By Stefanie Donahue
Shannon Mani, a class of ’15 Blaine High School graduate, was found murdered last week in Wisconsin after the father of her unborn child allegedly shot, stabbed and bound her, according to news reports.
Mani, age 21, was reported missing to the Waukesha Police Department on April 13 by her parents who said they became concerned after she missed work and failed to pick up her brother from school, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Mani reportedly lived with her parents in Waukesha County and attended the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Initially, Quentin Neal, Mani’s 27-year-old boyfriend, told police he didn’t see Mani on the day she went missing, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. However, a conversation that was recovered from her Apple Watch revealed that the couple had spoken about seeing each other that day.
The discovery led to a search warrant at Neal’s home. According to a criminal complaint that was filed in Milwaukee County Circuit Court on April 17, authorities discovered multiple traces of blood in his home. When questioned, Neal stated that Mani did in fact visit his home and that they got into an argument, according to the criminal complaint.
Neal alleged that Mani grabbed his gun and a kitchen knife and that she attempted to shoot him, but failed because the safety was on. According to the complaint, Neal admitted to shooting her twice, cutting her with a knife and placing her body in a garbage bag and suitcase prior to transporting it to a storage unit he leased. He then moved her vehicle and disposed of her cellphone and purse.
Neal is facing charges of first degree intentional homicide, first degree intentional homicide of an unborn child and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. If Neal is convicted, he could spend life in prison.
The tragic news struck a deep chord with local residents, many of whom knew Mani.
“The class of 2015, they all keep in touch,” said Blaine High School para-educator, Jen Wheeler. “They’re all good friends.”
Wheeler’s daughter, Jessica Reimer, graduated with Mani and is planning a memorial service for her this week with her friend, Hanna Kiele.
“I just remember how sweet and gentle she was,” Wheeler said. Others expressed similar sentiment online.
Coral Nuno, a former classmate, posted the following to Facebook, “I’m completely in shock to find out the news about Shannon, she was such a lovely and happy girl. We weren’t very close in school even though we graduated together, but when your school is as small as Blaine’s, you know how much our community is hurting right now. … She had big plans and dreams, for herself and her family, and she wanted to make a difference. I’ll always remember her, gone completely too soon.”
Wheeler said the memorial service will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, April 27 at the Blaine Middle School cafeteria. Guests are encouraged to bring cards, photos and donations to send to Mani’s family.