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Unanswered Questions in 'Unnatural' Albemarle Death

By: Jessica Cunnington Email
By: Jessica Cunnington Email

June 30, 2013

The girlfriend of 22-year-old Vince Shifflett, who passed away Thursday morning, opens up to CBS19 about the father of their child and her questions about what might have happened Wednesday night before he died.

Family, friends and the community have questions surrounding what police call an unnatural death.

Last week, Sarah Thomas, 19, and boyfriend Shifflett were planning their daughter Adrienne's first birthday party.

"I think tomorrow his funeral will hit me the worst. That's when I'll really have to say bye to him," Thomas said.

But now, she prepares for Vince's funeral, the outgoing, loving outdoorsman she planned on marrying.

"I prayed that he would wake up, but in the back of my mind I kept saying, 'That's not him,'" she said, of seeing him in the hospital bed at the University of Virginia Medical Center.

She had to say goodbye to him once there at the medical center after doctors told her and his family that Shifflett had a brain aneurysm and was brain dead, adding there wasn't much they could do to save him.

Thomas says Shifflett's grandfather had an aneurysm several years ago and died two months ago.

Police say Shifflett died of "unnatural causes" and are looking deeper into his death.

A manager at Riverside North, off Timberwood Boulevard in Albemarle County, said several police cars responded to their parking lot late Wednesday night. Paramedics took Shifflett to the hospital.

Thomas said she received lots of calls and texts saying they saw the police cars and Shifflett's truck in the parking lot.

Since she wasn't there, she says she only knows what friends who were there with Shifflett say they saw.

"He was hit, he fell, he got back up. These people took off running. He took two steps and fell again," said Thomas. "My gut feeling is that somebody hit him."

Thomas said Shifflett has been to Riverside before and been in a couple of altercations but has been able to hold his own.

The restaurant and bar created a small memorial with a two photos of Shifflett and his family that is placed at the bar for people to write notes on. One manager says lots of regular customers knew Shifflett and his family, so they wanted to respect that.

Friends also put a cross with Shifflett's name on it near the restaurant's parking lot where Shifflett was allegedly found on the ground.

Thomas says she just wants closure.

"How can the world take away someone from their child? It's just not fair."


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