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Thread: TX - Cheryl Henry and Andy Atkinson murder, Houston, 1990

  1. #101
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    http://www.fbi.gov/wanted/seekinfo/wales.htm

    "Finally, the week after he retired, Belk got the call he'd been waiting 17 years for: DNA evidence from semen found in Henry's body had been matched to DNA collected in the unsolved 1990 rape of a 30-year-old exotic dancer who worked at GiGi's, a topless club on Northwest Freeway."
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  3. #102
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    That link goes to an FBI page, seeking info in the murder of Thomas Wales. (?)

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  5. #103
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    http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/...n/5789261.html

    Homicide detective Billy Belk had few regrets when he retired last year after two decades with the Houston Police Department's murder squad.
    One case still haunted him, though.
    In the summer of 1990, the bodies of Cheryl Henry, 22, and her boyfriend, Garland "Andy" Atkinson, 21, were found in an undeveloped, wooded area of western Harris County where young people often went to park and kiss. Both had been tied up with rope and their throats slashed. Henry had been raped.
    "That was one of the few cases over my career that I didn't solve that I really wanted to solve really bad," said Belk, 50. "I've gone all over the country chasing down leads on the case, every one of them ending in a dead end."
    Finally, the week after he retired, Belk got the call he'd been waiting 17 years for: DNA evidence from semen found in Henry's body had been matched to DNA collected in the unsolved 1990 rape of a 30-year-old exotic dancer who worked at GiGi's, a topless club on Northwest Freeway.
    Henry had worked at a similar club, Rick's Cabaret, on Bering. Atkinson occasionally worked the door at Dreams Street, a club on Winrock managed by his father.
    Now, for the first time, investigators are considering the possibility the man who attacked them frequented or worked at local strip clubs.
    On Friday, investigators released a composite sketch of the suspect after talking to the rape victim, now a 48-year-old Realtor. It's a major break in the high-profile cold case.
    "This is the most promising lead we've had," Belk said. "Scientific evidence doesn't lie."

    At HPD, a legendary case

    The brutal "Lover's Lane" slayings rank as one of Houston's most notorious unsolved murder mysteries — a case that's achieved legendary status in HPD's homicide division. Rookie detectives are encouraged to read the massive file, which fills two large cardboard boxes.

    "It's a bad Hollywood movie," said Michael Miller, an HPD homicide investigator who inherited the case from Belk, his former partner. "Somebody came up on them, tied them up and marched them out to the woods. These two knew they were going to die."
    At the time of the couple's deaths, police had few clues. There were no eyewitnesses and little physical evidence other than the semen sample.
    DNA profiling was still in its infancy, and the HPD crime lab had yet to set up the necessary technology.
    Belk had to get special permission from the department to have the DNA lab at Baylor College of Medicine process the sample. The resulting profile was entered into the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS). But a link was never found to any other crime until after the Harris County Sheriff's Office started sending a backlog of old rape kits from unsolved sexual assault cases to be processed at the Medical Examiner's Office, Belk said.
    The medical examiner developed DNA profiles and submitted them to CODIS. In October, the database registered a match with a rape that occurred just two months before Henry and Atkinson were killed.

    Details still fresh

    The victim reported she had left her job at GiGi's about 2 a.m. June 20, 1990, and returned to her boyfriend's house at 7826 Terra Cotta. Her boyfriend, a commercial pilot, was traveling, so she ate takeout alone in the living room.

    "Then she walked upstairs heading towards the bedroom and a man popped out of her bedroom door," Miller said.
    The man wore a fishnet stocking over his face, black gloves, and a dark shirt and pants that matched, possibly a uniform. He held a long-barrelled handgun in his left hand. "Where's Randy?" he asked, referring to her boyfriend by name.
    The man taunted her, putting the gun to her head and cocking it. He bound her hands behind her back with gray duct tape before taking cash from her purse. Then he duct-taped her eyes and mouth shut, threw her on the bed and shoved a bag or pillowcase over her head.
    "He became very vulgar with her while he was raping her, and he told her she wasn't very observant, that he had a military uniform, which was probably him trying to throw her off the fact that he might've had a security guard uniform on," Miller said.
    After he finished, the man ordered the woman to lie on the floor and not move. "I may be in the house for an hour or for five minutes," he said.
    The woman later discovered he'd disconnected the phone and put the receiver under the mattress.
    When Miller tracked the woman down in Galveston County, she still remembered her attacker's features through the fishnet stocking. On Friday, she described him for Lois Gibson, HPD's forensic artist.
    She said he was a white man in his mid-30s, about 6 feet tall and 180 pounds with brown hair, brown eyes, a possible mustache and olive skin.
    Miller hopes someone will recognize the sketch. He also wants to hear from other women the man might have raped.
    "We know there are other victims," he said. "I still think he's out there, and he is who he is — a rapist and a killer. He still could be doing this today."

