Soddy-Daisy Woman at Center of Deputy Baptism Lawsuit Found Dead

Deputy Daniel Wilkey


SODDY-DAISY, Tenn. — 42-year-old Shandele Marie Riley made headlines in 2019 when she sued Hamilton County Deputies Daniel Wilkey and Jacob Goforth claiming they baptized her in Soddy Lake after a traffic stop as a way for her to get out of a ticket. Wilkey also faces criminal charges. 

According to the TBI, Riley was found deceased at her residence on Log Cabin Lane in Soddy Daisy. The TBI says they’re awaiting autopsy results to determine the manner and cause of death.

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Her oldest child will continue the lawsuit on her behalf.

The investigation against Deputy Wilkey also has political implications.

District Attorney Pinkston accused the Sheriff’s Office of intentionally trying to slow down his investigation.

The D.A. said that several police videos he requested of the incidents were not available because of a catastrophic failure of the video system, including dashboard camera footage.


✱The original traffic stop happened on February 6, 2019, around 9:15 p.m in front of Riley’s ex-mother-in-law’s house.

✱Wilkey asked Riley what she had in the car. She said she had a roach in her cigarette pack.

✱She was handcuffed and searched. Riley said that he touched her in the crotch.

✱After he found part of a marijuana joint, Wilkey told the woman he felt that God wanted him to baptize her and he would only give her a criminal citation if she allowed him to do so. They headed to the lake for the baptism.

✱The lawsuit says Wilkey then stripped down to his boxer shorts, and gave Riley the option to remove her clothes, which she declined. It says Wilkey then led her to waist deep, cold water, put one hand on her back and the other on her breasts, and submerged her underwater for “several moments.” At this moment, Riley says she “felt horribly violated.”

She was later convicted of possession of a controlled substance.

✱Wilkey has been indicted on 44 charges, including six counts of sexual battery, two counts of rape, nine counts of official oppression, extortion, stalking and assault, among others.

Chattanooga Times Free Press

The lawsuit may be found here.

According to this site, “After humiliating her, kidnapping her, sexually assaulting her, and “baptizing” her, deputy Wilkey then reversed his promise and arrested Riley for the marijuana roach. In his arrest report, he claimed to have stopped Riley because her window tint was too dark and she admitted to having a joint in her car. His report mentioned nothing of the baptism.”

Lake Soddy, the site of the holy sacrament

No scripture and/or proselytizing

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