'Suwannee Doe' has been ID'd; boyfriend charged

Published: Saturday, September 1, 2012 at 5:26 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, September 1, 2012 at 5:26 p.m.

Details on the background and life of Shannon Wrench, named “Suwannee Doe” by area residents, have surfaced as Wrench begins to communicate what happened to her in mid-July when she was found on the side of 153rd Road near U.S. 90 in Suwannee County.

Meantime, her boyfriend, Shawn Patrick O’Bryan, who came to Florida when Wrench moved here from Illinois, sits in the Suwannee County jail, charged with attempted first-degree murder and accused of inflicting Wrench’s injuries.

“She remembers a lot of it,” Suwannee County Sheriff Tony Cameron said. “She remembers what happened. She has made statements.”

When Wrench was found in the weeds on the side of the road, she was moaning and had a serious head injury, officials said. Emergency workers transported her to Shands at the University of Florida, where she was put into a medically induced coma.

Thousands rallied around Wrench even before her identity was known, supporting her through Facebook pages and a candlelight vigil.

“In the beginning, she had nobody,” Facebook group organizer Jamie Herman said. “She was found on the side of the road, overnight in her condition, living.”

Members of the group worked day and night to uncover the identity of this mystery woman, Herman said. The more they dug, the more involved some of them became.

“As days went on, we fell more in love,” Herman said.

Wrench has been in close contact with family, Herman said. She said she could not release the details communicated by Wrench but called the incident “brutal.”

Wrench hails from Illinois. Her cousin Amanda Good said Wrench traveled to Florida with O’Bryan to look for work.

Cameron said when Wrench’s fingerprints were taken and her hometown of Rantoul, Ill., was located, the evidence led right to O’Bryan.

Good said she was shocked when she heard about Wrench’s injuries, several days after her cousin awoke from her month-long coma in early August.

“I could not believe it was her,” she said.

Wrench has two children who currently live with their father in Illinois, said Good, who was not sure of their ages. “They are not babies but not adults either,” she said.

Good said Wrench is a loving mother, a hard worker and an outgoing and fun person to be around.

“Shannon comes from a very close Christian family,” Good said, noting that Wrench is not reckless and is dedicated to her children.

The Facebook groups that rallied in support of Wrench characterize her as a survivor. Good said this characterization is true to life.

“She is a very strong woman,” Good said. “She stands up for what she believes in.”

Herman called Wrench’s story beautiful.

“That’s amazing for her to be able to remember,” Herman said. “It shows her courage, it shows how strong she is just to survive what she survived.”

Wrench is still bedridden, recovering from the severe head injury, Good said. She is communicating very little, but signs point toward recovery, Good said.

Wrench does not remember everything, but she has communicated some specifics about the incident leading to her injury, Good said.

“She is recovering; she is getting better,” Good said.

Cameron said he has heard of similar improvements.

“Each time we have sent people down to see her, she’s better each time,” he said.

“The severity of what happened to her, it’s going to be a long process for her to recover,” Good said. “She needs her family and familiar people around her and everything else. She would heal a lot faster.”

Wrench’s mother traveled from Illinois to visit her, Cameron said. Her family is trying to raise money to have Wrench travel to Illinois for treatment, Good said.

They are accepting donations on Facebook pages and at truck stops to bring Wrench to Illinois, Good said.

“The priority is to get her well, get her to where she can travel at least,” Good said.

Herman said Wrench’s story has hit close to home for many people who fear they or someone they know could one day end up in a similar situation.

“Sometimes when something like this happens, it affects everybody,” she said.

Supporters have established friendships while supporting Wrench, Herman said. Now that Wrench’s family is involved, Herman said she hopes the interest in her case comes to an end and the Wrench family can have some peace.

“There’s nothing any of us can do,” Herman said. “In the end, it was all Shannon.”

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