35. The Empath

As I worked to stomach all that Joe shared with me about the second suspect, I had questions, like usual. Knowing that, like the man on the porch, there was no physical evidence connecting the second suspect to the crime, I couldn’t help but contemplate– what would his motive be? Yes, the second suspect was known to use drugs and to have a violent side, but what was going on that day to cause him to decide to pick up a girl who was walking alone toward the bus stop? Was he interested in her as a young girlfriend? Did she upset him in some sort of way that caused him to be angry with her? Did she witness something she shouldn’t have? Did she represent something else in his life and he unfortunately took his aggression out on her? Did he not have a plan and on a whim, picked Cheryll up thinking it seemed like a good idea, something to do that morning?

In addition to considering a motive, the possible location of the murder is something to consider as well. Could Cheryll have been killed by this man, her neighbor, there on the street somewhere? In his home? In his garage where he was known to work on his cars? Could she have been killed in his car? Could she have been killed at a secondary location, possibly the hideaway house, and transported to New Hope Road in the car’s trunk? Or could she have been driven alive all the way to New Hope Road and killed there? The way Moira saw it, Cheryll was still alive when she was at New Hope Road. Could the second suspect have had a companion the morning Cheryll was abducted and two people worked together to commit the crime at any of the locations above?

Sadly, but realistically, we may never know these answers. Even if DNA exists and someday reveals the identity of the murderer, the answers to why Cheryll was killed and where, will in all likelihood, never emerge.

The United States Department of Justice, in conjunction with the Attorney General of Washington State, released an in-depth report in 2006 called “CASE MANAGEMENT for Missing Children Homicide Investigation.” The statistics below also appear in the Gone in the Fog Blog Chapter 23. 1961, where I compare the findings with the man on the porch. Here, for comparison sake, I cite the same research to compare it to the known facts about the second suspect.

Regarding the type of people who commit child abduction murders, “the great majority of killers (65.8%) were young adult men between the ages of 18 and 30 years old. The race of the killers in this sample was predominantly white (69.8%). 98.5% of child abduction killers were males.” Furthermore, the study went on to examine the killer’s marital status. “83.0% of the killers had no intimate attachments or bonds with another person at the time of the abduction and subsequent murder.” The living arrangements of the killer can also be a big clue. “….only 17.1% of the killers lived alone, while 74.8% lived with someone. It is perhaps a little unusual that 33.2% of them lived with their parents.” Regarding the killer’s employment status research shows that “approximately half (48.3%), of child abduction murderers were unemployed at the time of the murder; and if they were employed, they worked in unskilled or semi-skilled labor occupations.” In reading all of these statistics, I naturally consider the second suspect. I am not sure about the attachments or bonds of the second suspect at the time of the murder. In 1971, he was supposedly married or separated and he also had a girlfriend, and by then, two young children. He DID live with his parents and extended family members. He was supposedly unemployed at the time as well, having been let go from a job with the state road department sometime around the time of Cheryll’s death.

The data about the killer’s lifestyle is something to be considered. And when we look at ______ as a suspect or any other individuals who might emerge, the information below is something to consider. (I put a check mark by the ones that we know are true, an X by the ones we know are not true, and a question mark by the ones we are not certain about).

  1. “20.1% of the killers were on probation or parole for another offense at the time they committed the child abduction murder. ?
  2. Many of them (30.2%) were described as ‘strange’ by others who knew them.
  3. A number of them abused alcohol (24.6%) ?
  4. used and abused drugs (22.1%)
  5. were sexually promiscuous (15.5%)
  6. a large percent of the murderers had a substantial history of prior crimes against children (46.0%).” ? (This is possible depending on the domestic abuse toward members of his own family.)

If you read back through Chapters 23 and 24 of Gone in the Fog Blog, many of the statistics that set off alarm bells regarding the man on the porch have the same result when compared against the second suspect. It’s so bizarre that either man at this point could fit the known descriptions of child abduction killers.

