Couple describe deadly shooting as ambush: ‘All of a sudden, hell began’

Two days after a wild shootout on a rural Greene County road, the man who fired the fatal shots said Wednesday had been a calm, normal morning until “all of a sudden, hell began.”

At a Friday press conference held with his wife and attorney, Robert Lindsey Duncan said he and his wife were ambushed by his ex-wife, Cheryl Sanders, and her new husband, Reed Sanders. Duncan shot and killed both of them at the driveway to his multi-million dollar luxury home, two miles south of Yellow Springs.

Earlier Friday, Reed Sanders’ close friend Adrian King told the Dayton Daily News that the couple had come to Ohio to confront Duncan about problems with a college fund for Cheryl and Lindsey’s two daughters.

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Asked if that was the issue the couple raised, Duncan implied that was not the case.

“With two weapons?” he asked reporters. “With multiple clips that were loaded? The details of the investigation will all come out.”

Duncan’s wife Molly said the Sanders couple made no effort to discuss any issue.

“The word ambush is exactly what it was,” Molly Duncan said. “We were caught off guard. They said nothing and they started shooting at us.”

An incident report from the Greene County Sheriff’s Office lists the case as a justifiable homicide. Greene County Coroner Kevin Sharrett said both Cheryl Sanders and Reed Sanders died from multiple gunshot wounds. His office is still looking at ballistics to determine who fired shots and how many times.

The sheriff’s office did not respond to questions Friday about statements the Duncans made at Friday’s press conference.

Shooting details

In recounting the incident, Duncan, founder of a health/weight-loss company, told media that he and Molly went to Yellow Springs on Wednesday morning, which is part of their routine.

“We get our coffee. We went to the emporium to get our eggs and our kale and our toast. And then we went home, like we do every day,” he said.

Duncan said they got out of their car to get mail and packages at their gate, when a large man in a camouflage mask and hoodie ran to his wife and held a gun 10 inches from her head.

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“I thought it was a bad nightmare. I didn’t know what to do,” Duncan said. “Whatever happened after that was instinct. It wasn’t me. It was instinct.”

Duncan said in two separate gun battles, bullets were flying inches past his wife’s head.

“Her being alive today … I’ll never be able to explain that,” Duncan said. “It wasn’t one shot or two shots. It seemed like 100 shots, and there were shells everywhere.”

Sanders’ friend

On Friday, Adrian King, a former business partner of Reed Sanders, said money was at the root of the dispute between Duncan and Cheryl Sanders, who was a former Hollywood stunt actor.

“Supposedly, both Cheryl and Lindsey had to sign off on any money that was taken out of the (college) fund for the girls,” said King, 81, of North Carolina. “But part of the trust was that Lindsey could withhold funds if the girls didn’t go to a school that he approved of, and that’s what they were fighting over.”

King said he is a former business partner of Reed Sanders and is a lay minister who performed Reed and Cheryl’s wedding ceremony. He called himself Reed Sanders’ “closest confidant.”

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King said with both girls currently in college, and without access to the educational trust fund, “Reed and Cheryl had been put in a financial crunch.” He said the couple had filed a lawsuit over access to the money, but the issue had not been resolved.

King said on Friday morning, law enforcement officials in North Carolina sealed the home of Reed and Cheryl Sanders pursuant to a search warrant. King said Reed Sanders’ 84-year-old mother, who lives in a basement apartment of the property, was forced out of the house, and King was trying to arrange for a place for her to stay.

“They sealed the property and removed her and the dogs,” King said. “That was this morning. …They’re looking for any kind of evidence indicating that Reed and Cheryl were ambushing Lindsey Duncan.”

History of calls

A log from the Greene County Sheriff’s office shows dozens of entries tied to 3443 Grinnell Road, but most of them appear to be alarm-related or drive-by checks. There are two July 2015 entries where Cheryl Duncan or Cheryl Wheeler is listed as the caller. Duncan and Cheryl Sanders, who also went by Wheeler at one point, divorced in 2009.

During a period in late 2016 when officers made frequent checks, there is one call listed from Molly Duncan about a suspicious vehicle. One call in February 2018 tied to an alarm issue resulted in a larger response with four officers going to the home.

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The only two calls in the past eight months were in July and December 2019, and are listed only as “request officer,” with the July call saying it came from Molly Duncan. The Greene County Sheriff’s Office said Friday that it is still processing media requests for incident reports tied to those calls.

Duncans thankful

Lindsey and Molly Duncan repeatedly thanked the Greene County Sheriff’s Office for their help in the case. Molly Duncan said she’s “extremely thankful to be alive,” and called her husband her “absolute hero.”

“God orchestrated everything perfectly so we would survive,” Molly Duncan said. “I am a mother and I still get to see my kids grow up. I am thankful and that’s it. … I would just ask everybody to pray for us.”

Lindsey Duncan has been a celebrity of sorts with his Genesis weight-loss companies and television appearances. That wasn’t his focus Friday.

“Those gates don’t protect you, and neither does the money,” he said.

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