28. Lingering Questions

Recently, we posted on the Gone in the Fog Facebook page, asking our followers if they have any unanswered lingering questions regarding Cheryll’s case that they’d like answers to. Of course, we all have a lot of unanswered questions, but I thought I would address a few of the lingering questions that were submitted to us.

Who were Cheryl’s teachers and what do they recall?

Because Cheryll’s family was known to move frequently, she and her brothers had only been at Highland Heights Elementary for a year or two. Her fifth grade teacher is still living but I’ve been told she is struggling with Alzheimer’s so I have not spoken with her. One other teacher who was teaching at the school at the time recounted that there were a lot of unknowns. Everyone found Cheryll’s disappearance to be unsettling, but the teachers did not know the family well enough to know what to believe. Did she run away? Was she in Virginia with her mom? Did someone take her? And furthermore, this one teacher says she doesn’t remember a lot of speculation at the school, but just quietly waiting to see if Cheryll resurfaced. A classmate of Cheryll’s once shared that he remembers the day the teacher told the class that Cheryll wasn’t coming home because she had died and their teacher breaking down and crying. For me, this is just another awful and sad page in her story–the school personnel wondering and hoping, only to have to break the horrible news to the other children.

My question is did the police believe Cheryl had been in the creek from day one. Or did the condition of her suggested otherwise!

From what we have learned, it seems that investigators believe Cheryll had been in the creek those 13-14 days. The condition of her body seemed to indicate that she had been there, in the elements, a long while. I guess no one can say with 100% certainty that she’d been there all 13-14 days, but it seems that investigators believe she was. The milk man did recall seeing the odd mound of rocks the Monday prior to the official discovery of her body. So if Cheryll went missing on a Tuesday, then that would have been 6-7 days after she disappeared and was presumably killed, indicating that she was there in the creek by then.

I’d like to know how the man on the porch was ruled out as a suspect or did the police stop pursuing that possibility due to a lack of evidence. Also, did the police question his mother and sister or any of their relatives about information they may have had in regards to him being a suspect?

These are great questions and ones I hope to find the answers to if we can get the police file. I don’t think he was ever officially ruled out as a suspect, but with all possible suspects I do think the lack of evidence hindered ever making an arrest. One former investigator recently told me, “Back then they wanted a mound of evidence and a full confession before they arrested or charged anyone.” In current times, people are arrested and charged without confessing and sometimes with minimal evidence. I would love to know what his mom and sister had to say if they were questioned. Did they help supply him an alibi? Did they recall anything from that morning? I don’t know when his sister moved from that home, but she did at some point. His mom lived there until she died in 2008. People who interacted with her have said that she was as big of a jerk as he was.

How long after Cheryl died did “the man on the porch” continue to watch the kids of the neighborhood?

As far as we know, he continued doing that until the day that he died. There is some accounting that he moved away from his house in Highland Heights for a span of years, but we haven’t been able to pinpoint those exact years. I would be curious to know where he went and if people in his new environment noticed anything odd about his behavior during that time. I am confident he was not incarcerated during those “missing” years because I have done extensive research on his criminal history and he has no official criminal history or a rap sheet.

Any idea when exactly the man on the porch died? Was it in the last 5-10 years?

He passed away in 2016 and we know he was living in his home around that time and some years prior. His obituary indicates he died in a nursing home in a county somewhat far from Campbell and that he is buried in Bracken County.

I am curious to know if there are any other cases similar to this that may have happened at the same time…….. is this just a one time thing,or did whoever did this do it somewhere else

We have researched the very question, were there other unsolved murders around that time, either in the years prior or following Cheryll’s murder? There are a few here and there, but the ages of the victims and circumstances are so different that it feels like it’d be a stretch to try and connect them. Many of us have a hard time believing that someone could kill a child so violently like this, never having murdered before and never murdering again. But not everyone IS a serial killer. Could this have been a burst of rage that the killer only experienced one time? We really can’t say for sure and publicly there isn’t a long list of unsolved homicides from the same area, but could there be other unsolved crimes that could be connected to Cheryll’s killer that aren’t as well known? I don’t have the answer, but it’s an intriguing thought.

