Buried in his own backyard – the disappearance and death of Michael Shaver

Michael Shaver and Laurie Paddleford were childhood sweethearts that started dating when they were in the 7th grade.   They lived then in Laurens, NY.

Laurie was born in October 1982 and Michael was born in January 1982.  
After they left school, Michael trained and worked as a commercial pilot.  He found his dream job in the late 2000’s as a mechanic at Walt Disney World and the family relocated to Central Florida. 

In March of 2014, they obtained a mortgage for a property on 9850 Sandy Pines Road in Lake County, Florida for $163,817.

The house is listed on realtor.com as a 4 bed, 3 bath 2176 sq foot home on a 5 acre lot.  

5 acres high and dry. Property backs up to conservation. No rear neighbors. Bring your horses or board someone elses. Property has horse barn, 4 pastures and is fenced and cross fenced. Room to roam, room for toys; come get away from it all. Home has a sizeable kitchen with breakfast bar, island and stainless steel appliances. Open plan, 3 full bathrooms, ceramic tile and wood laminate throughout the house, walk in closets, inside utility room, and more. Master bedroom is carpeted and has a roomywalk in closet, and adjoining office or sitting room. Master bath features include dual sinks, jetted tub and separate shower. Well pump replaced 6 months ago. Septic pumped every 2 years (pumped last in March 2013). Traditional sale. Ready for new owners. Agents, please be sure to read realtor only remarks.

9850 Sandy Pines Rd, Clermont, FL 34711
The Shaver home

Things were going well for the Shaver family, until 2014.  Their marriage began to fall apart:

The couple bought their house on Sandy Pines Road on March 25, 2014.

On June 24, 2014, Mike texted a friend saying that Laurie filed for divorce ‘last night’.

On July 22, 2014, a domestic violence charge against Michael was filed.

On August 1, 2014, Laurie Shaver crashed her truck into a tree, totaling it, on Florida Boys Ranch Road. Both children are injured. Laurie claimed she bent over to retrieve her purse, but neighbors believe she was drinking. Needing a new truck, she purchases a white one from a J. Ballew.

On September 4, 2014, there was more trouble in the Shaver household. According to an arrest affidavit, Laurie said the two of them began arguing over a home repair job. It escalated, she said, when Michael grabbed her arm and shoved her into a wall. She said Michael went into the bedroom and retrieved a .40-caliber handgun out of his nightstand. She said they struggled over the gun and he hit her in the head with it. She was able to get car keys out of his pocket and flee with the couple’s children to the Target store in Clermont. The deputy noted that she had bruising on her arms and back, cuts on her hands and arms and a bruise on her left cheek.

Michael was questioned at their home and he said, “It turned violent so fast.” He said he couldn’t remember who landed the first blow. He said he probably did grab his wife to “calm her down.” He claimed Laurie threw a vase of flowers at him, which shattered against a sliding glass door. He said she then grabbed a .38-caliber Cobra handgun out of her nightstand and said she was “going to end it now.” He wrestled the gun from her, then grabbed his gun. She ran into the living room, where he cornered her. She grabbed the .38, which he had just unloaded, and struck him in the head with the pistol. He had a cut on his head, the deputy noted. He was arrested as “the primary aggressor,” the report said. He entered a pretrial intervention program (PTI), so the charge was dropped.

At that time, Michael’s sister Stacie said on Facebook “Along with the domestic violence charges, Laurie took off with the kids, driving drunk, while Michael waited at his home for the police. They were both going to be arrested, children would have been placed with CPS, so Michael told police to just take him”.

In September 2014, an Order of Protection was also filed against Laurie, by Lisa Ballew.

Laurie filed another order of protection against Michael on September 11, 2014 for domestic violence and drops it 11 days later.

We are now at 2015.  At some point during this year, A friend of Michael’s sent his ex-girlfriend to the Shaver home and she told him she saw Michael’s wallet, phone, guns, and other personal items.

On April 28, 2015, the State of Florida recommended the courts successfully discharged Michael Shaver from his PTI, permanently defer prosecution and dismiss the case. He was officially released from his PTI on May 18, 2015.

