Shawn McClung’s Indianapolis Obituary
A man died last month after telling investigators that he killed Denise Pflum, the teenage girl who disappeared from her hometown in Indiana nearly 34 years ago. That man was Shawn McClung, and he told police that he was going to confess to killing Denise in exchange for immunity from the case.
In 1986, Denise was a high school senior who loved sports and was involved in volleyball, basketball, softball, and track. She was also a member of the National Honor Society and had dreams of attending Miami University in Ohio to study microbiology.
She was a gifted athlete and ranked in the top of her class. She had plans to graduate in the summer and attend Miami in the fall.
On March 28, she left her home to retrieve her purse after a party at a farm near her hometown of Connersville. A day later, her cream-colored 1981 Buick Regal was found abandoned alongside Tower Road outside of town. It was about three miles away from the site of the party, and her family couldn’t think of any reason why she would have gone there.
The case went cold for years, but investigators finally found a break this past July when her ex-boyfriend Shawn McClung was arrested on charges of voluntary manslaughter in the case. He pleaded not guilty and his bond was set at $500,000.
McClung previously claimed that Pflum was still alive, but in July 2020, during an interview, he confessed to killing her in March 1986. At the time of his confession, he was jailed on two unrelated cases and was in failing health.
His attorney said he made the confession so that he could get out of jail and be free. Then, he died five days later from a heart attack.
Denise’s mother, Judy, recently told NBC News that she was devastated by McClung’s death and believes he made the confession in a desperate attempt to spend his final days alive.
“My daughter had everything she wanted in life, and it’s just unfortunate that she didn’t have those opportunities to be with her family.”
Her father, David, says he’s still battling the loss of his wife, but there’s nothing he can do about it. In an interview with WTHR, he says his daughter’s family has pictures and memories that help them through the sadness of losing her.
He believes that if the police had fingerprints from inside her car, they could have found her body. And he believes a red handkerchief that showed up at the scene of her accident was an important piece of evidence.
After her death, her family tried to find out what happened to their daughter and eventually contacted the Fayette County Sheriff’s Department, which has been working on the case since the 1980s. Despite a string of leads, tip and rumors, the case was never solved.
According to Fayette County Sheriff Joey Laughlin, law enforcement believes multiple people may have been involved in the case, but they haven’t found enough evidence to charge anyone else. He also said that they’ve been searching for a key piece of evidence for years, but haven’t found it yet.