The Police Officer

One night I awoke from my sleep and found myself laying on my stomach, my face turned toward the left side of the bed, my pillow surrounding my head in the very dark bedroom. I slowly opened my eyes having an odd sense that someone was standing next to my side of the bed. Being the mother of three young children, finding a person standing by the bed is not an unusual occurrence, but usually there is sound associated with it. Tonight there was absolute silence with only the slight illumination from the dim alarm clock. I blinked my eyes a little to see if I was, in fact, seeing a figure standing there silently. I felt my heartbeat increase slightly and my whole body began to feel very heavy as I laid still. I strained my eyes to see what looked like the shadowy profile of what looked to be my 10-year-old daughter–not looking at me–but facing the wall ahead of her, which was the wall behind the headboard of my bed. I could make out the side of the young girl’s face and her hair hanging to her shoulders, but nothing else because it was too dark.

I quietly said my daughter’s name wondering if she needed something or was possibly sleepwalking as I continued to try to make sense of what I was seeing. There was no response. I quietly said her name again, my mouth still sort of pressed against the pillow, too tired to lift my head and a little skittish about what I was sensing. There was still no answer. I finally rolled to my side to get a better look and as I began to lift my head off of the pillow, the shadow of what I had been seeing seemed to dissipate before my eyes. I blinked again and saw nothing but the slight outline of the closet door. I slowly laid back down, confused about what I had just seen or thought I had seen. What was that?, I thought with a slight chill. Clearly it wasn’t my daughter. Was it a figure or was it all in my head, blurred by hazy eyes awaking in the middle of the dark night? After a few moments, I must have drifted back to sleep.

The next morning, as I awoke, my husband said, “You’re letting this whole thing get to you.”

“What do you mean?” I asked him, confused.

“You were talking to Cheryll in your sleep last night. I heard you say, ‘Cheryll, who killed you?'” I sat up without speaking. I wasn’t sure what to say and wasn’t quite sure what he was saying. Then the memory of what I had awoken to the in the middle of the night came back to me. Was I dreaming about Cheryll and woke up thinking I saw a figure? Did I fall back asleep and then dream about Cheryll? I was talking in my sleep and had no memory of it. I felt compelled to explain but couldn’t find the words.

My internal reaction was conflicted. I was feeling partly unsurprised because I think about who killed Cheryll often so of course I’m now dreaming about it. But then again, it was a slap of reality, as if the universe was saying, you are too consumed by this, Beth. I sat in silence for a moment trying to figure out how to explain this internal conflict to my husband, but he didn’t give me the chance. He continued.

“A good investigator doesn’t let the case get to their head. You can’t get too wrapped up in it because it will eat you up inside. I don’t want that to happen to you. Sometimes you have to check it at the door. This is obviously taking over your mind.”

I listened to the words of my husband, a seasoned investigator, and understood the point he was trying to make. But as a mom and as a person who has been working on this for over a year, I can’t just check it at the door. This isn’t my job. It’s a passion. The only way to put this to rest is to keep digging and seeing this through to the end. I ask it in my sleep. I ask it in my thoughts. I ask it in my prayers. And I ask her out loud. “Cheryll, who killed you?” And I almost long for the day she appears to me to give me the answer.

Cheryll, to whom this blog is dedicated
Link to the GoFundMe account raising funds for the purchase of a headstone for Cheryll

4 thoughts on “28. Lingering Questions

  1. I love following this blog, I love your passion and I LOVE believing that you will crack this case! I’m cheering you on! 👏👏👏

    Like

  2. Have you considered approaching Kelly Siegler from the show Cold Justice to see if they really take on unsolved cases like this? Wouldn’t it be interesting if you could work along side these cold case investigators?

    Like

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