Shirley Ahhaitty Gokey

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News Clipping from May 1978

The badly decomposed, partially nude body of a young female was discovered northeast of Shawnee Saturday afternoon by two young Indian boys who were on their way to check the level of the North Canadian River. Authorities suspected the woman was shot at least once and raped. The body was left some 30 to 40 yards off the Moccasin Trail Road, just 3 ½ miles east of SH 18. Officers had no clues Saturday evening on the identity of the woman. A deputy said the sheriff’s office had no reports of missing persons who could possibly be the dead woman. They also had no immediate suspects in the apparent murder-rape.  

The Pottawatomie County sheriff’s office received a call from Mrs. James Carter shorty after 5pm. She informed officers that her two sons, Larry, 9, Frankie, 14, had discovered what they believed to be the body of a woman. Officers said the body had been there for some time, maybe as long as 6 days 

The body, about 5 feet, 5 inches tall, appeared to be that of a young Indian or Black female, according to District Attorney Steve Lewis. He said he suspected the body was a young female because of the small size of various articles of clothing and undergarments near the corpse. 

The woman was wearing only bright blue sandals, lavender panties and white blouse and bra. The small bra and blouse were pulled around the neck of the body, leading Lewis and DA investigator Bob Mayo to strongly suspect rape. 

The victim had an apparent gunshot wound in the middle of the forehead and what was believed to be a gunshot wound in the right side of the chest. 

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation was summoned to examine the body, which was partially hidden behind a six-foot-high blackjack tree adjacent to a muddy path. 

The corpse was on its back, arms spread at its side and head tilted to the left side. 

There were conflicting opinions as to the race of the victim. Some officers felt the corpse was that of a Black female because of black, curly hair. However, others thought it to be Indian partly because many Indians live in the immediate vicinity. 

The high cheekbones of the woman could indicate either black or Indian, Lewis said. The discoloration of the body due to decomposition made identification of race by color virtually impossible. 

Next to the body which was in a heavily wooded area, were a pair of cut-off blue jeans. The body was lying on a brown corduroy coat, believed to be a man’s coat. Empty beer cans and bottles were nearby. Residents of the area said the land was often used for outdoor beer parties.  

Mr. and Mrs. Carter said someone had been along the path May 21 and that the body was not there at that time. Carter also said he heard gunshots in the area May 21. The Carter residence is about two blocks east from the crime scene. 

He said the land had been used for pasturing cattle at one time, but is now apparently not in use. 

Recent rains hampered officers in their investigation since some evidence could have been washed away. 

The Carters said they had not observed anyone entering the area since last Sunday. 

Among those investigating were Undersheriff Roy Hall, Deputy Sheriff Bill Combs, Mayo, Lewis and OSBI agents. 

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News Clipping From June 1978

No charges to be filed in death of area woman: 

After questioning a 28-year-old man who left a woman in a wooded area northeast of Shawnee, Pottawatomie County authorities have decided not to file charges in the death of a 38-year-old Shawnee woman. 

The man, who until Thursday was a Pottawatomie County jail inmate, assaulted Shawnee police officer Raymond Turner earlier this year, Pottawatomie County Sheriff Billy Phillips said. 

Phillips also said the 28-year-old reported having blackouts during which he sometimes assaults his wife.  

But since there is no evidence he harmed the 38-year-old woman and since the state medical examiner’s office ruled there was no evidence of homicide by anyone, no charges are being filed, the sheriff said.  

Phillips said Friday he has closed the investigation into the death after consulting with District Attorney Steve Lewis. 

The badly decomposed and scantily clothed body of Shirley Gokey was found Saturday by two boys who were on their way to check the level of the North Canadian River. 

The death site is three and a half miles east of State Highway 18 on Moccasin Trail Road. 

Mrs. Gokey had been arrested several times for public drunkenness. The medical examiner noted she had an extremely bad liver and said she probably died of natural causes. 

Pierce marks originally thought to be caused by gunshots were actually caused by decomposition and surgery, the medical examiner reported. 

Sheriff Phillips and Deputy Sheriff Troy Phillips accompanied the 28-year-old man who listed a Missouri address to the side where the body was found. 

The sheriff’s office also received from the man this account of events which preceded the death: 

-About 11:30pm May 23 the man and Mrs. Gokey were talking to each other in King’s Bar, on East Main Street in Shawnee 

-About midnight the Missouri man and the deceased were the only persons, other than bar employees, who remained in the business. 

-At the women’s request, the 28 year old man drove her to the spot near Moccasin Trail Road where her body was found. 

-Although the woman requested that he not immediately leave the man, who said he was mad because he had to drive her that far, departed. 

-He (the Missouri man) was asked if he had struck her. Sherriff Phillip’s report on the incident states “He said that he had blackouts and he could have but he did not think so”. 

-“He said that on occasions he had struck his wife while drunk and having blackouts and he could have but he did not think he had struck Gokey” 

The Missouri man was placed in Pottawatomie County jail May 26 (the day before the body was found) for driving while intoxicated. 

He was released Thursday after having served his sentence. “This case,” Phillips report says, “was discussed with Steve Lewis, district attorney, and he stated that inasmuch as the autopsy disclosed no evidence for a homicide there was no grounds for any charges. The undersigned concurs to this.”  

Mrs. Gokey was found clothed only in bright blue sandals, a bra and a blouse. The bra and blouse were pulled across her neck.  

Authorities originally suspected rape, as well as homicide.

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