Someone used Camis cell phone to post on social media months after her body was found.

A voicemail from Cami stated her phone got stolen do not send text messages or anything.

2 weeks later Cami went missing she was a mother of four. Her sister said she went through some hard times but she never went a couple of weeks without contacting someone.

April Her body was found. Behind a vacant K-mart in a sewage drain A survey crew stumbled upon a body in a sewage drain. The confirmed it was Cami. Police claimed that Cami went into the drain to keep warm. Her family doesn’t buy it. Her apartment is directly behind the spot where her body was found. If she was cold she would of gone home.

The families private investigator theory is that she died and someone panicked and threw her body in there. Either she died and that person didn’t want to bring light onto themselves or there is the foul play here.

Last year it is to beleived that that person who was logging into Cami’s go-fundme account and posting it to her facebook trying to collect money on Cami’s behalf. It continued from April to November The person who owns the gofund me was Brenda Combs. The gofund me has been taken down since but you can view her facebook here.

Cami’s sister says she has sent screenshots anytime someone logged into her sisters account and sent them to the WPD and she has also requested that her cellphone to be tracked and those requests have gone unheard. Her sister feels like they haven’t made her a priority at any point in this investigation.

Now, in no way am I stating she is wrong we don’t always know what goes on behind the scenes of an investigation. If anyone has listened to Cold we know that there is a lot of things that the police don’t tell us or even lead us on to knowing because they can’t let the killer know they are on to them if they are ever going to make an arrest. Maybe they have mapped out her phone records and have found the ping as to where her last location was and where her phone was stolen and where the last person was who sent those facebook messages was. We don’t know this information maybe they have done nothing. But if anything that listening to cold has taught me is that there is a whole bunch behind the scenes stuff that we don’t get to know about.

We do know the detectives claim they have been investigating the case they went to the DA’s office to get a search warrant for cell phone records belonging to Cami Sheppard.

What someone does with a cell phone to track it is called Geo forensics I learned this at Def con among other things.

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah (News4Utah) – Police launched an investigation after a body was discovered by a survey crew in West Valley City Friday afternoon.

West Valley City police say around 12:30 p.m., they received a call from a crew working construction at 4100 South Redwood Road and the site of an old Kmart store.

The crew was checking the draining in the parking lot when they came across a body down a drainage culvert. 

Police say they don’t yet know how long the body has been there. It was partially submerged when it was found and they say it unidentifiable at this time.

Cami was born in Thailand April 1, 1975 she and her twin brother Kim were adopted by our mom Erlene S Shepherd. Cami went to school and grew up in Holladay, Utah but sadly lost her mom to breast cancer at age 15. She loved nature,  the mountains and animals, her biggest love was birds..  Cami later on had 4 children 3 sons and 1 daughter, she also leaves behind a granddaughter and a grandson. 

She knew better than anyone her sister’s lengthy history of abuse, selling sex on the street, and years of meth use. She’d tried to be there when she could to support Cami’s struggles to pick herself up after each relapse.

Finally, it seemed, with the help of a support network made up of family, friends, church members and nonprofits dedicated to the homeless and victims of sex trafficking She was making a turn in her life for the good.

She’d moved into her first apartment after more than a decade on the street and found work at the local Deseret Industries thrift store. And Cami had found a purpose: She had gone back to school to start the long journey to become a prosecutor for the state or federal government, so she could personally bring to justice the kind of men who had preyed on her when she was on the streets.

Across America, homeless women sell sex in no-tell motels or on the street to pay for a room night by night and for the drugs they need. They work in the back streets and blight-ridden thoroughfares of cities that are forgotten by city planners and the suburbs alike — unless you want to score drugs or pay for sex.

Because the women are housed, in the barest sense of the word, they are not included in the federal-government organized, national homeless census, Point in Time.

“They’re not counted, they’re not visible,” said Luciane Fangalua, who met Cami while chairing the Utah League of Women Voters’ human trafficking task force in early 2016, which sought to educate policymakers and legislators about the complex issue. “We don’t want them to exist. They’re an invisible group that we use and discard.”

These women are the forgotten casualties to be found at the intersection of homelessness, poverty, sexual violence and addiction. And it’s the desperate cravings of addiction that pull them into the world of trafficking, one fix at a time.

Cami’s story is just one example of a daughter raised in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by a dedicated single mother. She had siblings who tried all they could to support her, no matter the choices she made.