    Budding romance cut short

    Henry met Atkinson while she was home for the summer from Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches.

    Henry wasn't the type of girl who got worked up over a boy, but she fell head over heels for Atkinson, her stepsister Cristl Craig said.
    Atkinson had recently moved to the Houston area from North Carolina, where he'd completed a semester at Campbell University before deciding to relocate closer to his father's family.
    The young man found a job at Gold's Gym on the Gulf Freeway and moved in with his grandmother in Meyerland.
    He'd only known Henry for about two weeks when he met her for a date at Bayou Mama's nightclub on Westheimer on Aug. 22, 1990.
    Henry's younger sister, Shane Henry Blaine, had a drink with them. "I think I said, 'Get a room' a couple of times that night," Blaine recalled with a smile. "It was sort of during that exciting time of a new relationship."
    About 11:30 p.m., Blaine said goodnight to her sister and left.
    "We kissed each other goodbye and told each other we loved each other, but that's what we always did," she said. "And that's the last time I saw her."
    The next day, a guard patrolling an industrial park in western Harris County came across Atkinson's white Honda Civic parked in an isolated cul-de-sac with the key still in the ignition. The seats were reclined and a cassette tape was in the deck, as if the couple had been listening to music.

    A brutal crime scene

    It wasn't long before anxious family members converged on the scene, along with patrol cars, helicopters and police on horseback. The night was hot, muggy and crawling with bugs. Cadaver dogs searched the partially wooded area, and officers combed the field with flashlights.

    They found Henry's body shortly before midnight. She lay facedown, partially hidden under a pile of cedar fence slats. Her hands were bound behind her back with hemp rope, and there were three ragged gashes across her throat.
    The next morning, officers found Atkinson's body tied to a tree about 50 yards away. His hands were also bound behind his back, and his throat had been gashed so deeply that his head was nearly severed. His father, Garland Atkinson, couldn't bring himself to go to the morgue to identify the body.
    "We were not only father and son but best friends as well," the 58-year-old Katy resident said. "You see things on TV, you read things in the paper, but you never imagine something that drastic, that horrifying, happening to someone you love."
    News that authorities have matched DNA evidence from Henry's rape to another assault left both victims' families in a state of nervous tension.
    "It's a good thing, even though it brings up a lot of emotions," Craig said. "It's one step closer."
    Cindi Lou


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  7. #104
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    There is a sketch of the suspect at this link. Please take a minute to look!

    http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/...n/5789261.html

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  9. #105
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    New Website

    My family has set up a website related to my stepsister's murder in 1990. Please take a look and review the sketch the police have since been able to obtain

    http://www.helpcherylandandy.com/index.html

    Thanks!

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  11. #106
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    I'm new to this site & come up your cold case about your step-sister. Sorry about your loss but I hope they'll solve the cold case with recent DNA discovery. The reason the killer(s) still walking around on street is they never broke the law and take fingerprints & DNA as database. Both couples are good looking people & didn't deserve their fate.

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  13. #107
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sleuthster View Post
    http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/...n/5789261.html

    ...snip...DNA evidence from semen found in Henry's body had been matched to DNA collected in the unsolved 1990 rape of a 30-year-old exotic dancer who worked at GiGi's, a topless club on Northwest Freeway.
    Henry had worked at a similar club, Rick's Cabaret, on Bering. Atkinson occasionally worked the door at Dreams Street, a club on Winrock managed by his father.
    Now, for the first time, investigators are considering the possibility the man who attacked them frequented or worked at local strip clubs.
    ...snip...
    Snipped by me.

