The day after Ohio mom Cheryl Coker would have turned 48 years old, her remains were discovered in a wooded area by a mushroom hunter.
Coker disappeared more than two years earlier on Oct. 2, 2018 after dropping her daughter off at school, leaving behind few clues to her whereabouts until this weekend.
Greene County Sheriff Gene Fischer said during a press conference broadcast by local station WDTN that authorities received a call about 5:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon alerting them that a resident who had been mushroom hunting had stumbled upon what appeared to be “bones in a field.”
He said the area was a “popular” spot for mushroom hunters but was not an area where hikers usually frequented.
The skeletonized remains were later identified as Coker’s.
“We’ve never given up on this case,” Riverside Police Chief Frank Robinson said at the press conference. “We’ve never wavered, and we continue to follow all of the evidence that we’ve collected and any of the evidence that anyone has collected for us.”
Last year, Riverside Police had named Coker’s husband, William “Bill” Coker, the “one and only” suspect in the case, according to NBC News.
The couple had filed for divorce shortly before Cheryl disappeared.
“Mr. Coker has been cooperative at times, but his cooperation level has dropped,” Det. Travis Abney said in 2019, according to news outlet. Abney added that some of what the husband had told authorities “does not make logical sense.”
Cheryl was last seen dropping the youngest of the couple’s two daughters off at school in Riverside, Ohio around 7:30 a.m. on the morning of Oct. 2, 2018.
More than three hours after investigators believe she returned home, her phone pinged at a nearby shopping center. Surveillance footage, however, showed an individual in all black getting out of the car and then walking from the parking lot to the back of Coker’s home.
Bill has said publicly that he had nothing to do with the disappearance. He has not been charged, according to NBC News.
“I’ve never in my entire life hurt anyone,” he told local station WHIO in 2019.
Bill told the station that his wife had been involved in “some risky behavior right before she disappeared.”
At the press conference Monday, Robinson declined to provide any specific details about the ongoing investigation, but said Bill Coker remains a suspect.
“We’ve said what we’ve said in the past. Nothing has changed there,” he said.
A cause of death in the case has not been revealed; however, Greene County Coroner Dr. Kevin Sharrett described the remains as being severely decomposed.
“(The) remains were completely skeletonized which would be consistent with the time she was reported to be missing,” he said.
The forensic autopsy remains “ongoing,” he said.
After authorities announced the discovery of the body, Cheryl’s longtime friend Charity Leiter spoke with local station WHIO and said Cheryl’s friends and family still hope there’s justice in the case.
“We’ve prayed all this time to find her. Thank the Good Lord he did that for us,” she said. “Now we’ll just pray harder to get the justice.”
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