In May 2015, Michael and Laurie were spotted by a neighbor shooting guns in their backyard.

During the Summer of 2015, Laurie took both kids to New York to visit family. Mike contacted the authorities and said that he did not want the children to leave the state. 

On August 4, 2015, Laurie and Michael filed for an LLC.

Michael’s sister Stacie has said that she last spoke to him in October 2015. 

Milke’s friend Scott said that they went four-wheeling together on October 11, 2015.  

On November 7, 2015- a co-worker said their families spent the day together at The Florida Flywheelers tractor show in Ft. Meade, Florida

Michael’s last documented appearance at work was November 8, 2015.  A co-worker, Cory Lutzow, said he saw Mike when they both clocked out.

Nov 10, 2015- Mike was scheduled to work but didn’t show up or call off.

Nov 11, 2015 Mike sends this text to his work “I quit don’t contact me, you can keep all my tools”.

Later in November 2015, a co-worker went to pick Mike up for a truck show they had talked about previously. Mike was not there and Laurie tried to sell the co-worker Mike’s guns.

At some point in early 2016- Laurie Shaver told deputies that she had been in a relationship with Travis Filmer since early that year, and the two plan to marry, according to sheriff’s reports  I tried to find out why LE was visiting Laurie at this time- if anyone knows, let us know!

Travis Filmer was a “student life coordinator” with Real Life Christian Church.

On April 20, 2016, “Mike” replied to a friend’s repeated text by saying “I’m good ok just don’t feel like talking to anyone now. Dealing with a lot of shit right now”.

The friend said that the message was not written in Michael’s normal structure. 

On July 6, 2016, Laurie had a mediation stipulation with Capital One.  She was ordered to pay back $2658.11.

According to information that we now know, Travis Filmer said he met Laurie in the summer of 2016 and they got married in December 2017. He told investigators they should be able to find a copy of the divorce in the Clerk of Court’s files. Detectives said there was no divorce file.

From August 1- August 22, 2016- Mike’s Discover Card- $3,088 was owed on the card. Records indicate that the card was issued on Aug. 1, 2016, and terminated on Aug. 22 of that year. However, the court paperwork also indicates that he had been a card holder since 2014, so it is not clear if the Aug. 1 date refers to efforts to collect on an earlier balance, or if there was a new card issued on that date. The paperwork in the court file does not include a signature for Michael.

On November 16, 2016, Discover Bank sent out to Mike a civil cover sheet
According to documents, the person who tried to serve the paperwork said he showed up at Michael Shaver’s home and honked, but the gate was locked and no one came out.

The person serving the notice left behind a business card. Days later, he got a voicemail from Laurie Shaver, who said her husband hadn’t lived there since 2014 when he was arrested for battery with a firearm. She told him she doesn’t know where he was living.

On December 31, 2016, Laurie married Travis Filmer at the home on Sandy Pines Road, right near the firepit.   Travis noted the marriage on his Facebook page. 

On April 7, 2017- Discover Bank’s case against Michael is dropped because the summons could not be served.

May 9, 2017- Travis changed his Facebook profile cover image to a photo of him and Laurie holding hands and praying over the bible.

On June 19,2 017, Travis’ mother posted a photo from Laurie and Travis’ big day to her FB page.  She also announced that the couple were expecting a baby – her grandchild – and that it was due to be born in February.  This means that Laurie was quite newly pregnant – maybe a month or 6 weeks?

On August 6, 2017, Laurie’s grandmother passed away. Laurie and Travis are listed as married in her obituary.

Marjorie is survived by her son and daughter-in-law, Stanley E. and Molly Paddleford of Oneonta; grandchildren, Jeanne Anderson of Milford, Scott and Shelly Smith of Albany, Lance Monroe of Oneonta, Alicia and Jamie Ray of Saquoit and Laurie and Travis Filmer of Clearmont, Florida; great-grandchildren, Kyle Paddleford, Brett Decker, Alexander Ray, Logan Ray, Aspen Ray, Isabelle Shaver and Aidan Shaver; great-great-granddaughter, Lauren Decker; brother, Louie and Jane Trask of Mount Vision; sister-in-law, Roberta Trask; several nieces, nephews and cousins.

