Overview of Shanta Johnson
Shanta Marie Johnson was last seen on July 19, 1992, at the Briarcliffe Mall in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Her foster mother, Susan Marie Johnson, reported her missing after saying that Shanta disappeared near the toy department of the K-Mart store inside the shopping center at approximately 3:30 p.m.
The K-Mart surveillance tapes showed Susan entering the store alone, however, and Shanta could not be seen on any of the tapes. Shanta's biological mother, who was in prison on a drug charge in 1992, was interviewed by police but had no useful information.
Susan and her husband, Willie Johnson, had begun adoption proceedings for Shanta and her younger brother a few months prior to the girl's disappearance, but the Department of Social Services (DSS) still had legal custody of both children.
In July 1995, three years after Shanta went missing, Susan was charged with abusing her. In addition, evidence was found on a property owned by the Johnsons in Pender County in 1995 that is linked to Shanta. Authorities believed that Shanta had been the victim of a premeditated homicide and Susan is the prime suspect. Her case remains unsolved.