In Salt Lake City, homeless and medical services outreach nonprofits estimate a population of between 500 and 600 street sex workers. In this twilight world, women like Cami appear on the street, then disappear, their fate unknown.

A 2017 research study by the University of Pennsylvania and Loyola University, conducted at youth shelters in 13 cities in the U.S. and Canada, found 15 percent of homeless youth are sex-trafficked, with young women and LGBTQ youth particularly impacted. The National Network for Youth estimates that 4.2 million youth from ages 13 to 25 experience homelessness, which means that at minimum over 630,000 youth each year are victims of sex trafficking.

That’s the equivalent of a city the size of Boston.

Many are runaways, some fleeing abuse at home, others escaping violence at a foster care home. Many homeless youth simply age out of the foster care system and end up on the streets with nowhere to go. This is where invisible lives begin, with homeless youth sleeping in cars, couch-surfing, engaging in survival sex in exchange for a bed for the night, most haunted by the trauma of abuse they experienced as a child.

Victims and survivors of sex trafficking come from every strata of society, from the impoverished to the wealthy. Traffickers hang out at the homeless shelter, the corner store, or the suburban mall, always looking “for someone in need of something,” said Utah Attorney General veteran trafficking prosecutor Russell Smith. He related the story of a Nevada FBI agent who, despite having his daughter’s boyfriend to dinner, had no idea the 19-year-old was grooming his 17-year-old daughter for prostitution. The two first met when he struck up a casual conversation with her at a mall.

Traffickers can range from a boyfriend or a roommate who uses drugs and coercion as a means of controlling their victim, through a solo operator illegally running out of a motel, a nail salon or a massage parlor — what law enforcement call commercial sex operations, typically staffed with women held by fraud and coercion. From there it extends to gangs running women on a few streets or out of hotels through online sex ads, to highly organized international criminal operations that traffic women from one country to another.

Traffickers, whether alone or in groups, exploit vulnerabilities, and they’re not always male. Smith recalled one woman who loved to brag about how she had “used a Utah citizen’s disability as a way to manipulate them into performing commercial sex acts.”

For years she tried to report her traffickers to police departments and state investigators, when the majority of survivors out of fear or mistrust would have nothing to do with reporting crime. She wrote an anonymous article in early 2016 about her life for an educational study on trafficking prepared by nonpartisan policy group Utah League of Women Voters that went to Utah legislators. She held a public event in March 2016 in Liberty Park to tell people about trafficking. But trauma, meth-induced paranoia, and other issues derailed her attempts to give law enforcement information that could lead to arrests.

“The only reason nothing gets done is because we are drug addicts and homeless,” Cami wrote in an April 2017 Facebook post.

If she couldn’t get cops and prosecutors to bring them down, she vowed to become an instrument of justice for other trafficked women. So she decided to go to school and eventually prosecute the men herself.

One cop who worked with Cami and believed she was a victim of traffickers was Salt Lake City Police Sgt Michele Ross. She was convinced that behind the paranoia and incoherence that dogged Cami’s repeated attempts to get justice, there lay a traumatic history of sex trafficking. “For one person to be so persistent, makes me believe there was something to it,” Ross said. “You just don’t see it very often. There has to be something there.”

“I did not ask to be raised by an adoptive single parent with no father ever in my home or in my life,” Cami wrote in the sketch. “I did not ask to be molested by a man in my ward as a small child.” Her molester, Kristi said, went to prison after being convicted of child sexual abuse.

While multiple relatives of Cami recalled the prosecution and incarceration of Cami’s abuser, no one could recall his name. “All of us just shut that out,” Kristi said.

Their adoptive mother juggled multiple part-time jobs, along with her kids, to pay bills, but then died unexpectedly of breast cancer in 1991, when the twins were 15.

Cami became pregnant at 16 by her boyfriend, with whom she had four children in succession by the time she was 21. Cami and her boyfriend fought constantly, their children raised by the man’s parents. She started using cocaine and crack in early 2000, then meth in 2003, when she also encountered problems with the law with a March 2003, third-degree felony forgery conviction in an Ogden district court. A marriage ended in divorce and shortly after she became homeless.

What led to her becoming homeless, other than her descent into addiction, her family doesn’t know. Those are Cami’s lost years, relatives said, long periods of silence punctuated only by an occasional voice mail: “Hi Sis. It’s me. I’m still alive. Love you.”

