Shaquita Yolanda Bell
Missing since June 27, 1996 from Alexandria, Virginia
Circumstances of Disappearance
Bell, a mother of three, was last seen about 13.00 on June 27, 1996, leaving her grandmother's house on East Raymond Avenue in Alexandria with her estranged boyfriend, Michael Dickerson, the father of her youngest child. Relatives said they were perplexed by Bell's decision to leave with him.
A month earlier, Bell had called police to report that the estranged boyfriend had beaten her during a squabble in the Laurel apartment that they shared. He was arrested, and Bell moved back in with her grandmother in Alexandria. Three weeks after that incident, police said, Bell called police to say that he had held a gun to her head during a fight. He was arrested in Washington and charged with possession of a machine gun the same day.
On the day of Bell's disappearance, the estranged boyfriend had driven Bell to take two of her three children to a doctor's appointment. She called at 14.00 and said she was on the way home, and that was the last time anybody heard of her. The boyfriend told the family that they had gone into Southeast Washington, where they got into an argument and she left him.
Bell worked at a Giant Food bakery and did not have any criminal record. Her estranged live-in boyfriend, who police said was the last person known to have seen her alive, was convicted of a drug violation in 1989. He is serving a 15-year prison term after being convicted of beating Bell a month before she disappeared. Bell provided information in at least two investigations, one of them a homicide. According to her mother, Bell was afraid for her life. Foul play is suspected.
Police believe she was killed in the District, and her body may have been dropped off in Maryland.
Michael Dickerson was charged in the disappearance of Shaquita Bell in January 2008. Dickerson was also charged in the death of Sean Thomas, who was found shot multiple times in Southeast in February 1996. Police believe that Bell was killed in June 1996 because she knew about Dickerson's connection to the killing. Michael Dickerson pleaded guilty in Superior Court to second-degree murder in the 1996 death of 23-year-old Shaquita Bell, and agreed in a plea bargain to help police try to find her remains. Michael Dickerson agreed to make a good-faith effort to lead police to the wooded spot in rural Prince George's County where he buried Bell's body in 1996. In return, he would get a 15-year sentence without parole for her killing -- less than the maximum -- and would not be prosecuted for another slaying he confessed to committing.
Guided by Dickerson, who admitted shooting Bell in the District on June 27, 1996, investigators combed acres of forest near Fort Washington. But his memory of the exact burial site apparently is vague.
Alexandria Police are investigating the Missing Person report; D.C. Metropolitan Police is investigating the possible homicide.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Alexandria Police Department
D. C. Metropolitan Police
Detective James Trainum
NCIC Number: M-941151755
Please refer to this number when contacting any agency with information regarding this case.
D. C. Metropolitan Police
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