****

Friends

As I have shared before, several of Cheryll’s childhood friends have reached out to me to share their memories of her, their recollections from that time, and their instincts about the who, what, why, and where questions about the murder. One friend of Cheryll’s shared with me that she has not been able to bring herself to read the blog because she hasn’t been willing to open that door to experiencing those past emotions and to relive it all again. Reading the details of Cheryll’s story would be too emotionally overwhelming. She was slightly embarrassed to share with me that she wasn’t sure where Cheryll’s body was found or even where Cheryll was buried. Once her young friend was found dead, her parents sheltered her from the details and she has never been able to bring herself to learning the specifics about the death of her friend. I completely understand her desire to protect herself emotionally. This friend, though, wanted me to know that throughout her life, she has had visions from a murder scene that have haunted her throughout her life.

“I consider myself to be an empath,” she told me. I must confess, I had to look up what that exactly is compared to a psychic, a medium, or an intuitive. An empath is a person who can feel the emotions of someone else sometimes so much so that they feel those emotions as if they were their own. “After Cheryll disappeared, I could feel what happened to her like I was experiencing it. I don’t know why or how, but I have always felt that Cheryll was showing me what happened that morning, almost like I was there. When I think of it, there are two men, a big rock she’s leaning on, dirt ground with rocks and bushes, behind the rock that goes over the hill and is wooded….. I also see her getting burned with cigarettes. Every time I think of it, I see two men’s legs. One has light blue jeans and the other one is wearing dark jeans. One was wearing a plaid shirt and they were both smoking. And sometimes I am seeing their legs from behind, almost like it’s the perspective of a third person.”

Reading her description of her vision, sent a jolt through me. I responded, “Oh my goodness, it sounds to me that you are describing where Cheryll was found. Do you want to see photos of the road where she was found?”

“Yes,” she replied simply. I sent her the photos of the road and of the culvert.

“There is a pull-off there somewhere. If you find it, that’s where they did it. There was a big rock there in the center-edge of the pull-off spot. I always see it with blood and knife marks on it.” Knowing there IS, in fact, a pull-off there and that Bridget and I had parked in that location the day we visited New Hope Road, compelled me to send her the photo of my vehicle parked on the road in the pull-off spot to confirm what she had envisioned.

“Yes!!” She quickly exclaimed. “That’s it! It’s her who has been showing me this all these years,” she replied with earnest, referring to her friend, Cheryll.

I can’t say that I possess this type of intuition, but I do tend to believe what people say they feel or see, knowing some individuals have a strong sixth sense. I read the words from Cheryll’s friend and in my own mind could visualize the scene that she’s been seeing in her head all these years. She, like Moira, sees two people there and she also has seen it as if Cheryll were alive while at New Hope Road.

I shared her story with Bridget.

“You know what this means,” Bridget said matter-of-factly.

“No, I don’t. What are you thinking?” I asked her, not sure of what she was thinking.

“We need to visit Moira again.” And with that, Bridget booked an appointment with our intuitive friend.

Works Cited:

  1. K. Brown, R. Keppel, J. Weis, M. Skeen. CASE MANAGEMENT for Missing Children Homicide. Rob McKenna Attorney General for Washington & U.S. Department of Justice Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. 2006. <http://www.pollyklaas.org/media/press-releases/wa-abduction-homicide-study.pdf&gt;
Cheryll, to whom this blog is dedicated
Link to the GoFundMe campaign to raise money to purchase a headstone for Cheryll

7 thoughts on “35. The Empath

  1. Dear Beth,
    I am fascinated, as well as saddened by your story of Cheryll. I was 13 when Cheryll was killed and I remember hearing about the story. I felt sad then, and still feel sad now that she has not received justice! This child deserves peace. Thank you for your beautiful writing, your sensitivity to the subject matter, as well as to the detective research that you and Bridget are doing. Keep up the great job! I know God will show you the way to find her murderer and to give this child the peace she so deserves! Joe would be so proud of you!

