One year ago today Riverside mother Cheryl Coker disappeared, and has not been seen since.
For the last year, News Center 7 has followed every step of this case since Coker was last seen the morning of Oct. 2, 2018, dropping off her daughter at Stebbins High School in Riverside.
In honor of Coker, a large crowd of family, friends and community members gathered Wednesday night for a candlelight vigil at St. Helen’s Parish.
“We’re just praying they can find Cheryl and bring her home,” family friend Jane Dodd said.
Coker’s cellphone records show she made it back home after dropping off her daughter at school, before never being seen again. Her car was later seen in surveillance footage in the parking lot of Kroger on Spinning Road. A person wearing all black got out of her car and walked away.
The next night, Coker’s daughter used an app to find her car, phone and purse in that same shopping center parking lot near her house.
In February of this year, News Center 7’s Cheryl McHenry was the first to report that Riverside police consider this a homicide investigation, and that Coker’s husband, William “Bill” Coker, is a person of interest in the case.
Riverside police said they believe he was the last person in the house with Cheryl. Bill Coker has not been charged, and he has maintained his innocence.
The Cokers were married for 19 years. She had recently filed for divorce when she went missing, but court records say they still lived together.
Riverside police would not comment on the case one year out.
During the vigil, soft music played in the background as people stood outside the church in Riverside.
“A lot of people loved her and miss her,” family friend Jerry Dodd said.
The Midwest Chapter of Texas EquuSearch, based in Ohio, will return to search for Coker this weekend.
The searches on Saturday and Sunday will begin at 8:30 a.m. in the Dayton Air Show parking lot of North Dixie Drive in Vandalia, across the street from McCauley Drive.
All searchers must be 18 with a valid ID, dressed appropriately for the weather and for walking in thick woods.
Texas EquuSearch also was in town searching for Coker on Sept. 28. Before then, the last public search for Coker was in April.
Thank you for reading the Dayton Daily News and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to your daily ePaper and premium newsletters.
Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Dayton Daily News. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.