5 things to know about Atlanta police case on model Bridget Shiel

This year marks three years since model Bridget Shiel was found dead in a grassy area of Oakland City Park in southwest Atlanta on May 31, 2016.

Last year, Atlanta police arrested Christopher Spencer in connection with her case. He was indicted on murder, aggravated assault, armed robbery, hijacking a motor vehicle and gun charges earlier this year.

Shiel’s case has been profiled on A&E series “The First 48 Presents: Homicide Squad Atlanta.” Here are five things to know about the case:

1. Shiel was found naked with multiple gunshot wounds 

By all accounts, Shiel’s death was gruesome. Atlanta police received a call about 6:50 a.m. May 31, 2016 about a person injured. They found Shiel nude in a grassy area near the basketball court. She had multiple gunshot wounds to her back, buttocks and legs. No clothes or purse were found, making it difficult for police to track any leads.

The next day, Shiel’s car was found behind King’s Southern Delight restaurant in DeKalb County. A week later, Atlanta police announced they were looking for two men who were last seen with Shiel. Witnesses told police she was with the two men and sitting in the passenger side of her car and against her own will.

Still nothing turned up.

Police wouldn’t get any DNA evidence in the case until January 2017, nearly seven months after Shiel’s killing.


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2. A Sprite can helped police solve the case 

Police had little to work with in the case until the evidence — a sprite can and Shiel’s clothes — surfaced. Atlanta police connected Christopher Spencer to the crime once his DNA sample was provided to the state and placed in the Combined DNS Index System (CODIS) database. Spencer’s DNA was found on the Sprite can.

Spencer was one of the men last seen with Shiel. It is not clear if the second man is being sought as an additional suspect.

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3. The suspect is tied to five killings in metro Atlanta

A known gang member, Spencer is tied to five killings — including Shiel's murder— in the metro area in the past two years. Spencer, 28, is in prison for the murder of a couple in a DeKalb County home invasion. Spencer and Vernon Beamon were each convicted of multiple counts of murder in the October 2016 deaths of Samuel White Jr. and Sylvia Watson. Spencer and Beamon were sentenced to life without parole; Spencer got an extra 30 years, Beamon an extra 25.

Spencer is also one of 10 men charged in connection with a 2016 Clayton County killing of two children. Police said Tatiyana Coates, 11, and her brother Daveon Coates,15, were sleeping in a Clayton County home when they were shot to death by gang members who may have been after someone else.

In March, a Fulton County grand jury indicted Spencer on the charges related to Shiel’s murder.

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4. The case was profiled on “The First 48 Presents: Homicide Squad Atlanta”

The case gained further national attention when it was prominently featured on A&E’s “The First 48 Presents: Homicide Squad Atlanta,” a spinoff from the network’s long-running popular series. The episode included interviews from Atlanta police detectives David Quinn and Vincent Velazquez, who worked the case at the time.

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5. A motive in the killing has not been released 

Despite an arrest, Atlanta police have not released a motive in the killing, but have previously said they do not believe it was gang-related. Spencer told police he’d never seen Shiel before and denied his involvement in her killing. A motive would likely answer how Shiel met Spencer and if she was targeted.

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