August 16, 2017- Travis’ mother posted another photo of the couple again, announcing her grandbaby would be born in Feb 2018.

September 14, 2017- Travis posted this Facebook picture of Laurie and him at the beach.

On November 14, 2017, Michael Shaver’s Facebook was updated. “Mike” posted a photo of a gun to his page. This post was made two years after the last confirmed sighting of Michael.

On January 2, 2018, Michael ‘updated’ his Facebook account again.  It shows a group at a bar drinking.  Someone did a google image search and found that the photo came from an instagram account with the handle  –sportsmans_redneck_juice.

On January 18, 2018, Laurie gave birth to her first child with Travis. 

Around February 2018, Scott Amatuccio (Michael’s best friend) started to talk to other friends and Michael’s sister and they all realized that nobody had physically seen Michael since 2015 (even though his Facebook account was still being updated). One friend mentioned they went to Michael’s house in November 2015 and Michael was not there.The friend reported that Laurie Shaver said Michael had gotten into a black sport utility vehicle and didn’t return, and the friend talked about a fire pit and cement that hadn’t been there previously. 

On Feb 16, 2018- Scott reported Michael missing. Scott told police that he hadn’t seen Michael Shaver in years. He chalked it up for awhile to their busy lives. But in mid-February, he asked deputies to check on the 36-year-old.  “I got this gut-wrenching feeling that something is not right,” he explained. Investigators say they went to Shaver’s home near Clermont. They say they met with his wife, who said she also hadn’t seen her husband since 2015. Deputies say at first, she invited them inside to talk.  “Upon speaking to her for a few minutes the conversation ended up making its way outside the home at which time she stopped being cooperative and she requested her attorney,” said Lt. John Herrell with the Sheriff’s Office.

Another LE officer spoke about the day:

“My understanding is that their conversation went outside to the back of the house, and that’s when it abruptly stopped. We were no longer allowed any access to the property after that,” said Sgt. Fred Jones with the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.

When deputies went to the house, she let them search her home but when they wanted to look outside by the concrete slab, she said she wanted to call her lawyer.

The slab was near a firepit.

“Upon walking up to the concrete slab, a 3-foot by 6-foot depression was noticed immediately. The depression appeared to have a browning discoloration and resembled … a shallow grave beneath the slab,” the deputy noted in his report. A layer of newer concrete had been poured over the depression.

“It was shoddy workmanship,” Herrell said of the slab. “It was not smooth at all.” He figured the slab is about 2 inches thick. Another deputy wrote in his report that, ”…you can almost make out the shape of the body and the direction it is laying.” Laurie said the slab used to be part of a chicken coop. When they got rid of the chickens they had planned to dig out the area for a pond.

Asked if Michael was buried beneath the slab, she told the deputy, “No, that’s ridiculous,” according to the report.

By March 1, 2018, Laurie had retained an attorney – Jeff Wiggs.

On March 9, 2018, Deputies armed with search warrants hunted all day for clues into the disappearance of Michael Shaver, 35. A cadaver dog brought in from the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office “alerted” two times on an area outside the Shaver home at 9850 Sandy Pines Road. Investigators then used ground radar, shovels and a backhoe. That search turned up nothing, however. It wasn’t until 5:05 p.m., when deputies turned their attention to a concrete slab in another area of the four- to five-acre site, that they eventually unearthed a human upper arm bone, said Lt. John Herrell.

Investigators were able to identify it as a human with the help of forensic anthropologists from the University of Florida, Herrell said.

On March 10, the search continued.  Additional remains and articles of clothing were found and Laurie was named a person of interest.

It took months for the remains to be identified.  On June 15, 2018, the police confirmed that the remains belonged to Michael Shaver.  

