OH CHERYL COKER: Missing from Riverside, OH - 2 Oct 2018 - Age 46 *Found Deceased*


Detective Travis Abney of the Riverside Police Department told Dateline that police have evidence to believe that after she dropped her daughter off at school at approximately 7:30 a.m., Cheryl returned home.

Cheryl works as a crash technician and her employer, KLD Associates, is flexible about letting her work from home, Matthew told Dateline, so it wouldn’t be unusual for her to go home instead of to work.

That day, however, nobody was able to contact Cheryl. She did not show up for work at the office or do any work from home, Matthew told Dateline. Her family became worried and posted on social media trying to figure out where she might be.

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Search warrants were executed as recently as this week in the homicide investigation involving Cheryl Coker, Riverside police said.

Wednesday marked one year since Riverside police said the disappearance of Cheryl Coker was being looked at as a homicide and named Cheryl’s husband William “Bill” Coker as a suspect.

“The Riverside Police Department is committed to locating Mrs. Coker and bringing the suspect responsible for her disappearance to justice,” Riverside police said. “The Riverside Police Department has partnered with federal, state and local agencies as a part of this ongoing investigation. We have also consulted with the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office as this investigation continuously develops.”

Police haven’t found Cheryl Coker’s body or made any arrests in the case.

Bill Coker has maintained his innocence, but in October Cheryl Coker’s family said they don’t believe it.

“It’s basically just finding her, and I can’t imagine what he could have done with her,” Carroll said.

“Someone knows,” Keenan said. “Somebody knows and shame on them.”


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What's next in the Cheryl Coker investigation?

As the search for Cheryl Coker has come to an end, friends are now giving their reaction to the devastating but reliving news. Coker’s car was found in October 2018, in a Kroger parking lot near her home. Her body was found Saturday about 15 miles away - in Greene County.

The beloved mother, daughter, sister, and friend were found by a mushroom hunter in a private wooded area.

“I’m calling for the Greene County Sheriff,” said the 911 caller. “I found some bones along the side of the road.”

Coker’s best friend of over 20 years, Shelly Appelhans, couldn’t believe the news.

“Last night when I went to bed, I knew finally for the first time since October 2nd of 2018 she was finally safe and she was finally being protected,” Appelhans said.

The way Coker’s remains were left is hard for her to process.

“Somebody just dumped her in a field and like she was a nobody like she didn’t matter,” Appelhans added.

Riverside Police named Coker’s estranged husband, Bill Coker, their one and only suspect more than a year ago. Dayton 247 Now asked Appelhans if she believes he killed Coker.

“I whole heartily believe Bill did it,” Appelhans added. “I don’t see the benefit from somebody else doing this to her besides him.”

Law enforcement is still looking for clues as to why and who murdered Cheryl Coker, with their only suspect not in police custody.

“Right now for me, I don’t feel the closure,” said Appelhands. “Hopefully once there is a conviction.”

As for what’s next in this investigation, Montgomery County Prosecutor Matt Heck said he has not yet been sent charges from Riverside PD. Montgomery County and Greene County Coroners Office are working in conjunction. Montgomery county is handling Coker’s autopsy and once that’s completed, Greene County will announce the final cause of death. This may take up to several weeks.


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Cheryl Coker preliminary autopsy finding: No obvious signs of injury before death

There were no obvious signs of injuries to Cheryl Coker before her death, News Center 7 has learned.

That’s one of the chief findings that came during an autopsy performed at the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office and Crime Lab.

Beside the exam finding no pre-mortem injuries, there were just a few confirmed findings from that forensic examination

One was that there was post-mortem animal activity, something Greene County Sheriff’s investigators suspected after finding bones scattered over a small area.

Another was that Coker was clothed. Examiners cataloged a Polo shirt, pants, a right tennis shoe and undergarments.

Officials for both the Greene County and the Montgomery County coroner’s offices declined to speculate about when a final autopsy report might be issued.


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Ohio BCI to take lead on Cheryl Coker homicide investigation

The Riverside Police Department formally requested that the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Identification take as the lead investigating agency in Cheryl Coker’s homicide.

“BCI has been an active participant along with numerous other law enforcement agencies since the onset of this investigation,” read a statement from the department. “With Mrs. Coker’s remains being located in another county, it is the combined belief that the best course of action is for Riverside Police Department to fully utilize the vast resources of the Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Identification in the pursuit of justice for Mrs. Coker.”

In February 2019, Riverside police named Coker’s husband, William “Bill” Coker as a suspect in her case. He has denied any involvement and has not been charged.


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Backstory: Cheryl Coker's body ID'd in April; police aren't rushing to make an arrest

For the families of victims killed in unsolved murders, life has been at a standstill for a long time, even before the pandemic arrived.

Over the next several weeks, The Enquirer will highlight a series of cold cases, summarized and analyzed by the journalists whose careers largely focus on unsolved murders: the creators of Cincinnati.com's Accused podcast. If you have any information on any unsolved case, please reach out to the appropriate law enforcement agency. Suggestions for cases to highlight can be sent to accused@enquirer.com.

