Cheryl Coker homicide: Nearly 60 volunteers join search with Texas EquuSearch

UPDATE @ 7:30 p.m.:

Texas EquuSearch professionals and K-9s will go back out Sunday to search for Cheryl Coker after searchers on Saturday helped to cover more ground.

David Rader, director of the search and recovery organization’s Ohio chapter, said they did find possible evidence on Saturday.

“I do know that there was some things found that could be tied to Cheryl, so Riverside police did come and collect a few things that may be pertinent to the case,” he said.

Detective Travis Abney with the Riverside Police Department said every search EquuSearch has conducted has turned up items of interest.

“But there’s no way of drawing any connection between those items and Cheryl Coker,” Abney said.

Rader said not one of the nearly 60 volunteers complained during the arduous conditions of Saturday’s search.

“It’s just nasty. It’s muddy, you’re cold, you’re wet. That’s what happens when you have a community that comes together for one of their own,” Rader said. “They want to come out and do it again. That’s how impressive that this was.”


For the first time, people in the community were able to join the search for Cheryl Coker, a Riverside woman missing since October who is the subject of a homicide investigation.

Nearly 60 volunteers filled the parking lot at St. Helen’s Catholic Church, where Texas EquuSearch set up a command center for Saturday’s search.

For volunteer Carl Christy, joining the search was a way to give back to the community.

“People who have lost loved ones are in desperate pain and desperate need and they need the community to come and basically love them,” he said.

Before Saturday, the search efforts were kept only to the professionals.

“We’ve kind of got this narrowed down. There’s bigger plots of woods that need to be covered. We thought it was time for the public to be brought in and they’ve been wanting to search, and we want them to be a part of this because they have been there since the beginning,” said David Rader, director for the Midwest Chapter of Texas EquuSearch.

While more than 75 people, including the professionals, were out searching for Coker, her mother could only wait, hoping they would find her.

Before the search Mary Carroll was able to meet and talk to several volunteers.

“A lot of these people don’t even know my daughter and they told me they were sorry. They’ve been from Centerville, Brookville, and it’s amazing,” Carroll said.

Anyone who has information on this case can call Riverside police detective Travis Abney at 937-233-1801, ext. 828, or email

News Center 7 has been following this story extensively since Coker was reported missing. Read below for our full coverage on her disappearance:

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