Vera Jo Reigle was a mentally-challenged 24-year-old woman with the “mind” of an 8 to 12-year-old child. Her troubled childhood included repeated se*xual and physical a*buse by her biological father and when he went to prison, her mom’s new boyfriend.
When Vera Jo was 19-years-old, she met 13-year-old Zachary Brooks and began a romantic relationship. Zachary’s mother, Cheri Lynne Brooks, immediately took her in as part of the family. She had no idea the evil that lurked inside the Brooks home.
Zachary, Cheri and the rest of the family treated Vera Jo kindly when she first moved in with them. She had an ulterior motive in mind, albeit, one that eventually would take Vera Jo’s life.
Meet Cheri, AKA “Sugar Babe”
Cheri has nine kids, but she lost her first five babies one by one because they were se*xually abu*sed. Her first child, Scottie, was born from a cephalic relationship with her mentally ill first cousin. Michael, Maria, Joshua, and Cheri were also born to her.
When the state found out Maria, 1, had been raped, they took her away from her home. Cheri was taken into foster care when she was born, so she never went home to the Brooks family.
Cheri’s next four kids—Kevin, Zachary, Garth, and Chuckie—were not taken away from her, even though there was abu*se going on when the first five kids were taken away. The kids’ dad is Kevin Brooks Sr., and he was Cheri’s new husband.
People in and around Findlay, Ohio, knew Cheri. Some people called her Charles Manson, but Manson wasn’t nearly as dangerous as Cheri Brooks. The fact that she sold drugs around town gave her the name Sugar Babe, which she seemed to really like.
Cheri was mean to other people, and she kept doing it even after she got sick and had to use a wheelchair. She was a liar, a sadist, a baby rapist, and a half-ass who was good at getting her kids and other people to do what she wanted.
As a child, Cheri’s father abu*sed her starting when she was a baby. Cheri was kicked out of her house, but she kept having s*ex with her father, and they stayed together even after she married Kevin Brooks. The abu*se continued with her own children, and family and friends saw it.
Cheri started looking for other women to have babies for her after she lost her own children. The other women she picked were her son’s pals. She hoped they would get pregnant and give her the baby, which she hoped would be a girl.
It was said that the kids who stayed with Cheri became Crips members as adults. You can see pictures of Cheri, who was in a wheelchair, making gang signs below. The other people in the picture are her children. Punky was the Crips’ head in the Findlay area. On August 5, 2010, he was walking down the street with his girlfriend when a car hit him and k*illed him.
Cheri told the police that Heather, her boyfriend, ki*lled her son by pushing him in front of the car. They told Heather a lie, but they wanted her to pay for it. She let one of Punky’s friends “beat the hell” out of Heather while she watched.
After his brother died, Zachary took over as boss of the Crips.
Cheri Preys on Vera Jo for a Baby
Every month, Cheri cashed Vera Jo’s disability checks. Soon, Vera Jo told everyone in the house that she was pregnant. Cheri was thrilled, but soon she and everyone else started to be mean to Vera Jo. She was no longer loved or accepted in the house; she was treated like a slave instead.
Even before Vera Jo delivered the baby, Cheri told people that she was having a baby girl. Cheri forced Vera Jo to drink several bottles of castor oil to hopefully force her into labor so the baby would be born on her birthday. Willadean was born on November 4, the day after Cheri’s birthday and nearly one month before her due date. She spent her first few weeks of life in the NICU.
Although Vera Jo loved Willadean, she was never given the chance to be a mom. She couldn’t touch her, and if she did, Cheri or Zachary, her husband, would hit her. She was locked away from the rest of the family and had to clean the house or rub Cheri’s feet. Cheri found out that Vera Jo was trying to leave and had family members keep a close eye on her. The baby stayed in the bedroom with her too. She also said she would ki*ll Willadean if Vera Jo left.
Cheri, Zachary, and other Brooks family members started beating Vera Jo almost every day. A lot of people tried to help Vera and called Family Services for her. They already knew everything about the Brooks house, which was a real creepy house. They knew it was dirty, didn’t have running water, and the family used a bucket to pee. They knew the Brooks family had pigs living in their house and that all of Cheri’s kids had been taken away from her care because she ab*used them s*exually. They knew that Vera Jo had been abu*sed. But when the cops came to the house, Vera Jo lied because Cheri made her.
Soon, Cheri and Zachary started to think about how they could get rid of Vera Jo without losing Willadean. The family thought that they might give her too many drugs or even tie her body to the nearby train tracks.
Daniel Moves In With Cheri
Daniel Bixler, Cheri’s cousin, moved in with her after being out of jail for three weeks. He had been there for three years. Cheri had an affair with Daniel’s father, who was a first cousin, and had a child with her. Danny and Scottie are cousins and half-brothers, so they are related.
He admitted to being a ki*ller, and he and his 17-year-old girlfriend Nicole Peters decided they wanted to feel the high of kil*ling someone. She really did want a teardrop tattoo like her boyfriend did. It was clear to Cheri that Daniel and Nicole would work well together to help her get rid of Vera Jo.
The Tort*ure & Mur*der of Vera Jo
For four days, Vera Jo was abu*sed. During the days, she was beaten sometimes. Everyone in the family took turns hitting Vera Jo with the belt that Chuckie had tied to the end of a padlock. Nicole felt horny after they stomped on her head. During the whole thing, she and her boyfriend took breaks to have s*ex a few times. It was like they were brand new when they came out, ready to beat Vera Jo again.
Nick, Zachary, and Nicole made Vera Jo put on shoes and go for a walk with them on March 26, 2011. Vera Jo cried and said no, but she had no choice. A lot of people think she knew what was going to happen. The last thing Vera Jo said before leaving was “Goodnight, Sugar Babe.” That was the last thing Vera Jo said.
Their plan was to stab Vera Jo over and over with a kitchen knife as they walked her to the train track near the house. The knife wasn’t very sharp, so it barely cut into Vera Jo’s skin. They made her take off her clothes and stabbed her over and over again. They laid her on her side on the train tracks and left her to die when they knew she was almost dead. The group left and threw the knife into a lake.
They knew a trail was coming soon and hoped it would hit Vera Jo and make her “hamburger meat.”
Vera Jo curled up like a fetal form and died on the train tracks, in pain, by herself. Her body was found the next day after the train didn’t show up as planned.
The Brooks family was questioned by the police. There was no such person as Vera Jo’s “black boyfriend,” but Cheri tried to blame him for the ki*llings. There was a lot of proof in the house, like Nicole’s bloody shirt, a belt, and a lock of Vera’s hair.
It was also caught on video Zachary walking to the train tracks that night with Danny, Nicole, and Vera Jo.
Danny and Nicole told police they ki*lled the person and were arrested. They told the cops that Cheri gave Vera Jo drugs and convinced them to kil*l the girl, even giving them details on how to do it.
Danny and Nicole pleaded guilty. He got 40 years to life in jail for m*urder, and Nicole got 23 years for her part in the plot.
Zachary was also caught and given a four-year prison term for obstructing justice.
Cheri wasn’t charged with anything in the de*ath ofVera Jo. But in 2014, she, her husband Kevin Brooks Sr., and another son were found guilty of selling prescription drugs. Cheri was also jailed for 10 days for having contact with a child while she was waiting for her hearing. She was given a 40-month federal prison term in 2015. She is no longer in jail.
Willadean was taken in by a caring family.
*The case didn’t give me a lot of information. Here are some links. Watching Sugar Babe is the best way to get the whole story. To watch, click on the link below.