I have never posted on a website about this but I thought I might post here. I am including a recent article from the Houston Chronicle about my step-sisters murder in 1990. The article ran on 12/8/04. Hoping to reinvigorate their investigation of a 14-year-old homicide case, Houston police have released a handwritten note that may have come from the architect of two of the city's most gruesome slayings. The letter, postmarked in Houston, was received in March 2001, more than 10 years after Cheryl Henry and Andy Atkinson were stabbed to death as they parked on a secluded cul-de-sac in west Harris County. "It's the kind of case everyone remembers," Houston police Sgt. Billy Belk said. "It sticks in your mind." In block letters, the note's sender told investigators, "If you want to know who killed C. Henry and A. Atkinson, it will cost $100,000." The note told investigators to reply in the classifieds section of the March 12, 2001, Houston Chronicle and warned, "a lawyer will be hired to make sure u play straight." The note was answered, according to instructions. "We do want to know what you know about Henry /Atkinson," the classified ad read. A number was given for the note-sender or a lawyer to contact investigators "with directions on playing straight." Through the years, police had gotten calls whenever an anniversary or other publicity brings the case back to the public's attention. The timing of the note, postmarked March 1, 2001, was odd, Belk said, in that it came so long after the slayings, and during a period when the case was getting no publicity. The most recent news story about the case, a 10-year retrospective, had been published Sept. 13, 2000. Note suppressed The possibilities the note offered were enticing to investigators sitting at yet another dead end in the case, and Belk said the note was never publicized. "We kept pretty tight-lipped about it," he said, "to see if we got a response." They never did. Today, investigators say, it's a pretty sure bet that whoever sent the note does not intend to contact police again. Belk hopes that by releasing the contents of the note someone may recognize the handwriting, the language or some other scrap of information when it is published. Cheryl Henry , 22, was home for the summer from classes at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches. Andy Atkinson, whose 22nd birthday was only days away, had just moved home after finishing college in North Carolina. The two left on a date the evening of Aug. 21, 1990, along with Henry 's younger sister, Shane, and her escort. The sisters said their goodbyes when the couples left the Bayou Mama club near Westheimer and Gessner late that night. Neither Henry nor Atkinson returned from their date; their families reported them missing early the next day. On the evening of Aug. 22, a Houston patrol officer spotted Atkinson's car parked on Enclave Round, a then-undeveloped area off the 1300 block of Enclave Parkway that young people often used as a "lovers lane." Blood in the car appeared fresh. When a computer check of the vehicle's license plate showed it belonged to a missing person, a tracking dog was called to search the nearby heavy woods. The dog led police to Henry 's body about 200 yards away. Her clothes, found nearby, had been cut from her body, probably with the same knife used to slash her throat. Her hands were bound behind her with hemp rope. Her killer had tried to cover her body with boards from a rotting cedar fence. 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. Darkness halted the search for Atkinson. A Houston police officer was posted to stand watch until dawn, when searchers returned and quickly discovered the second body. Atkinson was found about 100 yards from Henry . He was fully clothed, his hands tied behind him with similar rope. He had been seated with his back against a tree trunk before his throat was slashed. He still had his money and watch. The young couple had evidently parked to neck, Belk said. The car's front seats were reclined, the engine had been turned off but the key left in the auxiliary position so the music would stay on. Henry 's shoes and bag were in the front floorboard. Suspects cleared In the first months, investigators chased hundreds of leads. Several potential suspects were identified. Cheryl Henry 's killer had raped her, and left behind DNA. One by one, all the suspects were cleared through DNA comparisons. Problems within HPD's DNA lab began unfolding in 2002 and ultimately resulted in the lab's closure and the retesting of hundreds of DNA samples, but Belk is confident in the work done on the DNA left by Henry 's killer. That DNA was profiled at the DNA lab founded at Baylor College of Medicine by renowned researcher Dr. C. Thomas Caskey, Belk said. The sample was entered into the state's Combined DNA Indexing System, but a link was never made to any other crime. The sample from Henry 's killer was later sent by HPD to the Texas Department of Public Safety for comparison with DNA from Angel Maturino Resendiz, a convicted rail-riding serial killer. That didn't provide a match either, Belk said. Last month, Belk and members of Henry 's family met with Houston Police Chief Harold Hurtt, who approved the independent retesting of all the DNA samples taken from possible suspects and eliminated through tests done at HPD's lab, Belk said. He said the case has never gone completely cold. "We've gotten at least one new lead every year," Belk said, "and I follow up on every one of them." Noting that most investigators have at least one case they can't let go of, Belk said, "This is mine." If the case has haunted Belk, it has tortured Barbara Craig, Henry 's mother. "I was always so proud of Cheryl ," Craig said recently. "She was the older sister to five other kids. ... The youngest, the twins, were just starting fifth grade that year. Their first day of school was spent at their sister's funeral." Her daughter's death devastated the family, Craig said. The details made it almost too painful to bear. "To be killed is horrible," Craig said, "But to be terrorized, tied up, raped ... To think her last moments were of terror, and I wasn't there. Because mothers, you know, that's their job, to make it better." Several scenarios Craig said finding the person who killed her daughter and Atkinson is important to the family, although "we try not to base our happiness on whether or not the person is caught." Atkinson's father could not be reached for comment. Belk acknowledges the note could be a hoax, but he said it is difficult to see what reward there could be in such a deception. The other possibilities are that the note is from the killer, or from someone who could identify the killer. The latter would probably be the best news for Belk. In a study published in the Journal of Criminal Justice and Popular Culture in 2002, Seattle University journalism professor Tomas Guillen looked at a half-dozen killers who contacted police or the media before their capture, and concluded that while the killers' missives often helped police link previously unlinked crimes, or proved pivotal in helping convict the offenders once they were caught, they rarely helped identify a killer. "Although these killers injected themselves into cases, sometimes repeatedly for years, with poems, letters, and telephone calls to investigators or the news media, the communiques did not lead to enough investigative evidence or clues to put an immediate end to a series of slayings," Guillen wrote. All Belk wants is some foothold he can use to push the case closer to its resolution. Anyone with information in the case can call Belk at 713-308-3600, or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS. ... Houston homicide investigators want to know who wrote them an anonymous letter regarding the 1990 slayings of Cheryl Henry and Andy Atkinson. Their bodies were found near a secluded cul-de-sac in west Harris County. Police got the letter three years ago and are releasing it now in hope that someone with information will come forward. The letter demanded $100,000 in exchange for the killers identity and asked police to respond through the Houston Chronicles ``personal column. The letter writer warned that a lawyer would be hired ``to make sure u play straight.