    Was this info about her working at "Rick's Cabaret" released in the beginning?? IMO that was very important and a really lost opportunity. I know the connection to the rape wasn't made for years later, but if she was working/had worked in a club, they needed to seriously look at the clientele. I was leaning towards her summer "friends" being responsible but after reading this, I don't know.

    This guy used a gun in the rape, he could have used a gun to control two people, even going as far as to have one tie up the other and then he ties up the second person. I know some people find that hard to believe, but point a gun at two people and start talking and I bet they will do what you say.

    I hope you have luck with that DNA match soon, I find it hard to believe he's never been arrested.

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  15. #108
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    Quote Originally Posted by chicagofa13 View Post
    This guy used a gun in the rape, he could have used a gun to control two people, even going as far as to have one tie up the other and then he ties up the second person. I know some people find that hard to believe, but point a gun at two people and start talking and I bet they will do what you say.

    I hope you have luck with that DNA match soon, I find it hard to believe he's never been arrested.
    Indeed, that's the very method used by the Zodiac in his attack at Lake Berryessa.

    I hope the DNA evidence and having a new direction to investigate leads to your sister's killer.
    Last edited by Bargle; 04-11-2010 at 04:59 PM.

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  17. #109
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    Thanks for the responses and for taking the time. The police knew that she had worked there. She wasn't working there at the time of her death and hadn't worked there for very long.

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  19. #110
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    Quote Originally Posted by mocity View Post
    Thanks for the responses and for taking the time. The police knew that she had worked there. She wasn't working there at the time of her death and hadn't worked there for very long.
    I wonder how much questioning they did of those people, both regulars and employees. It only takes ONE meeting for a psycho to become fixated on someone. The fact she had a boyfriend and was happy could also enrage this person. I still think you will find the guy is from the club scene.

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  21. #111
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    Cheryl's case is being featured on AMW one Sat this month. We have been told Oct 23rd but it isn't set 100%.

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  23. #112
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    I wonder if the killer died shortly afterward. A rape and a rape/murder within a realitively short period of time. Then nothing? Unless there are more kits that haven't been turned in for testing yet. I just can't see this guy not having his DNA on anymore crime scenes/victims.

    Also interesting that the guy knew the name of the rape victims boyfriend.

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  25. #113
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    If he was upstairs in the house, he could have found mail with his name on it prior to going upstairs, or, he could have seen him pick her up at the club.

    I am sorry for your loss and hope they catch the scumbag soon!

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  27. #114
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    AMW will feature this case tonight.
    It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. ~ Aristotle

    The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense.

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  29. #115
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    My family was very thankful for the national coverage but frustrated the segment was so short.

    http://www.amw.com/fugitives/brief.cfm?id=71049

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  31. #116
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    So glad you bumped this thread mocity! I saw this on AMW Sat evening and remembered I had seen this case at WS but didn't recall where or how long ago.

    I have to catch up and re-read the thread in it's entirety. Hoping to do that soon.

    Was this story also aired elsewhere on TV? I think I recall seeing it on something other than AMW sometime ago but off the top of my head can't recall.

    Hoping to get some renewed interest/sleuthing on your step sisters case mocity. I will also be sending you some info on how to get verified as a case player family of a victim so you can post as an insider here at WS. Verification post dates your membership here at WS, so please bare with us. I will be sending you that info shortly.

    Thank you and praying for answers in Cherly and Andy's case.

    Cubby
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  33. #117
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    Thanks Cubby.

    This aired on AMW last Sat night, Dec 11th on FOX. We hadn't ever gotten national coverage until now.

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  35. #118
    Cubby is offline 50K reward, Bob Harrod-Missing: Call Det. Radomski 714-993-8176
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    mocity, thank you for your reply. Now I am wondering if perhaps there was a similiar case with a couple murdered after being asked to leave a car featured on tru tv. I either saw a similiar story aired or read a comparable case somewhere here at WS.

    I ask, because within moments of the story being aired on AMW I thought to myself, Oh I recognize this case from WS.

