BROOKVILLE, IN (January 18, 2021) – On September 26, 2020, Shawn McClung, age 56, of Connersville, Indiana, died from complications with an undisclosed illness. On July 9, 2020, the Fayette County Prosecuting Attorney’s office charged McClung with Voluntary Manslaughter as a Class B Felony after he allegedly confessed to killing Denise Pflum more than 30 years ago. McClung’s alleged confession has made many headlines, but the full circumstances and motivations surrounding the “confession” have not been disclosed until now.

Shawn McClung, a dying man, was held in the Fayette County Jail on two (2) pending cases unrelated to Denise Pflum’s disappearance; he was unable to post bail. It was under these dire circumstances, in the remaining days of his life, that McClung contacted Fayette County Sheriff, Joey Laughlin, and told Laughlin that he knew what happened to Denise Pflum. McClung only agreed to share what he knew in exchange for: (1) immunity for his statements, and (2) dismissal of the two unrelated cases. The State agreed to the proposal, and, unfortunately, McClung believed he had a ‘get out of jail free card.’ Thus, his “confession” was born.

On July 3, Sheriff Laughlin interviewed McClung in the Fayette County Jail. Sheriff Laughlin and McClung repeatedly referenced the immunity agreement during the three-hour-long interview. Less than five minutes into the interview, presumably with immunity in mind, McClung stated, “I really don’t want to talk about [Pflum] unless I’m totally not incarcerated anymore.” McClung “confessed” to killing Pflum later in the interview. However, despite multiple opportunities to do so and earn his freeedom, McClung was never able to lead investigators to Pflum’s remains.

In late September of 2020, McClung was transported to an Indianapolis hospital as his health began to spiral. On September 21, 2020 Attorney Judson (“Jud”) G. McMillin, of the Brookville, Indiana law firm of Mullin, McMillin & McMillin, LLP, who was appointed to represent McClung, visited McClung in anticipation of gathering any last remaining statements from McClung regarding Pflum’s alleged death and disappearance.

During the approximately twenty-minute conversation between McMillin and McClung, McClung repeatedly denies knowing anything regarding Pflum’s whereabouts, or the circumstances surrounding her alleged death or disappearance. When asked directly by McMillin whether his previous “confession” to Sheriff Laughlin was accurate, McClung told McMillin that it was not. When asked why McClung would confess to something he had no knowledge about, McClung stated it was “because they offered [him] $25,000 and to get out of there with his family.”

Attorney Jud McMillin provided the following statement:

“It is unfortunate that Mr. McClung made false statements to investigators that likely brought about a fleeting hope of closure for the Pflum family. Yet, under the circumstances, where Mr. McClung’s days were dwindling, his statements appear to be nothing more than a desperate attempt to live his last few days on this earth as a free man.

“No words can adequately express the heartfelt sorrow that I have for the Pflum family; nor can they express my unreserved hope that they one day find peace. My job is to defend the liberty of the accused, in order to make sure that the innocent is not wrongfully convicted. Based on my own my private conversations with Mr. McClung, and his overall lack of credibility, I believe the person responsible for the death or disappearance of Denise Pflum is still out there.

“I sincerely hope that the investigation into the alleged death and disappearance of Denise Pflum continues, and I pledge to offer my support to assist in the continued investigation in any way possible. The last thing that Denise Pflum and her family deserve is to have this investigation stop, when the real perpetrator may very well still be out there, or someone might have information that can truly solve this case.”

According to the Innocence Project, many of the nation’s more than 360 wrongful convictions overturned by DNA evidence involved some form of a false confession. For more information about false confessions, please visit

Anyone with information about the alleged death and disappearance of Denise Pflum should contact investigators at 1-765-778-2121 or 1-800-527-4752.