Posted on Fri, Jan. 06, 2006

Man once tied to Shipp case resurfaces in court

The Kansas City Star

An Independence man who once was questioned following the disappearance of Summer Shipp is in federal custody for violating his probation.

Jeffrey S. Sauerbry, 33, was arrested Dec. 15 for two violations, including walking away from a halfway house where he was taking part in a drug-treatment program.

At a hearing Thursday, U.S. District Judge Fernando Gaitan revoked Sauerbry’s probation and sentenced him to a year in prison.

Authorities said that Sauerbry’s arrest had nothing to do with the Shipp case.

He has not been charged in connection with that case.

Sauerbry’s attorney, like other federally appointed public defenders, is not allowed to comment on his clients or their cases.

Sauerbry had been on supervised release for a 2003 weapons conviction.

He previously had been convicted in Jackson County for felony counts of possessing a controlled substance and stealing. In 2003, while in New Mexico, he was sentenced to 37 months in federal prison for illegally transferring firearms.

Later, he was released on probation. After he moved in with his mother, authorities added the requirement to his probation that he complete a drug-treatment program at a halfway house.

Shipp disappeared a year ago while conducting a door-to-door survey.

She was seen walking toward a house where Sauerbry and his mother lived on West College Terrace in Independence.

“He lived right across the street from where she parked her car, and he refused to talk to us,” Independence Police Sgt. Dennis Green said.

Police later received permission to search the mother’s property, but found nothing.

On Thursday, Sauerbry apologized for leaving the treatment program.

“I’m truly sorry for coming in front of you today,” he said. “I didn’t understand the severity of walking away from the halfway house.”

To reach Kevin Hoffmann, call (816) 234-7801 or send e-mail to .