The murder of a Platte County woman that was solved when another woman survived a vicious attack by the same man was featured during Platte County’s 13th annual victims’ rights event on April 12. Alyssa Shippert was killed in a brutal attack on the banks of the Platte River in May 2011, but her killer, Quintin O’Dell, was brought to justice largely because the woman attacked on Christmas in 2011 was able to identify him.
The luncheon, hosted by the Platte County Prosecuting Attorney’s office, was attended by more than 100 people, including victims, law enforcement officers, county officials, and members of the public. The luncheon took place at the Platte County Resource Center, and was free to the public.
Platte County Prosecuting Attorney Eric Zahnd said, “It’s been said that we should bear one another’s burdens, and that’s exactly what this event is all about. We want crime victims to know that the entire community will help bear the burden that crime has forced upon victims, and we will do everything in our power to achieve justice and help victims heal.”
Platte County’s luncheon is part of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, which runs from April 8-14 in 2018.
The luncheon included excerpts from a recent episode of On the Case with Paula Zahn, a television series that airs on the Investigation Discovery network. The episode featured Alyssa’s Shippert’s murder and how O’Dell’s subsequent victim helped bring him to justice.
Alyssa Shippert’s sister, Pam Clark, spoke at the luncheon. She recounted how Alyssa’s death deeply impacted her family.
Clark spoke poignantly about her sister and told the audience that, for many months, there was not a day after Alyssa’s murder that she did not think of Alyssa and cry. But she also spoke of hope, saying that, while her grief will never disappear, time has helped heal her loss.
The luncheon also featured the presentation of the Sara Andrasek Memorial Award. That award is given each year in the memory of the Platte County woman who was raped and murdered in 2001 while pregnant with her first child. Zahnd’s office and the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department were in the final stages of preparing a death penalty case against Wayne Dumond when Dumond died while in custody.
The 13th Annual Sara Andrasek Award was given to the woman who survived Quintin O’Dell’s second attack. Out of respect for her privacy, Zahnd’s office is not naming the woman publicly.
After sustaining horrendous injuries on Christmas 2011 and being unconscious in the hospital for four days, the woman awoke and was able to identify Quintin O’Dell as the last person she had seen. Because she was able to identify O’Dell, detectives with the Platte County Sheriff’s Department and prosecutors were ultimately able to prove O’Dell had not only attacked that woman, but he had also killed Alyssa Shippert.
O’Dell was convicted of murdering Shippert and assaulting the other woman. He is serving a sentence of life without the possibility of parole.
Zahnd said, “This year’s Sara Andrasek Award honors a survivor of crime whose strength, courage, and overarching will to live led to the apprehension of a vicious murderer. I believe that murderer would have killed other young women had he not been stopped. Fortunately, he was stopped because this crime victim survived and identified her attacker.”
Zahnd presented the award to the woman with Janet Williams, who is Sara Andrasek’s mother.
A photo, from left, of Platte County Prosecuting Attorney Eric Zahnd with, Janet Williams, mother of Sara Andrasek, Pam Clark and Jill Casey, who are Alyssa Shippert’s sisters, is above. If you need additional information, please contact our office’s medial liaison, Tanya Faherty.
Eric G. Zahnd
Platte County Prosecuting Attorney
415 Third St., Suite 60
Platte City, Missouri 64079