Charges have yet to be brought in relation to the discovery of forty six year old Cheryl Coker's remains.
Cheryl's sister, Margie Keenan, reported her missing on the 2nd of October 2018. Cheryl's fifteen year old daughter Mikayla contacted Margie to let her know that she did not know where Cheryl was. She saw Cheryl that morning when Cheryl dropped her off to school. Cheryl is believed to have returned to her house in Riverside, Ohio, United States and she was logged into Facebook until 7.45am that morning.
That same day, Cheryl's family used a find my phone app to track Cheryl's cell phone as all of their calls and texts went unanswered. The app indicated that Cheryl's cell phone was around a mile away. They went to the area with police and found Cheryl's locked car parked in a parking lot of a strip mall beside a restaurant and grocery store.
Cheryl's cell phone, purse and credit cards were inside the car. There was no trace of Cheryl.
Police obtained the surveillance footage from the area and saw Cheryl's car, she drove an SUV, entering the parking lot before midday on the 2nd of October but they could not determine from the footage who was driving the car.
Police asked Cheryl's husband, William Bill Coker, to meet them at the parking lot. He told police that they had an open marriage. Bill told the TV station WHIO:
“She was engaging in risky behavior before she disappeared.”
Police discovered that Cheryl and Bill, who had married in 1988, were swingers and in an open marriage of sorts but when Bill began dating a woman regularly, Cheryl asked him to stop seeing other women. When he refused, she filed for divorce on the 21st of September 2018.
Bill and Cheryl Coker
A few days later, Bill went to Orlando in Florida to attend a family wedding with their fifteen year old daughter. Cheryl later discovered that he also brought his new girlfriend with him. They returned from the trip to Florida on the 1st of October, the day before Cheryl went missing.
Police obtained further footage from the area where Cheryl’s car was found and saw a man dressed all in black and wearing a hood walking away from the parking lot on the 2nd of October. A man, who was dressed in similar clothing, was later seen walking in Cheryl and Bill’s neighborhood. A neighbor made a 911 call about it at the time. Further surveillance obtained showed the man walking along a fence line toward Cheryl and Bill's house.
Police asked Bill about a gash on the back arm above his elbow. They spotted it when they obtained surveillance footage from a grocery store that showed Bill on the 2nd of October walking around the store dressed in a dark-colored shirt, shorts and shoes. He told them it happened at work.
Through the course of their investigation, police discovered that Bill and Cheryl were married almost twenty years before Cheryl filed for divorce. Bill was her second husband. Even though her friends and family thought Bill and Cheryl were very different, they were aware that Cheryl initially liked Bill’s quiet and reserved side when she married him as she had a turbulent first marriage. But, just before Cheryl went missing, things were not going well between the two of them. When Cheryl filed for divorce from Bill, she sought custody of Mikayla as well as spousal support in the filing. Three days after Cheryl filed for divorce, Bill allegedly sent Cheryl a text message which read:
“Thanks for putting the nail in my coffin.”
It was also reported that Cheryl sent a text message to a coworker that same day which read:
“I will be in tomorrow if I’m not dead.”
Police believed that Cheryl was dead but it wasn’t until eighteen months after she was first reported missing that that belief was confirmed.
A mushroom hunter found Cheryl’s remains in a remote wooded area off Waynesville Jamestown Road in April 2020. It was around a fifteen minute drive from Cheryl’s house.
Cheryl’s remains were identified by using dental records and implanted medical hardware in the spine. An Autopsy was conducted. The report noted that her remains were clothed. There was significant animal activity with the bones and the hyoid bone, which is a u-shaped bone situated at the root of the tongue and in front of the neck, was not found. The report stated:
“Due to the condition of the remains, near complete skeletonization, the precise cause of death could not be determined. However, the circumstances surrounding the disappearance as developed by law enforcement investigators, and death, as the post mortem changes are consistent with the time period and clothing is reported to be what was worn at the time of the disappearance, suggest the cause of death is related to foul play and as such a common term used to certify the cause of death is homicidal violence of unknown etiology.”
The cause of death could not be determined due to the condition of the remains but taking the circumstances of Cheryl’s disappearance and where her remains were found into account, the report stated that the cause of death is related to foul play. Greene County Sheriff Gene Fischer said in relation to the area where Cheryl’s remains were found that:
“It’s not a common area for someone to go to. This happened to be some woods and some overgrowth in the area.”
Bill was named a suspect in the case and search warrants were executed but Bill has not been charged with anything in relation to Cheryl’s death and he has maintained his innocence.
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