Dead girl's father described whipping her with belt, warrant states

Nahshon Shannon, accused of killing his 13-year-old daughter Janessa Shannon, appears in court in early October. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
Nahshon Shannon, accused of killing his 13-year-old daughter Janessa Shannon, appears in court in early October. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
Published Oct. 26, 2017

TAMPA — The day after investigators identified his daughter's body, Nahshon Shannon spoke to Hillsborough sheriff's detectives about the last time he saw her.

As he tapped out text messages on his phone, Shannon described picking up his daughter, Janessa, on July 1 from her mother's house in Bradenton. She had gotten in trouble there for sneaking out after dark.

He took her to his own home in Riverview. In the living room, he used a belt on her three times, he told the detectives.

"(By the) third spanking she's like trying to like grab the belt and all this kind of stuff," he said.

The new details are part of a recently unsealed search warrant affidavit in the case of Shannon, who is accused of killing his daughter. The investigative narrative, which sheriff's officials wrote and presented to a judge to justify searches of Shannon's Facebook account, includes text that was censored from a previously released court document.

PREVIOUS STORY: Father charged in 13-year-old Janessa Shannon's death

PREVIOUS STORY: Janessa Shannon, 13, may have been strangled, had cocaine and alcohol traces in her body, court record says

The newly visible text includes a summary of Shannon's interview with detectives, which occurred in Philadelphia.

Shannon had gone there for contract work shortly after he reported Janessa missing July 3.

When detectives came to talk to him, they noted Shannon had not told his boss or coworkers that his daughter was missing, according to the affidavit.

He told the investigators that after spanking Janessa, he sent her to her room. That was about 10 p.m. on July 1. He then took a muscle relaxer and watched Dragon Ball Z, a Japanese anime TV show, before falling asleep, he said.

He did not check on his daughter until 5 p.m. the next day, he said, according to the affidavit. She had vanished.

Shannon informed Michelle Mosley, Janessa's mother, of her disappearance just after 6:30 p.m. on July 2, the affidavit states.

The mother told investigators that Shannon claimed his girlfriend, Beena Nair, was with him the night he spanked Janessa. He implied as much in a text message to Mosley, according to the affidavit.

However, when the detectives separately questioned Nair and Shannon, both claimed Nair was not at Shannon's home that night.

A review of their cell phone records revealed a text message in the early evening of July 1. In it, Shannon told Nair to leave his home so that he could "deal with" Janessa, according to the affidavit.

Janessa was missing for nine days before a hiker found her body near an unearthed shallow grave in the isolated Triple Creek Nature Preserve in southeast Hillsborough County. Her body had been wrapped in a black plastic bag, which was sealed with clear tape.

A search of Shannon's home turned up a roll of tape, which investigators said was consistent with the tape on the black bag, according to the affidavit. A shovel that investigators seized from Shannon's garage had dirt on it, which forensic analysts said was consistent with the soil near where Janessa's body was found. A screw from the shovel was also missing. It matched a screw that detectives found on the ground near the grave.

Keep up with Tampa Bay’s top headlines

Keep up with Tampa Bay’s top headlines

Subscribe to our free DayStarter newsletter

We’ll deliver the latest news and information you need to know every morning.

You’re all signed up!

Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.

Explore all your options

A medical examiner determined Janessa's nose was broken before she died and that she may have been strangled. Toxicology tests also showed traces of alcohol and cocaine in her body.

Shannon was arrested Oct. 5 on charges of first-degree felony murder and aggravated child abuse.

At a court hearing Oct. 11, he told a judge he was dissatisfied with the services of a public defender and wanted more time to hire a private defense attorney. He is scheduled to be back in court Monday morning.

Contact Dan Sullivan at or (813) 226-3386. Follow @TimesDan.