Laura Lynn Thompson

1 AP
Left: Laura, circa 1993;
Right: Age-progression to age 35 (circa 2012)

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Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

  • Missing Since: January 7, 1993 from New Castle, Pennsylvania
  • Classification: Endangered Missing
  • Date Of Birth: April 5, 1977
  • Age: 15 years old
  • Height and Weight: 5'6, 140 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian female. Red hair, blue eyes. Laura has a light-colored birthmark at her hairline on the back of her neck.
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    Details of Disappearance

    Laura was last seen in New Castle, Pennsylvania on January 7, 1993. She was a high school student and the mother of a nine-month-old son at the time of her disappearance. Her case was classified as a runaway for many years after her disappearance, although she had no history of such behavior and she didn't take any belongings with her.

    In September 2010 two suspects, Joseph N. Marshall Jr. and his friend Sean McDonough, were charged with Laura's murder. Photographs of both of them are posted below this case summary. Laura knew them, and she was last seen en route to play cards with them. The alleged homicide came to light when Joseph's wife, Shannon Marshall, went to the police in the summer of 2010 and told them what she knew. She had known about the crime since January 1993. During their engagement, Joseph had told her he killed someone, but didn't name his victim. Later he told her more, stating McDonough had persuaded Laura to come over, and they took her to a cabin in the woods Shenango Township, Pennsylvania. There, McDonough stabbed Laura to death and had sex with her corpse. Several months later, McDonough returned to the shallow grave where he'd buried Laura, removed her skull, teeth and hands, and moved them elsewhere. In the summer of 1993, Shannon accompanied Joseph and McDonough when they dug up the rest of Laura's body and dumped it in a field or ravine.

    Shannon didn't come to the authorities with her information until July 2010; she had decided to divorce Joseph and was afraid for her life. She agreed to wear a wire and recorded conversations with her husband and McDonough that implicated them. Authorities stated Shannon has not been charged in the presumed homicide and Joseph is now cooperating with the investigation. Both suspects are awaiting trial. Joseph is charged with criminal homicide, murder, conspiracy and abuse of a corpse. McDonough faces the same charges in addition to two counts of rape. He was living in Thibodaux, Louisiana at the time of his arrest.

    Investigators are looking for Laura's remains. Foul play is suspected in her case due to the circumstances involved. Her disappearance remains classified as a runaway with many agencies.

    Marshall McDonough
    Left: Joseph Marshall Jr.;
    Right: Sean McDonough

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    Investigating Agency
    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
    New Castle Police Department
    724-658-4741

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    Source Information
    The National Center For Missing and Exploited Children
    Westminster Cable Network
    The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
    The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
    WTAE 4
    The Beaver County Times
    The Valley Vindicator
    The Houma Courier

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    Updated 3 times since October 12, 2004.

    Last updated September 30, 2013; age-progression updated.

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