Arrest Made in Disappearance and Death of Shada Esther
Moultrie, GA (April 24, 2019) – On Tuesday, April 23, 2019, the GBI and the Moultrie Police Department, with the assistance of the St. Tammany’s Parish Sheriff’s Office (LA) arrested Michael Heads, 49 years of age, for the murder of Shada Esther, which occurred on August 23, 2016. Heads was also charged with two counts of felony financial transaction card fraud. Heads was located in Slidell, Louisiana.
On August 25, 2016, the Moultrie Police Department requested the GBI to assist with a missing persons investigation after Shada Esther was reported missing by family when she did not pick up her three children at the school bus stop on August 23, 2016. The investigation determined that she was last with her live-in boyfriend, Michael Heads. Heads left Moultrie and travelled to Atlanta within an hour of Esther’s last contact with anyone else. With the assistance of the GBI Region 10 field office in Conyers, Georgia, and the Gwinnett County Police Department, Heads was interviewed and his vehicle was processed for evidence. Heads was not taken into custody at that time. Leads in the investigation continued to be followed. Heads later moved to Slidell, Louisiana.
In February 2017, the GBI Region 11 field office in Athens, Georgia, was requested by the Banks County Sheriff’s Office to process a scene where human remains were found in a wooded area in Banks County, Georgia. Evidence from this scene was collected at that time. In August 2017, after review by an anthropologist, it was noted that the remains had similarities to Esther. After reviewing a GISAC intelligence bulletin about the found remains, the assigned case agent contacted GBI Region 11 Agents to learn more about evidence collected at the scene and specifics of the remains. This eventually led to the identification. In April 2019, the remains were confirmed by DNA analysis to be those of Shada Esther.
The GBI and Moultrie Police Department secured arrest warrants and travelled to Slidell, Louisiana, to locate and arrest Heads. The St. Tammany’s Parish Sheriff’s Office provided crucial assistance in locating and arresting Heads. The St. Tammany’s Parish Sheriff’s Office also obtained search warrants so that additional evidence could be secured. The extradition process will begin in Louisiana to return Heads to Georgia to face criminal charges.
This investigation is still active and ongoing. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Moultrie Police Department at (229) 985-3131 or the GBI Thomasville Office at (229) 225-4090.
Special Agent in Charge Jamy Steinberg or Assistant Special Agent in Charge Eric Schwalls - (229) 225-4090