In her one-page autobiography, Cami documented her allegations of being trafficked. An unnamed “boyfriend/drug dealer,” she wrote, gave her injections of meth and GBH, commonly known as the date-rape drug, which rendered her semi-conscious, “so that he can charge $20 a person to men” who were lining up to rape her. She also highlighted how “a man whom I loved and thought was my protector” had secretly videotaped them having sex and sold the material online.

Kristi witnessed the aftermath of a trafficking incident in summer 2013 after Cami told her she’d been held in a house, drugged and repeatedly raped. When Cami told her sister her back was burning, Kristi lifted her shirt and found her back marked by cigarette burns.

Cami’s 12 reports to three local law enforcement agencies included complaints of being given unidentified drugs by boyfriends that rendered her unconscious, sexual assault allegations, and nonconsensual filming. None resulted in subsequent prosecutions. What’s apparent from the reports is how Cami’s drug addiction and trauma rendered her value as a witness to her own victimization painfully problematic.

Fukushima wasn’t surprised to learn that Cami wasn’t able to coherently report her own trafficking.

 Cami often showed her fiery temper, verbally abusing officers she thought weren’t sympathetic or looked down on her, or getting in the face of homeless men she saw abusing their girlfriends.

Her temper also got the better of her when she saw her on-and-off again boyfriend, in line at a downtown homeless clinic for services, months after she’d reported him to the police for hitting her and putting a gun to her head. She tried to stab him and was arrested.

Cami decided to go directly to the public and in the spring of 2016, organized an anti-trafficking booth beneath the majestic trees that ring Liberty Park. On the phone, sister Kristi talked her through her nervousness in the days running up to her Liberty Park event. Her family rallied round to help, with cousin Arlen Shepherd’s brother printing T-shirts for her with a logo she’d designed of a unicorn with the words “Not for sale” emblazoned across its ribs. No one interviewed for this story, however, attended the event. In some cases, that was because of frustration.

“It was her fight, not mine,” Kristi said. “I wanted her to be clean and a mom.”

The day before, Cami called Kristi, “I told her to remember what she was fighting for and make the best of it.” Cami manned the booth, wearing her T-shirt, and talked to people who approached her about trafficking. Afterward, she told Kristi how glad she was she had done it. “It was a good start,” she told Kristi. “The next one will be bigger.”

But with each step she took away from the underworld of drugs, violence and abusive, controlling men, addiction, paranoia and living on the street dragged her back to the drug-dealing sex traffickers she’d fought so hard to escape.

She tried to work with investigators at the Utah Attorney General’s office, leaving sometimes incoherent messages on a trafficking hotline that she had information. “She’d call, we’d set up meetings with her, but she never connected,” said SECURE Strike Force chief Leo Lucey. He believed she was trafficked, “and wish we could have done something about it.”

Glimmers of hope

Cami finally got off Salt Lake City’s streets in February 2017, moving into a one-bedroom studio in a Westside apartment complex called the Redwood, thanks in no small part to the efforts of Asian Association of Utah’s trafficking victim case manager Gina Salazar.

Kristi took her sister shopping at a nearby Deseret Industries thrift store with a voucher Cami got from the bishop at a local congregation. The sisters picked out a comforter, pillowcases and dishes for Cami’s new home. On the front door she hung a picture of Jesus Christ to mark her home as Christian. She shared the studio apartment with two cats, Hope and Faith, and occasionally an injured pigeon she would try to nurse back to health. Pigeons and doves were angels, she would tell her friends, and if they were close then she was safe.

She’d also signed up with Salt Lake Community College for computer basics classes, the only problem being that she didn’t have a computer to do homework on. Nevertheless, she was determined to fulfill her dreams of going to law school and prosecuting traffickers. And she had the perfect playing card, she’d tell friends, to show jurors that she had survived the world victims came from: a missing tooth in her bright, defiant smile, knocked out by an old boyfriend.

Momentos are left at a vigil for Cami Shepherd in West Valley City on Monday, April 16, 2018.

Adapting to life inside four walls wasn’t easy, said cousin Arlen Shepherd. She’d feel alone, leave for a day or two, then go back. Over time, she felt safe enough to sleep in her bed and know no one would hurt her.

Arlen Shepherd tried to get her to keep her home “a safe haven,” he said, and not let people in. But that ran contrary to the unwritten rule of the homeless, born out of the interdependency that life on the streets demands, which is to always offer help when you can to others. So she’d let in someone she’d grown to trust, such as a homeless mother with a child. Word got around where she lived, however, and soon she complained to friends that people seeking a place to sleep would try to kick her door down if she didn’t let them in.