    I do hope more WS'rs find this thread. We have so many wonderful WS'rs maybe someone will either remember the similiar case I seem to be recalling or point us in the direction where this case may have been discussed in another thread here at WS.

    There is some good info here for the WS'rs to work with on this mystery.

    I will keep Cheryl and Andy's case on my list which I am praying for answers.
    ~JMO~

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  37. #119
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    What a POS. I hope you find justice for your stepsister.

  38. #120
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    Almost 21 years since their murder.

    http://www.helpcherylandandy.com/

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  40. #121
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    Wooow. I was not even born when that happened. Just 1 year passed and I was born.

    Oh what about fingerprints? If the killer wrote a letter.. there should be possible fingerprints left? No? Or its impossible to get on the paper and envelope?

    I just think if they got at least one, maybe they could track someone who matches the fingerprint.


  41. #122
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    Wow, I just came up on this thread and am so sorry for your loss. I have a question. Did they ever test the envelope the letter came in to see if there was any DNA / Fingerprints? And if there was DNA, was it compared to the other DNA?

  42. #123
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    Thanks for reading about Cheryl....

    Yes they did try to get DNA envelope and nothing worked out.

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  44. #124
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    My sincerest sympathies, mocity, on the loss of your sister--I truly hope LE can solve it!!

    After reading through the thread and the links, a couple of questions popped into my head (all below are BBM):

    The killer tied Andy and Cherylís hands together in the same intricate knot with a rare kind of hemp rope
    http://www.amw.com/fugitives/case.cfm?id=71049

    Did LE follow up on (a) the hemp rope, since it was "a rare kind"? and/or (b) the intricate knot? Considering, that the rapist with the same DNA mentioned something about being military, I wondered if the knot was a naval or army type knot? Maybe he was not misleading the victim, maybe he was just that arrogant.

    but blood in the car appeared fresh
    Whose blood? The newspaper accounts seem to indicate the prevailing theory was they were cut in the woods?

    Still clothed, a similar rope had been used to bind his hands behind him, although not as securely as Henry's
    If not as securely, could that be from Andy struggling to get free? The LE description thru newspaper accounts have Andy being killed first? It seems more likely to me that this attacker, who was clearly sadistic and cruel, tied him to the tree like he did (sitting with back to tree) to make Andy watch him rape and kill Cheryl? Every aspect of this crime is so horrific, wouldn't that seem in line with the entire episode? And he was found a little ways away, but she could have tried to run or there could have been a line of sight, who knows? It seems counter-intuitive that Andy (male) was not the more securely bound of the two, especially if the assailant had a gun or knife that he would have had on Cheryl, thus couldn't have on Andy as well? (Unless more than one person but that doesn't seem like the case?) And it seems like LE needs a good timeline of events, in the right order, to make sense and solve?

    A bunch of deflated balloons hung Dali-like over a tree limb near Henry's body, having no apparent connection with her death but adding to the surreal quality of the grim scene.
    That is ultra-creepy--does LE think it was related? Like part of a ploy to get quick control of the two? If this was a secluded part of the area, why on earth would the balloons otherwise be there, if not brought by the victims or the perpetrators? Were they taken in as evidence and processed for prints or to trace them back to a store?

    ...approved the independent retesting of all the DNA samples taken from possible suspects and eliminated through tests done at HPD's lab
    Was this ever completed? Any help at all??? And I'm hesitant to bring this up, and I am sure this is ridiculously obvious, but is LE sure Andy and Cheryl didn't have sex prior and it's not his DNA? I imagine that was the first thing crossed off the list, but the suspect sketch looks somewhat like Andy to me (with his hair pressed down from a stocking mask?) I don't want to imply anything at all about his background or character-----only want to make sure consensual sex was crossed off the list so the DNA isn't a wild goose chase. Even the timing is weird---no hits on that DNA since those two times, very close together? Again, I apologize if that line of thinking offends. Most definitely, MOO.

    All quotes, other than the AMW one, are from the Houston Chronicle articles at http://www.helpcherylandandy.com

    I really hope you find resolution, mocity, and my prayers are with you and your family.

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  46. #125
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    What has been happening in this case? Any new information? I was a friend of Cheryl's during High School. I come here every once in a while to see if there's any new information. Poor Cheryl.

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