Footprints in a snowbank are the only clues for officers searching for a Chicago woman who vanished after walking away from a late night car crash that left her husband dead in the driver's seat.
A massive manhunt is underway for Tanya Shannon, a 40-year-old mother of four, who has been missing since early Sunday morning when authorities from the LaSalle County Sheriff's office located her crashed car on the side of a rural road.
In the driver's seat of the car was Shannon's dead husband, 41-year-old Dale Shannon, according to Sheriff Tom Templeton.
"She and her husband were at a company Christmas party Saturday night. They left the party heading to a family's house and on the way had a traffic-related accident in which Mr. Shannon was killed," Templeton told ABC News. "From the evidence that we've seen, Shannon was able to get out of the vehicle and go up to the roadway."
"From there we have no idea where she went," he said.
Templeton said that while alcohol was available at the party it does appear that the car crash was an accident. Further toxicology reports are being ordered, he said.
Footprints from a "slipper-like" shoe were found leading away from the car and up to the road, said Templeton, and one of the slippers was also located by the first responders.
Inside the car, a pair of high-heeled shoes were also found.
"Her family tells us that she was a loving mother and very committed to her children," said Templeton. "Not being in contact with her family is completely out of character for her."
Shannon's children range in age from 3 to 15.
"We have to consider that someone might have picked her up," he said. "She just seems to have disappeared."
The search resumed today for the third day, Templeton said, and about 50 people have joined the rescue effort.
Weather reports from Dec. 5, the last night Shannon was seen, show that the temperature plunged as low as 4 degrees. There were also "several inches" of snow on the ground where the car was recovered, according to Templeton.
"We're keeping our minds open and options open," he said. "But if in fact she is out in the elements I think we have to realistically think of this as a recovery effort rather than a rescue effort."
Shannon's sister-in-law, Donna Baker, also told The Chicago Tribune that the couple had been married 20 years and had been spotting dancing the night away at the holiday party, which Baker had also attended.
"It's very mysterious what might have happened to Tanya," Baker said. "We checked the area hospitals and nothing, so we don't know if someone picked her up and took her somewhere. We just don't know."
Templeton said that he would "love for Shannon to walk in the door somewhere and tell us what happened."
"As long as she was alive to give her explanation and we could give her back to her children for Christmas, that's just fine," he said.
Shannon is 5'2" tall and weighs 125 pounds, has shoulder length strawberry blond hair and green eyes. She was last seen wearing a red dress and a gray fleece hooded jacket. She also wears glasses.
Anyone who might know where Shannon is should call police at 815-433-2161.