Cami’s determination to change meant she would try to do too much, Kristi worried. “She tried to stay clean, go to school and work and it would get stressful and she would cave,” Kristi said.

The pressures built up in November 2017, when she started dating a 42-year–old carpenter and neighbor. The carpenter requested anonymity out of concern over local traffickers possibly connected with Cami’s disappearance.

They watched movies and cooked meals at each other’s apartments. She’d bake and fry chicken, while he made soul food. He gave her a painting he’d done of a Chinese junk forging out to sea, waves crashing against a rocky shoreline. But Cami struggled with how to respond and act around “a regular guy,” as opposed to a “john,” several sex workers said she told them.

Her sister’s fate washed over her. It was as if her heart had been ripped from her chest.

As painful as that was for Kristi, what one of the detectives then told her made the situation far harder to bear. The way the cops saw it, she had brought her death on herself. The detective suggested to Kristi that the 120-pound Cami had somehow lifted the 150-pound rusted lid off the drainage on her own and crawled down into the watery depths to get out of the cold.

Numb with disbelief, Kristi stared at him, realizing that the officers viewed her sister as one more addict whose drug-related death didn’t merit a serious investigation. Cami had always been afraid of water since as a very young child she’d fallen into a canal in Thailand and almost drowned. She could never have lifted the lid on her own. And why would she? Her apartment was a minute’s walk away.

“If we don’t have any leads,” the detective continued, “I’m just preparing you that we may have to close the case.”

The detectives got into their car and drove off. As the door shut, Kristi fell to her knees in shock, confusion and wordless rage at how they had blamed Cami for her own demise. “I was having such a hard time processing it all, that it even happened,” she said. “It was like it was just a bad dream.”

After just two weeks Cami blurted out a marriage proposal.

“No, we can’t do that,” her boyfriend recalled telling her. With both of them newly sober, he felt their sobriety had to come first. He felt overwhelmed, but then realized she felt the same, if only by her own emotions.

Cami stood there for a moment in silence, then left. Rather than continue with the stark, emotionally charged terrain of their relationship, she returned to a familiar, if deadly one: trading sex for meth. In the face of rejection, she returned to a world where she’d find if not safety or even comfort, then at least numbness.

“It was almost like she didn’t know how to handle things when they were good,” Kristi said.

In the days running up to her disappearance in early December, Cami scribbled her way through a “bad high,” as she described it in a notebook full of half-started, scrawled letters typical of meth addicts struggling to fill endless hours while high. “This dope is making me feel like bugs are on me,” she wrote. She worried that “someone has my key to my house and they smoked in my house. I can smell it too.” She wrote how she wanted to get back her sobriety so she could see her children and grandchildren for Christmas. On Dec. 13, she scribbled a three-page letter to whoever might find her journal.

“I am sorry I made a mess of things here,” she wrote.

Three days later, she disappeared.

A disappearance and discovery

Those who saw Cami at the Christmas party on Dec. 16, thrown by the Asian Association of Utah at the drop-in center for street sex workers, were struck by her thinness, a sign she was on meth again. A heavy-set man in a truck had dropped her off at the association’s nondescript, backstreet offices near downtown Salt Lake City. It’s a location known only to the association, their “working girl” clients, along with sometimes pimps, johns and local cops. He’d looked like a “trick,” several attending the party said.

Cami Shepherd lived in this second floor apartment in West Valley City prior to her disappearance. The state of the apartment made Cami's sister, who took this picture, deeply concerned about Cami's fate.
Cami Shepherd lived in this second floor apartment in West Valley City prior to her disappearance. The state of the apartment made Cami’s sister, who took this picture, deeply concerned about Cami’s fate.

Salazar had presents for all of her clients, but Cami left the gift of china Salazar had for her behind. Three days later, Salazar and another AAU case manager took the present to Cami’s apartment. At first, a woman inside wouldn’t open the front door, but when she did, two men and two women filed out, and Cami was nowhere to be seen.

The apartment smelt rank. Salazar opened the blinds and took in the holes punched in walls, pieces of glass on the floor, a used syringe in the bathroom. She scribbled out a note to her longtime client expressing concern about the condition of her home and that she would shortly lose her housing if she didn’t pay her rent, and left it beneath the Christmas present.

