Woman missing one month; husband says he wishes he knew what happened


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The estranged husband of a missing Riverside woman said he has nothing to do with her disappearance and hopes she returns home soon, even as police — following what they said is standard procedure — named him in court documents as a person of interest.

No one has been charged or named as a suspect in the disappearance of Cheryl Coker, 46, last seen Oct. 2 dropping off her daughter at school. Her SUV was found Oct. 3 in a parking lot, locked, with her driver’s license, purse, credit cards and cell phone inside.

» Cheryl Coker case: Search warrant suggests kidnapping

But in an exclusive interview with News Center 7’s James Brown, William Coker said he has theories about his wife Cheryl Coker’s disappearance, though he wouldn’t elaborate “because it would hurt my daughter.”

“I wish I knew,” Coker said, noting he and their daughter “love her and miss her very much and just hope she comes home.”

In court documents, unknown to the public until they were reported by the Dayton Daily News and News Center 7, Riverside police sought a search warrant to examine the couple's Christy Avenue home, two vehicles, William Coker's iPhone, and cell phone records and bank account records for both Cokers.

“We had probable cause to believe that he was the last person to be in the house with her,” said Det. Travis Abney.

Cheryl Coker filed for divorce from her husband of 19 years on Sept. 21, though the affidavit states they still lived together.

Police also sought to obtain from William Coker’s employer several records, including interior and exterior surveillance video for certain days and times, information about work injuries and the entirety of his personnel file.

The affidavit attached to the search request sent to Coker’s employer referenced scabs on William’s elbows observed during an interview, and swollen knuckles observed during another interview. Coker, according to the affidavit, said he had injured his left hand in a forklift injury at work, but did not report the injury.

The search warrant affidavits listed probable cause for kidnapping, but Abney said in an interview Thursday “there isn’t any evidence to support that a kidnapping has taken place.” He said the probable cause for kidnapping initially was established because Cheryl Coker’s vehicle was found abandoned with her belongings inside.

Riverside police would not say what was found in result of the search warrants. Court records show unspecified items were retrieved from the couple’s home, a 2016 Toyota Highlander (the same make of car in which Cheryl Coker’s personal items were discovered), and a 2017 Toyota Tacoma.

“We hope that she is fine, but we are going through our investigation thoroughly,” Abney said. “We are treating it as a criminal investigation.”

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