Details of Disappearance Nancy was last seen at 3:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 28, 1990, when she left a male coworker's home in Boulder, Colorado. She had spent the evening with the man and was on the way back home when she disappeared. She was supposed to stop at the home of her estranged husband, Stephen W. Shoupp, to pick up their two small children, by 4:30 a.m.
Nancy never arrived at Stephen's home and has never been heard from again. Her dark green two-door 1980 or 1984 Volvo was later found parked at her residence in the 4800 block, of east Hinsdale Place off Dry Creek between Holly and University in Littleton, Colorado.
Neighbors recall seeing the car in its usual space at approximately 7:10 a.m. Stephen's car was also there. Inside, the home was neat and clean.
Nancy's friends and family say it is uncharacteristic of her to leave without contacting them, or to miss work without notifying her employer that she would be absent. She worked for a computer conventions planning company in 1990, and it was uncharacteristic of her to miss work without calling.
About five weeks before she disappeared, following a five-year marriage, she and Stephen separated. They were in the process of a divorce and Nancy was seeing a coworker. Her marriage to Stephen had been troubled, the couple argued frequently and there were allegations of domestic violence.
According to Nancy's coworkers, Stephen harassed her after they separated by calling her at all hours and following her around. Over the Easter holidays in 1990, Stephen took their children to visit his mother in Kansas without telling Nancy, and while they were gone she was worried she would never see them again. It was this incident that prompted her to file for divorce.
When interviewed by police, Stephen said Nancy had never shown up to pick up their children on April 28 and he had gone to her home at 7:00 a.m., but she wasn't there and he kept the children with him. He was supposed to go to a sporting event with a friend that day, but instead he took his children to the zoo.
He said he called Nancy and left a message on her answering machine, but when authorities checked the machine, there was no record of the message.
At 6:30 a.m. on April 29, Stephen was at work at a gas station and the children were asleep in his running car. A customer noticed a fire in a Dumpster near the car and told Stephen about it. He refused to call the fire department and instead put out the blaze himself. He didn't report Nancy missing; her stepmother did.
Stephen stopped talking to investigators a few days after Nancy disappeared. Their two children were temporarily placed in the care of Social Services, but later returned to Stephen's care, and he took them and moved to Salina, Kansas to live with his mother.
The couple's son, who was three and a half when his mother disappeared, said Stephen picked Nancy up by the neck while she was sleeping and carried her to the car, and they took a long drive down a black, bumpy road on a buffalo ranch in the countryside. He said they small airplanes during the trip. Stephen, the child said, put Nancy "by a tree" and left her there. By the time they returned home, the sun was coming up behind them.
Stephen moved to Celina, Ohio after Nancy's disappearance and remarried. His second wife filed for divorce in 2009. Stephen was charged with stalking, aggravated menacing and domestic violence a few months later, after she claimed he drove by her house, followed her places in public, and threatened her life. He was convicted and sentenced to 18 months in jail.
Nancy's red gym bag disappeared with her; it has stripes on each end and contained a change of clothes. She's described as a devoted parent, she left her last paycheck behind, and it's uncharacteristic of her to leave without warning.
Her new boyfriend passed a polygraph test and was cleared of suspicion, but Stephen is considered the prime suspect in Nancy's disappearance. Foul play is suspected in Nancy's case, which remains unsolved.
- Arapahoe County Sheriff's Department
Updated 3 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated April 17, 2016; picture added, clothing/jewelry description and details of disappearance updated.