Rantoul man arrested for attempted murder in Florida

UPDATED 11:20 a.m. SATURDAY

RANTOUL — A Rantoul man was arrested Friday for allegedly trying to kill his own girlfriend, who had been in a medically induced coma in a Florida hospital and unidentified for almost a month. 

Shawn P. O'Bryan, 38, remained in the Champaign County Jail in Urbana Saturday, held without bond on a warrant out of Suwannee County, Florida, for the attempted murder of Shannon M. Wrench, 34, also of Rantoul.

Rantoul police Sgt. Marcus Beach said it wasn't until earlier this week that authorities even learned the identity of the severely injured Wrench through fingerprints.

Badly beaten, Wrench was found about 10 a.m. on Monday, July 16, on the side of a rural county road off U.S. 90 near Live Oak, Fla., which is in northern Florida about mid-way between Tallahassee and Jacksonville.

"A passerby saw a leg protruding from bushes off the road. When the sheriff got there, they found who we now know to be Shannon Wrench, unconscious and not responsive about 80 feet off the roadway. She had no identification on her. She had a severe head injury and multiple abrasions and bruises," said Beach, who has actively worked the case with Florida authorities since Wednesday.

Wrench was airlifted to a University of Florida hospital in Gainesville, Beach said, where medical authorities put her in a coma to assist her recovery while police set about trying to learn her identity.

"They had no idea who she was. They submitted her fingerprints to AFIS (Automated Fingerprint Identification System) and also put out flyers in the area trying to identify who she was. They didn't have any luck. No one was able to identify her until Wednesday, Aug. 8, when they got the fingerprint results back," said Beach.

Learning she was from Rantoul, Suwannee County sheriff's investigators contacted Beach Wednesday to see if Rantoul police had had contact with her or her family members. Beach learned that in May, Wrench had been involved in a traffic stop in Rantoul in a Dodge Durango sport utility vehicle. They also found the name of a former boyfriend of hers through a separate police contact.

Based on that information, Beach interviewed the former boyfriend in Rantoul, who reported he had last seen Wrench around the first of July in Rantoul. Her SUV was loaded with personal items and she told him that she was moving to Florida. That man also identified O'Bryan as Wrench's current boyfriend.

Police then went to O'Bryan's house and found the Dodge Durango - which registered to both her and O'Bryan - in the back of the house. Working with the Florida authorities, Beach said Rantoul police obtained a search warrant for the SUV and interviewed O'Bryan. They talked with him but did not have probable cause to arrest him on Wednesday. 

On Thursday, Aug. 9, Wrench regained consciousness and was able to talk to police.

"She was able to verify that she was with Shawn and he was the one that injured her," said Beach, declining to go into specifics of what she said. He did say that the beating occurred in the rural location where she was found.

Florida authorities then obtained the warrant for O'Bryan's arrest on Friday and Rantoul police arrested him at his home in the 600 block of St. Andrews Circle about 4:15 p.m. without incident.

Beach said O'Bryan on Wednesday had asked for a lawyer so police did not interview him further after his arrest Friday.

He said Wrench and O'Bryan were planning to move to Florida together to find work. O'Bryan apparently is from the area in Florida where she was found.

O'Bryan is expected to appear before a Champaign County judge Monday to address the question of his extradition to Florida.

Comments

News-Gazette.com embraces discussion of both community and world issues. We welcome you to contribute your ideas, opinions and comments, but we ask that you avoid personal attacks, vulgarity and hate speech. We reserve the right to remove any comment at our discretion, and we will block repeat offenders' accounts. To post comments, you must first be a registered user, and your username will appear with any comment you post. Happy posting.

Login or register to post comments

TallahasseeGirl wrote on August 10, 2012 at 11:08 pm

The female victim was also from Rantoul, IL. Her name is Shannon Wrench, she was in such severe condition - unresponsive, and badly beaten, then left for dead,  that they had her in a medically induced coma since she was found around July 16th, she had been either drug or managed herself to get off of the roadway, it was estimated she had been in that location for a day, before a passerby spotted her leg and investigated. There were also tire marks - it is likely he tried to run her over with the vehicle.  Google Jane Doe in Florida for more details and updates.

rsp wrote on August 11, 2012 at 2:08 am

Shannon is my cousin. I am shocked to say the least to be reading this. It wasn't until I saw her picture that I was sure. I still don't know what to say. 

Marti Wilkinson wrote on August 11, 2012 at 8:08 am

Following the lead of TallahasseeGirl, I looked up your cousins name online. I truly hope she finds full recovery from what was done to her. The crime committed against her was horrible, and I'm glad that that authorities worked hard to identify her. When I read that the people in the area held a candlelight vigil for her, it reminded me that complete strangers can show a level of care and love that is amazing. I'm glad to know that people were willing to pull for her while she was in a coma. I hope the News-Gazette will follow up on the story and share more about what happened to her.

nksather wrote on August 11, 2012 at 2:08 pm

I am in West Virginia! And have been following this case since Shannon was found! We search all over trying to find out who she was! I am glad Shannon has found her family and they caught the horriable guy who did this to her! We are trying to get together and send Giftcards and other things Shannon may need! God Bless you Shannon! I am praying you continue to get better and get to go home with your family soon! You have so many people who really care about you!

Dixie wrote on August 14, 2012 at 8:08 am
rsp wrote on August 16, 2012 at 12:08 am

This is not supported by Shannon's family.

illini_trucker wrote on August 11, 2012 at 7:08 pm

I don't think anyone really knew until this light was shed. Shannon was a waitress at a good restaurant here in town(Rantoul). Once two and two were added together about who this was, I'm still awestruck. Shannon has always been an awesome person to me. This just really hit too super close to home. I hope O'Bryan gets 10 years for each single day that Shannon was in a coma. No death penalty please Florida. There are more just punishments than the easy way out. Ya just sit down and think "this woman served me and my family snd friends  coffee for years.." and a few months later you read that she was left for dead by a man who was supposed to love and protect her... Like a piece of deer meat left laying in the bushes off of a highway. Anonymity being no more, Shannon, if u read this, it's Mike, friend of Brian (I know u remember him!!!), I would like to place myself in the long line of hugs due to you when u get back to Rantoul. I'm for a good portion emotionless.. At least I keep to myself... But this really struck an emotional tone. Please get better!! Praying for the best for you and welcome wishes should you come back to Rantoul.

red island wrote on August 13, 2012 at 11:08 am

Suwannee County's finest did not allow Shannon to be swept under any rug. and as for the groups they are both for the support of Shannon, one the smaller one is there to comply with the family's wishes where as the other group is more into digging information on Shannon and posting it all over cyber world.

rsp wrote on August 14, 2012 at 2:08 am

It might be helpful for people to remember that my cousin Shannon is a crime victim who is unable to speak for herself. Meanwhile people are posting links with photos and information about her all over without any thought of her interests or wishes. It was one thing to show her picture around to try and identify her. It's completely another to treat her information no better that Shawn Patrick O'Bryan did. Shannon is a real person with real feeling and real people who love her. People who watched her grow up. Please respect her privacy.