Shannon Louise Matthews(born 9 September 1998) is a British girl who disappeared on the afternoon of 19 February 2008 in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, England. The search for the 9-year-old became a major missing person police operation which was compared to the earlier disappearance of Madeleine McCann. She was found alive on 14 March 2008 at a house in Batley Carr, also in West Yorkshire and only a short distance away from Dewsbury. The house in question belonged to 39-year-old Michael Donovan, the uncle of Craig Meehan - the boyfriend of Shannon's mother. Meehan was later convicted on several accounts of possessing child pornography.
Donovan - formerly known as Paul Drake - was arrested at the scene, and subsequently charged with the kidnapping and false imprisonment of Shannon. Karen Matthews, Shannon's mother, was charged with child neglect and perverting the course of justice, on 8 April 2008. The joint trial of Donovan and Matthews commenced at Leeds Crown Court on 11 November 2008 and concluded on 4 December with both defendants being found guilty on charges of kidnapping, false imprisonment, and perverting the course of justice. They were each given an eight-year prison sentence.
Prior to her disappearance Shannon was last seen at 15:10 on 19 February 2008, outside Westmoor Junior School, Church Lane, Dewsbury Moor, the school that she attends, where she had been dropped off after a visit to the Dewsbury Sports Centre swimming pool. This is about half-a-mile from her home in Dewsbury Moor.