GREENE COUNTY — UPDATED: The remains found on Waynesville Jamestown Road during the weekend belong to Cheryl Coker, the Riverside woman missing since October 2018, authorities said, and two close, longtime friends now are praying for justice.
“We’ve prayed all this time to find her. Thank the Good Lord he did that for us,” Charity Leiter said Monday evening. “Now we’ll just pray harder to get the justice, to find the person” who killed her.
Leiter and another longtime friend, Jenny Knight, spoke about Coker to WHIO-TV.
“We need justice for her. That person cannot walk free," Leiter said of Coker’s killer. "That’s not the way this world works.”
Both women said they believe they know who killed their friend.
Earlier Monday afternoon, as a news conference, Riverside Police Chief Franklin Robinson said, “It’s been a long time coming. We have never given up on this case.”
Deputies responded to the 1200 block of Waynesville Jamestown Road on Saturday around 5:30 p.m., where the bones were recovered.
“It’s not a common area for someone to go to,” Greene County Sheriff Gene Fischer said. “This happened to be some woods and some overgrowth in the area.”
Coker’s bones were found by a man who was mushroom hunting. He told dispatchers some clothing also was found in the field near the bones.
The Riverside mother was reported missing on Oct. 2, 2018, by her sister Margie Keenan, who had been searching for her sister after Cheryl’s 15-year-old daughter couldn’t reach her mother.
The clothing was taken as evidence and there was also some other evidence on scene that provided coroner’s investigators with a presumptive identification, prior to that identification being confirmed Monday.
Coker would have celebrated her birthday last night Friday.
Search warrants were executed in February 2020 in the Cheryl Coker homicide investigation, Riverside police said a year after Cheryl Coker’s husband Bill Coker was named a suspect in her case. Bill Coker has not been charged.
Investigation after her disappearance painted a picture of a troubled relationship with her husband leading to a recent filing for divorce.
Professional searches from the Midwest chapter of Texas Equusearch made multiple sweeps of targeted areas but didn’t find her.
Mary Carroll, Cheryl Coker’s mother, spoke to WHIO-TV on the anniversary of her daughter’s disappearance in October.
“I want to lash out and I just can’t,” she said at the time. “Your mind’s never off her. Get up, first thing in the morning, take a shower. It’s right there, all the time.”
Keenan said that she felt the same.
“If we could find Cheryl, that could help us,” she said. ”You grieve, but you’re always looking for her.”
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.
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