As the weeks went on, Cami’s circle of family and friends became increasingly concerned by her silence. “She always called me for the holidays, to wish me merry Christmas, happy New Year,” said Zito, her third-grade teacher and lifelong friend. “The longer that we went without hearing from Cami the more frightened I became.”

Kristi filed a missing person’s report with the police in early February 2018 and began to search for her sister. In the first days of her search, she checked out her sister’s haunts: the motels, gas stations, truck stops, ERs and the downtown shelter, the Road Home, handing out flyers she’d had made up.

After Cami disappeared, her sister found dried food in a pan on the stove, which had been there for weeks in her West Valley apartment. Her sister took this picture after filing a missing person's report.
After Cami disappeared, her sister found dried food in a pan on the stove, which had been there for weeks in her West Valley apartment. Her sister took this picture after filing a missing person’s report.

Every time in the past she’d looked for Cami, she’d found her within two days, usually near the downtown shelter. “This is the first time I haven’t been able to find her,” she said in late March.

Kristi was increasingly frustrated with West Valley detective assigned to her sister’s case. She was uncertain what if anything the police were doing. She worried that because of Cami’s history of drugs and sex work, her disappearance wasn’t taken seriously. “If I was missing, they would have looked harder,” she said. “I felt the family had to do more because the police were doing nothing.”

West Valley City Police Chief Colleen Jacobs disagreed. “Our detectives have been in areas she was known to frequent, shelters, homeless camps,” she said a few weeks into the time Cami that went missing. “We will investigate every avenue we have available to us.”

The detective talked to one homeless man several times who’d been identified by a homeless woman with mental health issues as Cami’s killer, but, Chief Jacobs said, there was no indication he had had “any recent contact with Cami or that there was any nefarious activity.”

Reported missing Febuary 2nd

Her sister’s fate washed over her. It was as if her heart had been ripped from her chest.

As painful as that was for Kristi, what one of the detectives then told her made the situation far harder to bear. The way the cops saw it, she had brought her death on herself. The detective suggested to Kristi that the 120-pound Cami had somehow lifted the 150-pound rusted lid off the drainage on her own and crawled down into the watery depths to get out of the cold.

Numb with disbelief, Kristi stared at him, realizing that the officers viewed her sister as one more addict whose drug-related death didn’t merit a serious investigation. Cami had always been afraid of water since as a very young child she’d fallen into a canal in Thailand and almost drowned. She could never have lifted the lid on her own. And why would she? Her apartment was a minute’s walk away.

“If we don’t have any leads,” the detective continued, “I’m just preparing you that we may have to close the case.”

The detectives got into their car and drove off. As the door shut, Kristi fell to her knees in shock, confusion and wordless rage at how they had blamed Cami for her own demise. “I was having such a hard time processing it all, that it even happened,” she said. “It was like it was just a bad dream.”

In a text sent to ABC4, the spokesperson for the police department said: “It is our understanding that Cami did not have her phone for two weeks prior to her disappearance.  We consulted with the district attorney’s office regarding obtaining a search warrant for the phone and it was determined that seeking a search warrant would not be possible because although Cami Shepherd’s death is suspicious, there is not evidence that would classify it as a homicide or prove that a crime was commited that led to her death.  Without proof of a crime, we are unable to get a search warrant.”

But Jensen said one can’t rule out that person yet. He said Cami Shepherd was either victimized two different times by two different people or victimized twice by the same person.

He still wants to find the person behind the cell phone text and is seeking information about who was with Cami on the night she disappeared.

Jensen wonders if there was some sort of an accident and someone panicked before dumping Shepherd’s body in the drain. If that’s the case, he says, the person would be smart to come forward immediately and offer an explanation.

“It’s just a matter of time that they’ll be caught, so they need to come forward and we can mitigate the damages,” he said.

If she had been doing drugs and overdosed the person or people with her may of panicked and dumped her body int the drain in order to not get caught or blamed for her death. Cami was also known for her drug use if some type of drugs were being used it could of giving someone a reason to freak out when she overdosed a panic

Or did something more sinister happen? With her acts of change kindness and her time and effort into the not for sale non-profit group did she happen to know something being in that lifestyle in her past did she know something someone didn’t want her to know? Was this foul play or an accident?

Cami Shepherd, who was born in Thailand, came to Utah as a young child with her twin brother. At the time of her disappearance she had attempted repeatedly to get police to draw attention to her concerns about sex trafficking. 

Cami Sheppard

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