XENIA, Ohio (WDTN) – The Greene County Sheriff said in a news conference Monday the skeletal remains found on Waynesville Jamestown Road in Caesercreek Township have been identified as Cheryl Coker.
Saturday night, authorities say a mushroom hunter found the remains in a remote area, about a fifteen minute drive from Coker’s home in Riverside.
Greene County Sheriff Gene Fischer said deputies the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations returned to the field Monday where the remains were found. The remains were taken to the Miami Valley Crime Lab where they were identified as Coker.
2 NEWS was provided body cam footage of deputies recovering Coker’s remains by the Green County Sheriff’s Office.
Coker was last seen in October of 2018. Her disappearance has since been deemed a homicide.
“We’ve never given up on this case,” said Chief Frank Robinson with Riverside Police. “We never wavered from what we needed to do, to follow all the evidence we’ve collected and all the evidence anyone has collected for us, and I just want to say thank you to all the organizations, all the ones who went out and searched and all the other agencies who went out and picked up evidence. I can’t thank enough Greene County for all their efforts this week and over the weekend.”
One of the leaders in the aggressive search effort for Coker, David Rader with Texas EquuSearch, says he never gave up hope that Coker would be found.
“It’s devastating. But yet, when I talk to the family, it’s a little bit of peace of mind right now because they at least know where Cheryl is,” he says.
Rader and his team helped organize 14 searches for Coker, as recently as two weeks ago. He says they covered a lot of ground but never looked in the area along Waynesville Jamestown Road.
“We probably went out 10 to 12 miles in every direction, and from what I understand, this was probably anywhere from 17 to 20 miles from her residence,” he said.
Authorities say there is no evidence yet to pinpoint why or how Coker ended up in the wooded area of Greene County.
“Now that we have the greatest piece of the puzzle that we were looking for, now they can start the process of putting together ‘How?’ and ‘Who?’” Rader said.
October 2, 2018: Cheryl Coker drops one of her daughters off at school. She returns home, and within a three-hour span, she is unaccounted for.
October 3, 2018: Coker’s car is found in a Kroger parking lot next to Clancy’s Tavern. Marisa Coker, Cheryl’s daughter, found the car using the Find My iPhone app. All of Cheryl’s personal belongings were found inside.
“Not knowing anything, not hearing anything, it’s very hard to keep those good spirits and stuff, even though you try so hard to do that,” she says.
Eleven days before Coker went missing, she filed from divorce from her husband, William. It was also revealed that the two were in an open marriage.
Roughly one month into the investigation, police say they are investigating a kidnapping.
Eventually, search warrants yield new evidence such as a text from Cheryl sent to a coworker that read: “So, I will be in tomorrow if I’m not dead.”
Flash forward to December: Riverside Police tell 2 NEWS that they have narrowed their suspect pool.
“This is one of those cases that, I think it’s a very close-knit kind of case,” said Chief Frank Robinson with the Riverside Police Department.
Between November and December, community search groups grow in numbers.
February 19, 2019: Police publicly name William Coker their main suspect. New video is released showing a man dressed in all black dropping Cheryl’s car off and making his way back to the Coker neighborhood.
William Coker remains the main suspect but he has not been charged.