Family opens up about Shannon Graves’ death at remembrance

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AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – It’s been two months since a body found in a freezer in Campbell was identified as that of 28-year-old Shannon Graves. The family hasn’t wanted to talk publicly about what happened — until Friday.

There were lots of hugs around the gazebo at Austintown Township Park — as the family of Graves held an evening to remember her.

It was organized by her sister Debbie DePaul.

“Shannon was her own little spirit,” she said. “She was a free spirit.”

One of Shannon’s good friends was John Skarada.

“She was awesome,” he said. “She was a great person. Always full of energy. On top of everything that she did. Really focused.”

“She has a lot of friends,” Graves’ father Ronnie DePaul said. “You can tell by the people who are coming here.”

DePaul said he’s handling it because he has to.

“What I don’t understand is what she could have done to have these two people to do what they did to her,” DePaul said. “I only got to bury part of a body.”

“I knew it before I heard it,” Skarada said. “Just everything around her being missing wasn’t right. We kind of didn’t know the specifics or gruesomeness of it, but figured pretty much something like that had happened.”

One way Shannon was remembered was with pictures — scattered on the railing through the gazebo.

There were also candles and boxes of tissues. T-shirts were being sold, saluting Youngstown girls on the front and “Justice for Shannon” written on the back.

Even Shannon’s dog Molly — now in the care of Debbie — was there.

“It’s not the easiest,” Debbie DePaul said. “I have my moments, but there’s a lot going on. So I’m just trying to stay strong and keep going.”

As people arrived, there was some talking. But for the most part, they were quiet, solemn — remembering Shannon Graves.

“It’s a good thing,” Skarada said. “It’s good for people that are missing her. I think it’s good for awareness of what’s going on with the whole thing, because it’s pretty foul.”

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