Missing Mom Texted 'I Will Be In Tomorrow If I'm Not Dead'; Cops ID Husband As Suspect

Cheryl Coker vanished in October 2018; police believe she is “not alive.”

February 20, 2019

Cheryl Coker [Riverside Police Department]

Cheryl Coker [Riverside Police Department]

By: Mike McPadden

RIVERSIDE, OH — The case of Cheryl Coker, a 46-year-old mom who disappeared on October 2, 2018, took a dramatic turn yesterday as police said they were now treating the matter as a homicide investigation.

Riverside Police held a press conference on Tuesday to state that they believe Cheryl is “not alive” and to formally name her estranged husband, William “Bill” Coker, as “the only suspect” in the case.

In addition, police shared some of Cheryl's online activity before she vanished. In one chilling text message she sent to a coworker on September 24, she wrote, “I will be in tomorrow if I’m not dead.”

Four days prior to sending that text, Cheryl filed for divorce from Bill after 19 years of marriage, asking for spousal support and custody of their daughter. Eight days later, she was gone.

Riverside Police Detective Travis Abney told reporters that Cheryl dropped off her 15-year-old daughter at Stebbins High School early that day, then returned home. After posting on Facebook for several minutes, Abney reports, “About 7:45 that morning, pretty much everything electronically with her just stopped.”

Abney added that “newly discovered evidence” shifted the case to being a homicide investigation, but he did not specify what that evidence was. Authorities did, however, release two surveillance videos and audio of a 911 call.

The first video shows Cheryl’s 2016 Toyota Highlander pulling into a Kroger parking lot less than one mile from the Coker residence. An unidentified figure in black with their hood pulled up then gets out of the vehicle and walks away.

Shortly thereafter, a call came in to 911 reporting a suspicious white male wearing all black with his hood pulled up. Police shared that audio, and stated that a second witness also spoke to them of a suspicious person, using the same description.

The second surveillance video, captured by outdoor cameras from a local school, depicts the same suspicious white male in black walking up toward Cheryl’s house.

Detective Abney went on to allege that Bill Coker had been involved with another woman. The girlfriend allegedly told police that Cheryl texted her on August 28, asking the woman if she would pursue a permanent relationship with Bill, if Cheryl “were to die or wasn’t in the picture.”

Addressing the text, Abney said, “It was reportedly sent by Cheryl, but we’re not 100 percent convinced that she actually did send that.”

On September 24, Bill texted Cheryl, “Thanks for putting the nail in my coffin.” After that, Cheryl texted her coworker about showing up the next day “if I’m not dead.”

Bill Coker vehemently denies any involvement with Cheryl’s disappearance. After the press conference, he told a reporter: “I’ve never in my entire life hurt anyone. She was behaving in some risky behavior right before she disappeared and I haven’t really been willing to put that out there.”

Detective Abney noted that Bill has “been reluctant” to take a polygraph test. The investigation continues.

Read more: People, WDTN, WHIO

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