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New Image Released: 8 Year-Old Still Missing


On October 29, 2023, Shy’Kemmia Pate should be celebrating her 34th birthday. Instead, her family and the entire Unadilla, Georgia community are still desperately seeking answers regarding her disappearance.

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) released this new age progression image to show what “Shy Shy” may look like today at age 34. Her mother, Veronica Pate, hopes the image will generate new information surrounding her daughter’s disappearance.

shy shy, age progressed

Shy Shy, age-progressed to 34.

“I am not going to give up or stop believing that she will come back one day,” Veronica said.

The family's heartbreaking experience began on September 4, 1998, in their hometown of Unadilla, Georgia. That evening, around 5 p.m., the community was eagerly preparing for a Friday night high school football game. Crumpler Avenue, the very street where Shy Shy lived, buzzed with activity as neighbors congregated, engaging in conversations and partaking in card games and dominos.

LaSwanda, Shy Shy’s sister, was just 17 years old at the time. She had her own group of friends and was old enough to drive. On that fateful evening, she was supposed to take Shy Shy to the game.

“I drove by the house and saw her sitting on the porch,” LaSwanda said. “She waved to me. I went up the street to get gas for the car, and when I returned, Shy Shy was not on the front porch.”

LaSwanda thought her sister had gotten a ride with a friend – Unadilla was the kind of place where everyone knew each other, and kids often hung out with different families. But as night fell, panic started creeping in. Shy Shy was nowhere to be found, and worry grew with each passing moment.

“I got home from the game and when I didn’t see Shy Shy, I asked my mom where she was and she said she wasn’t home,” explained LaSwanda. “Around 10 o’clock we still hadn’t found her. Nobody’d heard from her.”

The Dooly County Sheriff’s Office was called and they began searching for the 8-year-old. Sheriff Craig Peavy remembers that day all too well.

“We started searching for the little girl, everybody was involved,” said Peavy. “State agencies, federal was probably one of the most massive searches I've ever been a part of or ever even seen.”

The search for Shy Shy continued for months. Law enforcement went door to door, looking for any sign of the little girl.

“We were just out searching fields, dirt roads, anything...anything that might give us a lead,” said Peavy.

More than two decades later, there are still no answers as to what happened to the little girl. 

community gathers to raise awareness for shy shy

Community gathered in Unadilla, Georgia on May 20, 2023 to raise awareness for Shy’Kemmia Pate and all missing children.

The entire community is still holding on to the hope that Shy Shy is out there somewhere and just doesn’t know her true identity. “I've assured the family we won't quit," said Peavy.

Peavy was serving as a deputy for the Dooly County Sheriff's Department in Unadilla back in 1998 when Shy’Kemmia disappeared. At the time, his father, Sheriff Van Peavy, was in charge of the case. He dedicated himself to finding Shy Shy until his passing in 2015.

“When my father died, I know [the case] was on his mind,” said Peavy. “I mean, that's all he thought about. My father was determined to find answers for the Pate family and vowed never to give up on the search for her and neither will I.”

Craig Peavy is now Sheriff Peavy, taking over the reins from his father. He pledges to uphold his father’s mission to uncover what happened to the little girl.

“It is going to take everybody working together. I do truly believe one day we'll solve this.”

Investigators are asking the public to delve into their memories, back to the year 1998. Shy Shy’s family said she suffers from asthma and needs assistance in breathing. She was last seen wearing a bright neon green Atlanta Braves Jersey with red lettering, Levi’s jeans and a leg brace. If you have any information concerning Shy’Kemmia Pate, please call the Dooly County Sheriff’s Office (Georgia) at 1-229-645-0920 or the NCMEC at 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678).