investigated on ‘Cold Justice’
WALLACE — In July, it will have been eight years since 32-year-old Brian Shookman of Great Falls, Mont., mysteriously disappeared after traveling to Shoshone County for a family reunion.
A missing person’s report was filed on Aug. 1, 2012, when he failed to arrive at the reunion after leaving his cousin’s home in Kellogg. Brian’s abandoned vehicle was located approximately one month later on a dirt road in the area of Dobson Pass.
For years, personnel with the Idaho State Police and Shoshone County Sheriff’s Office have followed leads, interviewed witnesses and collected evidence relating to his suspicious disappearance — but Brian has still not been located.
In January 2019 though, local authorities received a welcomed infusion of outside resources when the cast and crew of Oxygen’s procedural drama “Cold Justice” decided to take a closer look at Shoshone County’s only missing persons case.
According to their official website, “Cold Justice,” from Executive Producer Dick Wolf, is a true crime investigative series that follows veteran prosecutor Kelly Siegler and her rotating team of seasoned detectives…as they travel to small towns to dig into unsolved homicide cases that have lingered for years without answers or justice for the victims.
In an interview with the News-Press, Shoshone County Prosecuting Attorney Keisha Oxendine and Sheriff Mike Gunderson explained that the county was approached in late-2018 regarding the opportunity.
“We had someone from their production company reach out to us and ask us if we had any cold cases that we may need some special resources for, to maybe test some evidence that we have that state resources weren’t sufficient enough to go through or maybe it’s a turn around time issue,” Oxendine said.
Oxendine and Gunderson met to discuss being on the show and it was obvious to them that this could be a tremendous opportunity to shed some light on Brian’s case.
“It was the first one that came to mind just because of the fact that while the time since that occurred was substantial, it wasn’t 35 years ago (compared to other cases featured on the show) — so there are people that are still around who may have information,” Oxendine said.
After speaking with the family about Brian’s case being featured, the duo gave the production company the green light.
For seven days, the “Cold Justice” team set up at the Shoshone County Sheriff’s Office in Wallace and poured over the details of the case.
The team mapped out the entire saga and identified anyone that may (or may not) be involved with the situation. This process also involved sorting out several rumors surrounding the case and testing evidence that simply could not have been tested with Shoshone County’s limited resources.
“One of the things about the ‘Cold Justice’ show is that they are really focused on just trying to help (smaller) local agencies with uncovering new information and testing evidence,” Oxendine said. “It was phenomenal the speed at which they had evidence tested at accredited labs and returned to us. We’re talking something that can normally take months/years, we got back in days.”
Led by show-runner Kelly Siegler, a famous former Texas prosecutor, the show’s team of detectives worked with the SCSO to go over every little detail and interview witnesses (both old and new). The crew even set up an entire interview room at the Sheriff’s Office with video and audio capabilities for this purpose, which they then donated to the county after they left.
During their short visit, the show crew also went out with local agencies to survey the area that Brian’s car was found a month after he disappeared.
By the end of their visit, Brian was still not found, but thanks to the “Cold Justice” team-local authorities know much more than they did.
“We certainly came out of it with more information than before,” Oxendine said. “Any new piece of information is a step forward.”
By utilizing the new information gained in January, the Sheriff’s Office went back out into the wilderness in July 2019 with personnel from the Idaho Department of Lands to find Brain, but were unsuccessful once again.
While Oxendine and Gunderson had hoped to finally bring Brian’s family some peace of mind with these additional resources, the investigation still carries on.
“For Brian’s mom, Rebecca, her soul concern in this case is bringing her son home,” Oxendine said. “We want to do anything we can and put whatever resources out there towards trying to help her do that.”
The “Cold Justice” episode featuring Brian Shookman’s case, “Mystery on the Mountain,” premiers Saturday, March 28 on Oxygen.
If you or someone you know has information that may assist in this investigation, we encourage you to reach out to your local law enforcement agency.
Please call SCSO Detective Jeff Lee, who can be reached at 208-556-1114, the Idaho State Police Region I General Crimes Detectives or the Idaho Cold Case Tip Line at 1-844-TIP-4040.