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  2. After reading your blog I was a bit annoyed that I didn’t remember her story but then I was just 10 myself. As this story consumed me last night after reading all of your blog I decided to pull up Rose Street on the map to see the location…and then I remembered – the man on the porch! You see I worked at the Photo Bug in the old IGA parking lot just down the street from 1976-1979 and that man would park his car in the parking lot at times and just sit. And often times I showed up as the school bus was dropping kids off in that corner of the parking lot but other times he just sat there. I knew the house he lived in because of spotting the car & seeing him on the porch when going to my aunt’s homes up the road.

    But today after looking at Rose Street on the map this is what hit me. The home is gone now but I somewhat challenge what the father said about her going out the back door and seeing her walk away. Those homes sit up high in the back, most. Back in 1971 few of those homes would have had big decks/porches built off of the back. Maybe a small porch with steps going down along the side of the house. How did the father see her walk away and it just seems odd to me that she would walk out the back door, go down a flight of steps, turn & walk down a driveway when if she was running late the quickest path would be out the front door and in a matter of seconds you are on the sidewalk. Maybe the back door was really a side door that emptied facing the street, it just seemed odd. I say that because I grew up in the area, the street I grew up on was very similar & no one used back doors bc it was quicker & easier & no one used the back door to get to the front as a normal path. I also hold to what tends to play out in the times we currently live that all to often people who go missing or are found dead it is all to often a family member that killed them and in this case I still suspect the father with perhaps the step mother playing a role too.

    Was a cake purchased for her birthday, presents waiting for her? It doesn’t sound like it.

    I believe she did go back to the house & maybe words spoken that set the father off and that is what ended her life. Maybe it was an attitude having been promised a visit that day to her grandmother’s and discovering her hopes had been squashed like so many others and maybe it took one comment from a disappointed 10 year old to her father about a mother she missed that rage came out of the father?

    I’m haunted that there was never a marker placed on her grave by a father of limited means, yes, but a truly heartbroken father would have found the means for something. Not following any of the wishes of the mother in the location of your murdered child was buried and headstone again makes me feel the father had some deep anger that he punished a murderer 10 year old for even in death. Who would do that? But a person also with anger at the child when she was alive.

    I get that the father wasn’t a suspect but I still don’t buy it.

    Suspect #2. He had been disposing of cars and car parts with little effort to cover them up so he was of the mind he was smarter than the law, so why attempt to cover up a body? Just dump it like he had with his other trash? And so why didn’t he dump her clothes with her if he didn’t keep trash? The fact suspect #2 didn’t go on to kill again or try to grab another young girl tells me he isn’t the killer because they live to get that high again, that control…and he didn’t. Yes, he is a good suspect but I think a a sociopath capable of killing but not like this because he didn’t go on to kill again.

    The murder was done in anger. Covering the body means someone cared or had guilt about what they did, suspect #2 doesn’t seem to have the ability to feel guilty for any of his actions in life. He also would have bosted about something regarding the case to someone, even if it was to say he had knowledge of who the killer was or just something about the case. Did he stop and talk to her that morning, perhaps, or did he say he did for attention or to play with police?

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  3. Having lived on New Hope & passing there hundreds of times, seeing these pictures of the road & culvert & knowing this history makes me sad. I’ve never been back there since this murder. It’s just too sad.

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  4. So many chills! Suspect 2… since “Joe” said he kept his car impeccably clean, I would venture to say she was alive when she arrived at New Hope Road. He wouldnt want to “dirty ” his precious car. I feel like you’re getting so close. 👍🤞👏👏👏

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  5. I think you ought to have her grave dug up and see if their is any kind of DNA on her that isn’t her own I do believe her friend and I do believe that Cheryl is trying to tell everyone who did it such a sad sad tragedy of a young girl I think you will solve this crime eventually and damm girl you need to be a private 🕵 detective this really is sad butt seems like a lot of people are coming to you with new info hang in there you will solve this case you are awesome you and your friendship Bridgette

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