Man charged in death of missing teen dies before trial

A man charged in July in the death of an Indiana teenager who vanished in 1986 has died following an undisclosed illness, leaving the teen’s family still searching for answers to her fate.

Shawn McClung, 56, died Saturday at an Indianapolis hospital before he could stand trial in the death of Denise Pflum, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department said.

Pflum was an 18-year-old high school senior in southeastern Indiana when she disappeared on March 28, 1986, after telling her family she was returning to the site of a bonfire where she had misplaced her purse the previous night.

The Connersville resident’s body has never been found. But McClung, who was Pflum’s former boyfriend when she vanished, was charged in July with voluntary manslaughter in her death.

The sheriff’s department said in a statement at that time that McClung had recently admitted that he killed Pflum in March 1986.

Pflum’s family said in a statement that “we were very disappointed that he didn’t give us the information we wanted but are hopeful that his attorney may be authorized to reveal more information after his death.”

The lawyer representing McClung said he was working with the Fayette County prosecutor and sheriff’s department to release more information and evidence from McClung, WTHR-TV reported.

Fayette County Sheriff Joey Laughlin said the investigation continues.

“Until we find Denise Pflum’s remains, this investigation stays open. We want to give the family closure, and we have some things we’re going to continue to look into,” Laughlin told WTHR-TV.

Laughlin said police believe someone else knows what happened to Pflum and are asking anyone with tips in the case to contact the Fayette County Sheriff’s Department at 765-825-1110.

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