US Army Pfc. Amanda Gonzales was just 19 years old when she was murdered at Fliegerhorst Kaserne, in Hanau, Germany, in 2001.
Authorities found her body in her third-floor barracks room when she was not reported to work on 5 November 2001. The autopsy revealed homicide by asphyxiation as well as being four months pregnant.
At the time of her death, she was stationed as a cook on her first assignment in the Army at the Headquarters Supply Company of the 127th Aviation Support.
What Happened To Amanda Gonzales: Mystery Of Long 21 Years
Neither the investigating officers nor the local police has been able to apprehend the killer up to this date. In the wake of her death, a 2001 flyer offered $20,000 in reward for information that could lead to the apprehension of Amanda Gonzales’s killer. The flyer also added the news of her unfortunate unborn baby who passed away in the belly of the mother.
In 2008, CID offered $100,000 in reward for anyone who could provide them with information leading to the capture and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the death of the 19-year-old. The reward was further increased to $125,000 in 2011. Up to this date, the killer is on the loose.
It has been now two decades and no one has been charged. However, after 21 years, authorities have arrested Shannon L. Wilkerson in connection with the murder of Amanda Gonzales.
Shannon L. Wilkersin was a former member of the Armed Forces. He was serving in the army at the time of the murder. Later discharged from active duty in 2004, and from the Army Reserve in 2007.
Although, no explanation has been reported on how Mr. Wilkerson is linked to the murder of Amanda Gonzales or a possible motive. Currently, DNA samples from the case are being examined. Moreover, Mr. Wilkerson has pleaded not guilty at the detention hearing in U.S. court for the Northern District in Florida. If convicted in later hearings, Mr. Wilkerson could face a life sentence in prison.
Mr. Wilkerson is now charged with first-degree murder and the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act, which grants the U.S. Federal Courts the right to order former members of the military to appear in the courts for crimes that occurred overseas.
Both her parents, Santoz Gonzalez and Gloria Bates have been struggling to find closure regarding the matter for the past two decades. The loss of their only daughter has formed a void in their lives. Gloria Bates was thrilled to hear the news of the apprehension of the possible killer from the authorities.
In her words, she felt as “if she have bought a rollercoaster ticket and the rollercoaster just showed up.” It appears that the father and mother are prepared to open the old wounds to unearth the real truth behind the murder of their daughter. On the other hand, her father has been eagerly waiting for the hard answers.
Amanda Gonzales was born in 1989 and grew up in Madisonville, Texas. She reportedly topped the class with a straight A in high school. She always wanted to become a physical therapist for children. She was also fond of traveling.
She joined the army when she got the opportunity to serve in Europe in 2000. She used to travel and make use of her free time when she was posted in Europe. It is believed that she visited Paris, several castles in Germany, and other historical places.
She was called “Firecracker” in the camp because she was always ready to put up a good fight with anyone who bullied her. Her mother believes that Amanda definitely put up a good fight even in her last breath.