The crime: Cheryl Coker dropped her daughter off at school in 2018. The next time anyone saw her, all that remained were her bones.

Coker, 46, disappeared Oct. 2, 2018, from Riverside, Ohio. Her case quickly made headlines for two reasons: First, there are few scenarios that frighten people more than the notion that they could simply vanish one day, all traces of what happened to them wiped clean. Second, Coker’s case came readymade with a suspect: her estranged husband.

The investigation: While Coker disappeared from Montgomery County, her remains were found along Waynesville Jamestown Road in Greene County. Citing jurisdictional issues, the Riverside Police Department requested in June that the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation take over as the lead investigating agency. That was a smart move because Riverside police in February 2019 had publicly announced they had a suspect. Cheryl Coker had filed for divorce from her husband of 19 years in September. In the filing, she sought custody of the couple’s teenage daughter as well as spousal support.

Here’s the deal: There’s a reason police look first at loved ones when someone goes missing or is killed. One in three female murder victims are killed by intimate partners, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. (It's 1 in 20 for male victims.)

Officials, of course, had hoped that Cheryl Coker’s remains would provide some clues, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. The bones showed no obvious signs of trauma. If someone out there has information but didn’t come forward because they hoped the body would tell the tale, that hope is quashed. It’s time to step forward.

Got tips? This is the most recent homicide we’ve covered in this space, one fresh enough that even we agree authorities are right in staying mum on details. But, like all of these unsolved cases, our goal is to nudge someone with information to do the right thing. If you know something, call Riverside Police at 937-233-2080.



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Cheryl Coker: Coroner unable determine how Riverside woman died

The Greene County Coroner’s Office announced Thursday an autopsy was unable to determine how Cheryl Coker died.

The final autopsy results were released Thursday afternoon. Some pages of the report, as permitted by prosecutors, will be released Friday morning.

Cheryl Coker’s cause and manner of death are officially listed as “undetermined,” a spokesperson for the office told News Center 7′s Mike Campbell.

Cheryl Coker: Autopsy shows cause of death suggests ‘homicidal violence,’ ruling leaves door open fo

While an exact cause and manner of death were unable to be determined, coroner’s office investigators suggested the death of Cheryl Coker is related to foul play, according to an autopsy report obtained Friday by News Center 7.

“Due to the condition of the remains, near complete skeletonization, the precise cause of death could not be determined,” the report read. “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 autopsy findings do not end the chances of possible prosecution for her death.

“The ruling of undetermined cause and undetermined manner actually keeps the door open for prosecutors and investigators to continue their investigation,” said Greene County Coroner Dr. Kevin Sharrett. “By ruling undetermined it allows us to participate in the investigation ongoing and as further information becomes available, we can certainly reevaluate and take another look at the information we have on hand and certainly can amend that.”

Cheryl Coker’s remains were identified by using dental records and implanted medical hardware in the spine, the report shows.
According to the autopsy report, Cheryl Coker’s remains were clothed. One of her shoes and a “string of unknown significance” were later recovered.

There also was significant animal activity with the bones, but no clear trauma observed. 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 read.


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Cheryl Coker 2 years later: ‘We’re confident they’re going to solve what happened'​

Two years after Riverside mother Cheryl Coker disappeared, and nearly six months since her remains were found off a rural road in Greene County, there have been no arrests in connection to her disappearance or death.

Cheryl Coker was laid to rest last month in a private Mass of Christian Burial at St. Helen Catholic Church, which is just a few blocks from her home in Riverside.

“We’re confident they’re going to solve what happened," Cheryl Coker’s sister-in-law told News Center 7′s Cheryl McHenry Friday. “They’re (BCI) not sharing any details, but we know they are working diligently on the case.”

Bill Coker has maintained his innocence, but Cheryl Coker’s family said they don’t believe it.

“Someone knows,” Keenan said. “Somebody knows and shame on them.”

Anyone with information about the case is urged to contact the Ohio BCI’s tip line at (800) 282-3784.


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As of 2021, neither Bill nor any other suspect had been arrested or charged with Cheryl’s death. The case remains open.


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3 years later: No arrests in Cheryl Coker homicide case​

It’s been three years since a Riverside mother disappeared only to be found dead in rural Greene County by a mushroom hunter last year.

“Although I have faith in the justice system, it is hard knowing there is only one suspect reported and investigators still have not been been able to make a case in the criminal courts,” Cheryl Coker’s sister Margie Keenan told News Center 7′s Cheryl McHenry.

Despite no arrests for Cheryl Coker’s death, News Center 7 has regularly checked with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, which is now the lead investigating agency on the case. The case is not considered a cold case.

“The case remains an open, active investigation,” said Steve Irwin, press secretary for Ohio BCI.


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Cheryl Coker homicide investigation remains ‘open and ongoing’ 2 years after her remains found​

The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is continuing its investigation into the death of Cheryl Coker, whose remains were found in a wooded area in Greene County two years ago Tuesday. She would have turned 50-years-old last week.

“The Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s investigation remains open and ongoing,” said Steve Irwin, press secretary for the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. “Anyone with information about the case may contact BCI at 800-282-3782 or submit a law enforcement tip online.”

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