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Monday, Dec. 22, 2014

Investigation continues into the Scherer case

Sunday, March 30, 2008

(Photo)
New Madrid County Sheriff Terry Stevens holds the drawing of the suspect in the murders of Sherri Ann and Megan Elizabeth Scherer, who were shot to death in their home on March 28, 1998.
PORTAGEVILLE -- In his 24 years of working death investigations, there is only one that New Madrid County Sheriff Terry Stevens couldn't shake once he got home.

That was the night Sherri Ann Scherer, 37, and Megan Elizabeth, 12, were killed from multiple gunshot wounds at their home north of Portageville. Anthony "Tony" Scherer found his wife and daughter when he and their son, Steven, returned home around 7 p.m March 28, 1998.

"I've seen a lot of things that people can only fathom seeing," said Stevens, who then worked as a special investigator with the prosecuting attorney's office. "But when I went home that night, I just couldn't get the scene out of my head."

In fact, Stevens said that after arriving home around 3 a.m. and being unable to sleep, he got up and headed back to the crime scene.

Fast forward 10 years and Stevens, now sheriff, is still haunted by the case. It remains a priority in his department, and one of two he has his "hat set" on solving before ending his career.

"I feel like we have to keep it in the forefront ... if we ever lose sight of it, then it will be stale," said Stevens.

"There's no way I can give you a number of how many man hours have been spent on this case -- it's the most extensive possibly in the history of the department," he continued. "In our vernacular, it will never be a cold case."

In early January, the Southeast Missouri Major Case Squad was activated to go through the case with a fine-tooth comb. Due to technology over the past 10 years, investigators were able to resubmit evidence recovered from the crime scene, believed to be left behind from the suspect.

The Scherer homicide was linked to an unsolved 1980 murder in Greenville, S.C.

Technology was also used to match those who had ties to the Portageville area in 1998, and Greenville in 1980. So now, members of the Major Case Squad are following up on those leads.

Investigators also had a physical description of the man believed to have gunned down Sherri and Megan Scherer. In April 1998, one month after the homicide, they learned of a shooting near Dyersburg, Tenn., which is less than an hour drive from Portageville.

According to officials, the shooting occurred about three hours after the Scherers were found. Results from a ballistics report showed that a matching bullet was used.

According to the victim's description of the man, a sketch was released. Appeals, including the poster, aired on "America's Most Wanted," which generated tips, but no real answers.

"We're trying to eliminate as many individuals as we can," said Stevens. He explained that, through contacting the 300-some people on the list, there are some that don't fit known descriptions of unchanging factors.

The suspect is described as a white male approximately 30 to 50 years old with a small build. He reportedly had straight, medium-length graying hair and a graying mustache. When he attempted to assault the woman in Tennessee, he wore glasses.

Several local law enforcement agencies, as well as the Missouri State Highway Patrol, are working to seek justice.

Tony Scherer said he appreciates all the efforts of those in law enforcement. "They've always been helpful," he said. "Whenever anything did come up, they kept me in the loop."

Scherer said that, over the years, he's learned not to expect anything, however. And that makes the process all the more difficult.

"I've told them to just wait until the DNA comes back and they know for sure, and let me know then," he said.

Anyone who has any information to help solve the murder is encouraged to call the New Madrid County Sheriff's Department at 573-748-2516.