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Cheryl Coker

Skeletal remains found in southern Ohio identified as beloved mom who disappeared in 2018

Skeletal remains found in southern Ohio over the weekend have been identified as a Riverside mother who vanished nearly two years ago in the midst of a “messy” divorce, the Dayton Daily News reported Monday, citing the Greene County Sheriff’s Office.

Cheryl Coker, 46, disappeared on October 2, 2018, after she dropped her daughter off at school. As CrimeOnline previously reported, Cheryl’s car was reportedly seen in her driveway after returning home, along with her husband’s car, but she never made it to her job at KLD Associates.

Cheryl had recently filed for divorce from her husband, Bill, who still lived at the home, family members said. In February 2019, authorities named Bill Coker as the sole suspect in his wife’s disappearance, although he has never been charged and has denied responsibility.

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Greene County Sheriff Gene Fischer said at a news conference announcing the identification that the remains were located on private property that was “not a common area for a person to go to.”

Detective Travis Abney of the Riverside Police Department previously said Coker dropped her daughter off at around 7:30 a.m. From 7:40 a.m. until around 7:45 a.m. on October 2, Cheryl made several Facebook posts. Around three hours later, her cellphone pinged near a local Kroger grocery store off Spinning Road.

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Cheryl’s Toyota Highlander was found in a strip mall parking lot near the Kroger the following day, her driver’s license, phone, and purse inside the locked vehicle. Security footage showed the vehicle pull into the parking lot at about 10:45 a.m. on the day she went missing.

Someone dressed in all black with a hood pulled over their head exited the vehicle and walked through the parking lot. Around 20 minutes later, someone called 911 and reported a “suspicious male” walking close to Coker’s residence.

The caller said he circled the neighborhood because the man was acting strange. The man then started walking toward the middle school, with his hands covering his face, according to the caller.

Another caller dialed 911 shortly after the first caller, saying a man dressed for cold weather during warm temperatures was spotted walking toward the middle school. The second caller gave the exact description as the first caller. Shortly after, the man was spotted by the middle school’s security cameras.

At around 8:08 p.m. that evening, Bill Coker was seen on Kroger surveillance footage in the store. He was wearing all-dark clothing and had a visible injury above his elbow. After making a purchase, he left the store.

Family members said Cheryl filed for divorce from Bill on September 21 and sought custody of the 15-year-old, along with spousal support. Cheryl’s sister, Margie Keenan, told police it was a “messy” divorce.

Riverside police said search warrants were executed in the case in February, the Daily News reported, a year after they named Bill Coker as a suspect and said they believed Cheryl Coker was dead.

The remains were found early Saturday evening, said the paper, which obtained the 911 call making the report.

“I found some bones along the side of the road, and it was actually wearing clothes, I think,” the man says in the call, adding that it appeared to be pants and a sweatshirt.

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[Feature Photo: Cheryl Coker/Handout]