Overview of Brittany Shank
Brittany Nichole Shank was a loving mother of four who vanished in 2018.
Before Brittany disappeared, she was in the midst of a stressful and turbulent time. She was seemingly in a rush to grow up and start living an “adult” life. At only 23 years old, she was a mother of 4 children, all of whom were no longer in her direct custody. The Hide & Seek podcast notes that Brittany signed over her parental rights and was actively working to remain a part of her children's lives.
With this, she was reportedly also looking for a second job, actively trying to get and stay sober, and remove individuals from her life that weren't in line with her best interest of sobriety.
Brittany had been married a few times. This caused some intense controversy in the circle of people around her. During her first marriage (last name Persing), Brittany went as far as to post an image of her official marriage license on Facebook to prove to everyone that she was married. Many originally didn’t believe her because of her past behavioral troubles.
In the years leading up to Brittany’s disappearance, they found it difficult to keep up with her at times on social media. At one point, she was running no less than 6 pages because she would start a new page every time a major life event happened.
Brittany's relationships with some friends and family were less than ideal, and her romantic relationships were met with a similar fate.
Unfortunately, Brittany went from one relationship to the next, making it difficult for law enforcement and her family to accurately create a list of the people in her circle. Historically she dated men that would be categorized as “bad boys.” Both of her known husbands were arrested either for low-level violence at bars or something related to drugs.
Despite her troubles with partners in her life, her friends and family still miss her terribly and hate to think that something bad happened to her.
“Brittany I love you and we all hope you come home safely,”Jessica Rolphe, Brittany’s mother, has shared with the media in a message to her daughter. “ And I’m gonna find you no matter what. I promise.”
At the time of her disappearance, Brittany was expressing herself with edgy sense of style. Her hair was dyed red with shaved sides, and she has piercings in her tongue, nose, lip, and eyebrow. Her ears have gauged piercings. While some online reports note that her hair was dyed red with shaved sides, Hide & Seek details that Brittany dyed her hair blue/black the morning before she vanished.
In terms of tattoos, Brittany has the name "Kayden" on the right side of her upper chest, a large tribal butterfly on her lower back, the name "Zak" on her left wrist, the initials "JCP" in orange ink on the inside of her right wrist, a sugar skull on her right thigh, the name "Owyn Conner Spahr" running vertically down her right leg, and an additional tattoo on her hip. Photos of some of these tattoos are posted in the gallery below.
Brittany may be using the last name Wallace. It’s also important to note that her previous married name is Persing.
The day Brittany disappeared started off strangely.
Earlier on the day of her disappearance, Shank was accompanied by a man in his early to mid-twenties. He is described as 5'6 to 5'8 tall, with short blond hair and mutton-chop sideburns. It's unclear whether this man had any involvement in his case, but his presence has baffled investigators.
The night Brittany vanished, the roads were dangerously foggy.
Brittany had borrowed her boyfriend’s car, and was driving on the night of November 30, 2018. However, when driving through the 33000 block of Fawn River Road, she accidentally drove off the road in a single-car crash around 9:30 pm. The dense fog surely disoriented this young driver.
Witnesses say they saw Brittany walking from house to house in the area — without a coat or shoes — acting confused and seeking help. Initial reports said that her feet appeared to be cut up, likely from walking through broken car glass in the accident or even the rough gravel on the road.
Cell phone records indicate she tried to call her grandmother and the police repeatedly, but the reception was so poor, her calls never connected.
One resident that Brittany was able to get in touch with said that he quickly gave Brittany a green army jacket to stay warm, but when he turned around inside his residence to call the police, Brittany darted away. He also tried to call emergency services because had the same trouble getting cell signal. Eventually, he reached 911.
When speaking to police, this witness indicated that Brittany was acting erratically.
Renewed Interest, thanks to Hide and Seek Podcast.
James Baysinger, the host of the Hide and Seek podcast says he believes the Southwest Michigan community has let Brittany’s case disappear from the media, and that their “out of sight, out of mind” approach has only hurt the case.
James told listeners that within the depths of Brittany’s case, there are countless “red herrings.”
“It isn’t normal to have these many theories and suspects. So what’s going on here?” James asks listeners on his show. “I’m going to take you guys back to the beginning.”
He hopes that his series will prompt someone to come forward with answers.
Michigan State Police have taken over Brittany’s investigation. If you have any information in her disappearance, please call 1-855-MICH-TIP or file a report online at Michigan.gov/MICHTIP.