Family trying to keep victim's kidnappers behind bars

February 20, 2012 1:04:02 PM PST
One of two men convicted in the disappearance of a Texas City teen almost 30 years is coming up for parole. Shelley Sikes' family is trying to make sure he doesn't get out.

There are some stories that stick with you, and this is one of them. A 19-year-old girl who could have been anyone's daughter leaves work and never returns to her parents. The disappearance of Shelley Sikes is still remembered and her family wants the public to never forget.

Shelley's picture is frozen in time to the day a photograph was taken. She had her life in front of her. But on a May night 24 years ago, after she left her job at Gaido's in Galveston, she was followed by two men who were high on drugs and drink, and her car was run off the road near Texas City.

The men -- Gerald Zworst and John King -- were eventually convicted of her abduction. Without a body or confession, capital murder would have been harder to prove. They were sentenced to life in prison.

But this month, Zworst has a parole hearing, and a few months from now, King has one, too.

"It brings everything back up again, you relive everything," said Shelley's mother, Erin Sikes.

Parole hearings are scheduled every five years. This is the second one for the men who took Shelley, though neither has yet led police to her body.

And Dana Sikes-Wild, Shelley's sister, lives in fear of the pair being released, not after life, but after what's now 25 years in prison.

"It's emotions that you can't even bring up, to think they'd be walking in my community because as far as I know -- at least five years ago -- Gerald Zworst's mother still lived in the area," Sikes-Wild said.

So the public is being reminded of Shelley, from family pictures to one of the flyers that wallpapered Texas -- even into Mexico -- convincing one of her abductors to turn himself in. It's been 26 years since her family heard her voice, felt her touch. That's why they want the men who took her life to continue to pay with life in prison. It worked at the last parole hearing.

"This time we're not so sure; they may say they're model prisoners but they definitely weren't model citizens," Sikes-Wild said.

Citizen interested in protesting the parole of the inmates serving life sentences for Sikes' abduction can write to:

Victim Services
8712 Shoal Creek Blvd
Suite 200
Austin TX 78711-3401

TDCJ ID - 0048541
State ID - 02060724

The Victim Services Division receives and processes protest letters and other information submitted by crime victims and concerned citizens for review by the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles. This is in accordance with Section 508.153, Government Code.

When submitting correspondence to the Victim Services Division, it is important to include the offender's name and TDCJ # or SID # (State Identification Number). You may email, fax or mail your protest letters or other information to:

TDCJ - Victim Services Division
8712 Shoal Creek Blvd, Ste 265
Austin, Texas 78757
Fax: 512-452-0825