Amber's Story

 

Amber Shawnell was born December 27 1980 in Idaho Falls Idaho to HevenLee Burgener &

Mike McCormick shortly after their divorce, HevenLee was remarried to Brent Hoopes and Amber

was adopted by Brent. Amber was the first grandchild on both sides of the family and needless to say

was pretty spoiled and one busy child spending time with her grandparents, Noris & Kathleen Burgener

and Carol & Spike McCormick.  Amber loved playing with her favorite cousin Levi; they were pretty much

inseparable throughout their childhood and into high school.

 

Amber and her family lived on Lincoln road and later moved out to the Coltman area.  In 1999

Amber returned back to Lincoln hersenior year of high school where she lived with her grandparents

Noris & Kathleen Burgener, where later  in 2001 Amber was abducted from her grandparents home.

 

Amber was a silly heart who loved to sing and laughed easily.  She started singing in Sunshine

generation when she was 4 years old and continued throughout her school years. Amber was very proud

of her accomplishment of making it into the Bonneville Bonavaires. Amber enjoyed many things, especially

her shoe collection, fossil watches, sticker collection, scrapbooking, writing poems and short stories. 

 Another interest was photography.  Amber entered her scenery picture in a contest and received the

editor's choice award from the International Library of Photography.  Her picture was featured in a

book and a calendar. She played piano by ear, and later in her last few years of her life she was turning

into an excellent cook and was contemplating enrolling into a culinary school.

 

Amber was very shy and very much a creature of habit, it was very difficult for Amber

to make friends and really only had a few good friends through her school years.  She spent most of

her time with her family and her cousin. Amber's last year of her life she was pretty much inseparable

from her sister Jade, who was 14 years old at the time Amber went missing.

 

After Amber graduated from High School she took a job as a nanny for 2 month old boy

and a 6 year old girl, she quickly fell in love with these children and totally loved her job. She was

always calling her mom to tell her all the cute and funny things the children would do and loved to

take pictures of them.  It was such a wonderful experience to see the way she nurtured these children

and see the love in her eyes she had for them.  We were able to get a glimpse into what it would be to

see her as a mother; being with the children was giving her a great desire to find the special someone she

could settle down with and become a mother.

 

On the evening of September 14 Amber spent some time on the shop computer while

speaking to her sister on the phone until about 10 PM,at which time she returned to the house

to get ready for bed. Amber told her grandparents goodnight and they went to bed. During that

 time Amber was still up in her room watching television and paying some bills, Ambers grandmother

woke up around 1:30 and noticed Amber's lights were on and her television was still on but Amber

was nowhere to be found.  It appeared that Amber had turned on the house lights and  had gone outside,

the back door was unlocked and no one is sure why she would of went outside except maybe to go back

out to the shop.  Maybe she forgot to turn off the computer or she heard something outside and went

to see what the noise was. Kathleen woke up Noris to tell him she could not find Amber and he needed

to help her look for her.   Noris and Kathy did a sweep of the entire shop and realized the

shop truck was missing out of the shop. They immediately dialed the phone number to the bag phone

which was in the shop truck.  It rang but no one answered. 

 

At this time the police were called and calls were made to all the family and friends to see if they

knew her where about. After that the searching was pretty intense.   There was so much help from the

public, there had to be a command post set up to organize all those that came to help to make the search

most effective.  There were many leads and tips that came in but to this day we have never found Amber

or anything that belonged to her. Amber was in her shorts and robe when she went missing and

all her personal belongings were left in her bedroom.

 

For several months the police dept. assumed she had ran away, but we knew from the moment

she went missing thatwas not the case and she had been abducted.   It turned out that the suspect that we

had given them from the very beginning was the person that they now believe took Amber.  However, at

the time the suspect, Mark Hescock, had an alibi so he was never pursued. Because of this the police dept

went another direction, but we all knew the history of Mark Hescock.  Mark worked for Ambers Grandparent

at Classic Truck & Auto body for 6 years. Mark had a vendetta against Noris and vowed to ruin him.   

Mark left Classic on his own free will 2 years before Amber went missing but continued to still live in Idaho Falls

with family. Markwas best friends with a member of the family, but that fell apart and so did he, after that is

when he threatened Noris. Shortly after that is when Amber went missing.

 

The first year Amber went missing was a blur with all the searching. It was a roller coaster ride

of emotions.  As a family we knew she was gone and we had a memorial service to pay tribute to Amber's

life 1 year to the date of her abduction.  We have continued to search for Amber and follow down leads as

they came in.

 

There came a point when as a family we just could not spend all our waking moments focused

on searching for her.  We feel at peace in the fact that she is in our Heavenly Fathers care and we needed

to move on with our life and try to find joy and happiness again.

 

We realize we will never have any answers from our suspect because 9 months after Amber went

missing he was at it again and abducted another girl with the intention of killing her after he was done with her. 

But as life would have it, the young girl escaped while he was at work and alerted police. On his way home from

work he saw the police waiting for him and the chase was on. Mark led the police up into the mountains above Kelly's

Canyon. Where there was a shot out, and tragically Mark shot and killed the police dog and also shot an officer who

later recovered from his wounds.  Mark was also shot and then took his own life.  Mark's family soon moved away

and has refused to talk.

 

It has been a devastating ordeal to go through for our entire family, but we choose to live and

find joy in life.  We are not going to let this beat us.  We miss Amber terribly and will never have closure till we

meet again with her in Heaven. Amber is always in our thought and hearts and we feel her near and that gives us

great comfort and peace to help make it through

until we meet again.

amber and mom, dad

amber baby

amber and mccormick grandparents

amber and grandkids

 amber and burgener grandparents / graduation