Detectives were able to match Michael’s DNA with his father’s, according to Lake Sheriff’s Lt. John Herrell. Douglas Shaver lives in the state of Georgia.

On October 12, 2018, the bank started the foreclosure process on the Shaver home in Clermont.  

Laurie responded to the foreclosure on November 15, 2018.  

“Were it not for the slander and interference of both law enforcement and the news media, the respondent could have fulfilled her contractual obligations,” she said in her response.

Many people have questioned how Michael’s friends and family did not miss him sooner.  Stacie Shaver (Mike’s sister) said- “His family has tried to find them by ourselves without involving authorities. That thing he married to lead everyone to believe he just took off and didn’t want to be bothered, as she is a sociopath. I have tried probably hundreds of times to find him”

A group member asked was there a specific reason the family didn’t want the police involved? Desiree Ruggles replied “We kept getting told we couldn’t do anything without proper identification like social security number. Another member asked why they took the friend’s information. Stacie Shaver replied “I think they took his friends info because it was for a wellness check, not missing person at that point.

Stacie also spoke to the Orlando Sentinel :

“We didn’t want to get the authorities involved because we thought we could find him on our own,” she said. “We knew that he was going through some marital issues. We thought he wanted to be by himself.”

We are now at August 2020,  and there have been no arrests in relation to Michael’s case.  He clearly didn’t bury his own body under the firepit, someone must be accountable for this.  

The latest update from LE was in May 2020.  They revealed they know how Michael died and that Laurie is still the main suspect.  

“It’s under investigation by law enforcement,” said Assistant State Attorney Emily Curington. “I know they’re going to be doing additional interviews.”

The Daily Commercial reached out to Laurie for comment this year, and her attorney Jeff Wiggs responded:

“She doesn’t know who did this crime, or how it happened. He had a lot of enemies and was not liked by a lot of people.”

We do know that Laurie and Travis no longer live in the house at Sandy Pines Road.  They packed up and moved out.  Maybe showing what type of people they are, they left their pet pig there to fend for itself.

On September 17, 2020, we got the update we had all been waiting for. Laurie Shaver was arrested!

Laurie’s mugshot

She faces charges of second-degree murder for the death of her husband and accessory after the fact to second-degree murder. She is being held in the Lake County jail without bail.

You can read Laurie Shaver’s arrest affidavit here.

3 thoughts on “Buried in his own backyard – the disappearance and death of Michael Shaver

  1. By: Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com
    Updated: September 17, 2020 – 11:42 AM
    LAKE COUNTY, Fla. — The wife of a Lake County man whose remains were found buried in the backyard of his family’s home after he hadn’t been seen in three years was arrested Thursday charged with second-degree homicide.

    Deputies said they discovered Michael Shaver’s remains in March 2018 buried beneath a concrete slab in the backyard of the home he’d lived in with his wife, Laurie Shaver. Deputies said the remains were found after a friend asked for a wellness check on the man reporting that he hadn’t been heard from since 2015.

    READ: Remains found on Clermont property are those of man missing since 2015, deputies say

    Content Continues Below

    After two years of active investigation, Shaver was arrested Thursday morning at her home in Okahumpka charged with second-degree homicide (domestic violence) and accessory after the fact to second-degree homicide. She is being held with no bond.

    When deputies first arrived to the home on Sandy Pines Road for the well-being check in 2018, Shaver said she hadn’t heard from Michael since 2015 and allowed investigators to search the home.

    READ: Deputies: Bone discovered beneath concrete slab at missing Lake County man’s home

    Deputies said she was cooperative at first, but she then told them they would have to speak to her attorney. In 2018, investigators identified her as a person of interest in the case.

    No court records were discovered that show the couple divorced, but neighbors told Channel 9 that Laurie Shaver was remarried during a backyard ceremony in the area where investigators searched for Michael’s remains.

    READ: Lake County investigators search Clermont property again after remains, clothing found

    Records said the couple was involved in a domestic dispute in 2014. Deputies said Laurie Shaver struck Michael Shaver with a gun, but he was arrested because it was believed he pulled out the weapon.

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