Saturday, September 09, 2000

Little sister indicted

Police say she stole identity

By Dan Horn
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        When Tanya Grier died five years ago, her little sister asked for her California driver's license and a favorite photograph.

        Police say she didn't want them for sentimental reasons.

        They say the younger sister, Shannon Grier, used Tanya's license and photo to apply for Ohio identification cards bearing the name of her dead sister.

        She then assumed Tanya's identity and cashed at least 20 fake checks at Greater Cincinnati banks, prosecutors say.

        “It's morally reprehensible,” said Hamilton County Prosecutor Mike Allen. “It never ceases to amaze me what people will do.”

        He said Shannon Grier's deception was so thorough that police, prosecutors and even a Hamilton County grand jury were convinced Tanya was the culprit.

        The grand jury indicted Tanya, who was killed in 1995, on charges of forgery and theft.

        But when sheriff's deputies tried to arrest Tanya, her mother told them she was dead. They then showed her mother a photo of the suspect from a bank surveillance camera.

        According to prosecutors, she answered: “That's my daughter Shannon.”

        Mr. Allen said his office dismissed the indictment against Tanya and launched a new investigation into Shannon. The grand jury indicted Shannon on Friday, charging her with nine counts of forgery, two counts of theft and one count of tampering with records.

        She is accused of cashing fake child support checks totaling nearly $10,000.

        Mr. Allen said the theft of her sister's identity is just as bad as the theft of the money. He said Shannon Grier, 31, retrieved her sister's identification papers and other material from a box of Tanya's belongings. The box was mailed to the family from Tanya's home in California.


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