In 1982, an eighteen-year-old girl called Sherry Eyerly was working as a pizza delivery driver for the pizza delivery chain, Domino’s in Salem, Oregon.
She was relatively new to the job and had only worked there for one month on the day of July 4th 1982.
She had just graduated from Sprague High School and was living with a cousin in an apartment in south Salem. The haunting thing about this case is that Sherry wasn’t supposed to be at work that day but as it was Independence day, a colleague had asked Sherry if she could cover her shift so that she could attend a party, and so, Sherry went into work.
This would be a twist of fate that would result in Sherry Eyerly’s unsolved disappearance and suspected mu*rder, which is now over 41 years old as of 2024.
Some time around 9pm that evening, the food chain where Sherry worked had received a call. The caller was described as middle aged man who said his name was ‘Dunbar’.
During the call, he spoke to a worker about what to order. Near the end of it, he mentioned that they had previously gotten pizza from another female driver who drove an orange Volkswagen. The man claimed that she would know where the address was.
Once the caller hung up, it was realised that this girl was not working that night and so a call had to be made to the unknown man once again.
The call-back number was for the City Centre Motel but this man said that he would be at a location on Riverhaven Drive near Brown Island Road; this is a heavily wooded area near the Willamette River.The route from the pizza shop to the caller’s destination
Sherry set off in her Ford Pinto to the area; however alarm bells began to ring when she never returned to the Dominos.
At 10pm, Sherry’s car was discovered with the engine idling. Her hat and pizza boxes were scattered on the ground around it.Abandoned Domino’s delivery carDomino’s Destroyer Pizza left at scene
One of the boxes had a tire track on it; another had a boot print on it. No trace of Sherry was found at the scene, but it was obvious to investigators that she had been abducted.Sherry’s Domino’s uniform hatSherry’s Domino’s name tag
Investigations were soon underway to determine more about the person who had made the phone call prior to Sherry’s disappearance; however it was discovered that the individual had given a fake name and an address that didn’t exist.
The next day, someone did call in to the Dominos with a ransom demand for her safe return. The caller however never attempted to further communicate with the police, or collect any money.Boot print left at scene
Police did locate several witnesses who saw a suspicious older-model truck parked on the side of the road around the time of Sherry’s abduction. This was described as a four-wheel drive with large tires and had two spotlights on top of the cab. It was parked up with its front off the road and the back was facing the roadway. The truck and its driver have never been identified or located.
One month after Sherry vanished, Dallas psychic investigator John Catchings said that he awoke at 3am from a sound sleep.
At the edge of his bed, he saw the ghostly figure of a young woman standing there. He believed that there was a reason she appeared to him. Four days later, he received a package from Salem investigators with information about Sherry’s case in the hopes that he would be able to provide answers to Sherry ’s loved ones.
When he saw her photograph, he realised that she was the woman he had seen in his bedroom. His first impression was that she was not “missing”, but was actually dead. After reviewing the case, Catchings travelled to Oregon and was escorted to the scene of Sherry’s abduction.
He wanted to go there to see if he could determine where her body was located. While there, he had visions of what he believed happened that night: he claimed Sherry was driving down the road, looking for an address that she couldn’t find. She was approached by a pickup truck with several lights on it. The driver told her that he ordered the pizzas and gave the wrong address. As she got out of her car to give them to him, he grabbed her from behind and dragged her into his truck.
As they walked around the site, Catchings asked if the police had a list of possible suspects that drove a green-coloured pickup truck. As the officer read the names, one of them stood out to Catchings. The man’s name was Darrell J. Wilson.
Catchings felt that he had something to do with Sherry’s abduction. Wilson already became a suspect when Wilson’s sister in law had contacted investigators and told them that he had owned a lime green pickup truck. He had apparently painted it brown just eight days after Sherry’s abduction. According to the informant, he had actually known Sherry. However, when questioned, Wilson lied about ever knowing who Sherri was.
On August 21st 1982, officers agreed to take Catchings to Wilson’s home. Catchings was shocked to discover that the home was the same one that he had seen in a prior vision, a white house with pillars on the outside.
When Wilson was asked to take a polygraph, he refused. However, he strangely said that he would talk to a psychic.
Catchings then came out of the car and met with him. He spoke of how he was camping with friends at Elk Lake the night of Sherry’s abduction. This was around a 2 and a half hour drive, but there were eight hours that he couldn’t account for. Included in that time frame was the time in which Sherry was abducted.
John was certain that Wilson was responsible for Sherry’s disappearance. Less than two hours later, police were called back to Wilson’s home; he had committed suicide. No new leads came in, and Sherri’s case turned cold.
Cold case investigators reopened Sherry’s case years later however, and felt that Wilson did not fit the behavioural profile of the abductor. It is believed that Wilson was a man who had been involved in drugs for several years but had no past criminal history, he was merely troubled and had no connection to Sherry’s case.
They looked into the possibility that someone else was involved.
They believed that Sherry’s abductor had committed similar crimes in the past. After looking through other case files, they found a similar murd*er that took place one year after she vanished. The victim was Katie Redmond; she had vanished after leaving a late night college party.
Her car was found with the motor running, the door open, and signs of a struggle. This was almost identical to Sherry’s abduction scene. Her body was later found in a river; her killer was identified as William Scott Smith and he was convicted in her case and that of another m*urdered girl, Rebecca Darling.William Scott Smith
He was initially questioned about Sherry’s case, but denied involvement. He claimed that he was driving truck in Washington state at the time.
However, years later, investigators took another look at Smith. They found that he had been stopped and questioned by police near Salem within hours of Sherry’s abduction. This refuted his claim of not being in the area at the time.
After questioning his cellmates, they learned that he had mentioned being involved in an incident with a “pizza girl”. However, he did not refer to Sherry by her name. The inmates were able to record these statements on cassette tapes and give them to police.
In 2007, Smith was interviewed again. He initially refused to talk; however, he changed his mind when he was offered to change prisons in exchange for his cooperation. He then confessed to being involved in Sherry’s abduction and mur*der.
He claimed that his friend, Roger Noseff, ordered the pizzas and that they waited for her to arrive. When she did, Smith flagged her down. As she picked up the pizzas, they grabbed her and dragged her into their truck. They then took her to an area near Smith’s parent’s home where he strangled her. He then dumped her body into the Pudding River, where he had dumped those of his other victims. However, because of flooding in the area, her body may never be found.Pudding River
Smith’s description of the abduction matched the physical evidence found at the scene. He also gave investigators information about the crime that had never been released to the public. For example, he knew the details of pizza that had been ordered. He told them that he and Noseff had planned to abduct another delivery driver that they knew and hold her for ransom.
He also told them that Noseff had made a ransom call to Domino’s the day after Sherry’s abduction, demanding $50,000 for her safe return. This detail had also never been released to the public.
Noseff died in 2003, several years before the confession. On December 18th 2007, Smith pleaded guilty to Sherry’s mur*der and was sentenced to life in prison.
To this day, Sherri has not been located.
Sherri stood at 5”2 and weighed around 100 pounds; she had brown hair and blue eyes. Sherri had the initials “TB” tattooed between her left thumb and forefinger. On the night of her disappearance, she was wearing a red, white and blue Domino’s Pizza shirt and blue jeans.
Today she would be 60 years old.