Sheryl Lyn Rucci was a 33-year-old from Lockport, New York. She had an 8-year-old daughter, Ashley. According to Sheryl’s mother, Ashley was a “freak of nature” because her daughter had been told she was unable to conceive,

“When Ashley was born, I said to Sheryl: ‘She was born for a reason — to take care of you or to take care of me.’ She is the soul of our daughter.”

On August 10, 2005, Sheryl was reported missing. She was last seen at her apartment on the 6500 block of Lincoln Avenue around 9 PM the previous day. Nothing was amiss in the home, but Sheryl’s keys were missing.

At first, both Sheryl’s loved ones and authorities assumed she had gone into hiding. She was two weeks away from testifying against her former boyfriend.

Roger L. Hueber was a corrections officer at Niagara County Jail with a clean military service record. He had been accused of giving three teenage girls alcohol, going skinny dipping, and having a se*xual relationship with them. The teens, aged 13, 14, and 17, were friends of his children.

Roger was facing two counts of third-degree ra*pe, two counts of third-degree sodomy, four counts of endangering the welfare of a child, and two counts of unlawfully dealing with a child. During the trial, he told the judge he was responsible for his actions and that he regretted them.

Three weeks after going missing, Sheryl was indicted as Roger’s co-defendant. Then Assistant District Attorney Caroline A. Wojtaszek said Sheryl was being controlled by Roger when she provided minors with drugs and s*ex.

In 2016, Roger pled gu*ilty to third-degree attempted ra*pe and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child. He was sentenced to 1 1/3 to four years and was released in 2010.

It’s unclear what the legal consequences would be for Sheryl if she were to reappear. But her family and investigators no longer believe she left voluntarily, especially without her daughter. Roger is a person of interest and denies knowing anything about Sheryl’s whereabouts.

During searches, bloodhounds tracked her scent to a Skateland down the road from her apartment, but there were no other clues. According to Sheryl’s mother, Kathy,

“It just looked like she left her apartment and was coming back. Her shoes were in the same place as she always left them, her purse was still home, her apartment was immaculate. Clean. Like nothing was wrong.”

Ashley was raised by her aunt and uncle, Theresa and Ed. In 2010, Kathy expressed how thankful she was for Ashley and said she doesn’t believe her daughter is alive,

“We couldn’t save her body, but we saved her soul. We have her soul in Ashley. She was our miracle.

As a mother, I hope she’s alive, but reality tells me no. It’s like having cancer: It’s hard to go through, but you take it day-by-day with faith, family and friends.”

Sheryl Rucci has been missing for 19 years. If alive, she is now 52 years old.

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