VA VA - Sheryl Warner, 37, Culpepper, 18 Dec 2005

Discussion in 'Cold Cases' started by mysteriew, Jan 5, 2006.

  1. mysteriew

    mysteriew A diamond in process

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    Sheriff calls death suspicious

    Foul play is suspected in the death of a 37-year-old woman whose body was found in her basement Sunday night, Culpeper County Sheriff Lee Hart said yesterday.

    "We are looking at this as a homicide at this time," Hart said at a news conference.

    Hart, who provided few details regarding the case, did say that his office "had some leads."
    http://fredericksburg.com/News/FLS/2005/122005/12212005/154626

    Death deemed a homicide

    A suspicious house fire in Reva Sunday night has been classified a homicide by the Culpeper County Sheriff’s Office.

    Sheriff H. Lee Hart confirmed Tuesday that investigators believe Sheryl Ann Warner, 37, was killed by foul play.

    “It looks suspicious from pretty much the beginning,” said Hart, who would not give details on how Warner died. However, rescuers have reported that Warner was found in her basement at 8445 James Monroe Highway, hanged with an electrical cord.
    “At this time,” Hart said, “everything leads toward it’s a homicide investigation.”
    http://www.starexponent.com/servlet...e/CSE_MGArticle&c=MGArticle&cid=1128768846313

    Force remains tight-lipped in investigation

    As its investigation into a bizarre homicide case continues, the Culpeper County Sheriff's Office remains tight-lipped while it gathers information.

    Since Sunday's suspicious house fire in Reva, a 15-member joint task force of the Sheriff's Office and the Virginia State Police has met daily to discuss leads and share information. Sheriff H. Lee Hart said Commonwealth's Attorney Gary Close is also included in the meetings.
    http://www.starexponent.com/servlet...e/CSE_MGArticle&c=MGArticle&cid=1128768869812

    Information still scarce in investigation

    Investigators released little information Thursday regarding the suspicious death of Sherri Warner, a 37-year-old mother of three found dead Sunday night in the basement of her Reva home.
    "We are conducting interviews," said Culpeper County Sheriff H. Lee Hart, "and we have had a number of people calling in pertaining to this investigation. ? We are working through the holiday."
    http://www.starexponent.com/servlet...e/CSE_MGArticle&c=MGArticle&cid=1128768889698
     
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  3. mysteriew

    mysteriew A diamond in process

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    The homicide case involving a 37-year-old Reva woman has taken another bizarre turn.

    According to search warrants filed Thursday in Culpeper County Circuit Court, an autopsy report reveals Sherri Warner, who died Sunday night in a suspicious house fire, had “a small caliber bullet wound to the left side of the head.”

    However, those documents do not list a gun among the 15 items seized from Warner’s home at 8445 James Monroe Highway.

    When firefighters discovered Warner’s body sometime after 8 p.m. Sunday, she was hanging from an electrical cord in her basement. A large fire burning nearby was doused before it caused major damage to the body, and the modest two-story house remained intact.

    According to the affidavits, “the scene originally indicated that Warner may have committed suicide, however, after a preliminary autopsy was completed, a single gunshot to the head was uncovered, indicating that Warner was potentially shot or shot herself prior to being hung and then burned.”

    “The Medical Examiner,” the affidavit continued, “indicated no soot in the lungs, which supports this theorem.”

    With that information in hand, investigators sought in the second affidavit permission to search Warner’s home and surrounding area for “any and all physical evidence which would substantiate or support the commission of a crime to include but not limited to: digital evidence, photographic evidence, personal and financial documents, physical evidence of a crime, any firearms and or any other evidence that would substantiate that a crime has occurred.”
    http://www.starexponent.com/servlet...e/CSE_MGArticle&c=MGArticle&cid=1128768908046

    Culpeper victim was shot in head

    Sheryl Ann Embrey Warner was shot in the head, hanged by the neck with an electrical cord and her body left to be consumed in a house fire, according to documents filed in court in Culpeper.

    Search warrant documents filed in Culpeper County Circuit Court revealed that the 37-year-old mother of three had been shot.

    Two bed comforters, a bed sheet, a mattress cover and two pillows were among items taken from Warner's James Monroe Highway (U.S. 29) home, according to the four search warrants issued on Dec. 19 and Dec. 22.

    The exact cause of death, however, was not contained in the court documents and has not been released by the Culpeper County Sheriff's Office.

    The fire was apparently started near the body, which, according to court documents, had burns on it.

    Other items seized from the Warner home under the search warrants include four telephones, a towel and a Styrofoam cup.
    http://fredericksburg.com/News/FLS/2005/122005/12282005/155994

    Culpeper County reward is increased

    Crime Solvers is beefing up its reward for information leading to an arrest in the slaying of a Culpeper County woman.

    As Culpeper businesses take the lead in soliciting donations, the reward is up to $3,000. The amount likely will continue growing, said Nancy Garrett of Crime Solvers.
    http://www.timesdispatch.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=RTD%2FMGArticle%2FRTD_BasicArticle&c=MGArticle&cid=1128769057921&path=!news&s=1045855934842

    Reward increased in homicide case

    Crime Solvers is beefing up its reward for information leading to an arrest in the Sherri Warner homicide case.

    As Culpeper businesses take the lead in soliciting donations, the reward has increased to $3,000. And that amount is expected to continue growing, said Crime Solvers’ Nancy Garrett.

    The autopsy report shows Sherri Warner was probably dead before the fire was started, because she had no soot in her lungs. However, investigators are still awaiting toxicology reports that could shed more light into her condition at the time of her death.
    http://www.starexponent.com/servlet...e/CSE_MGArticle&c=MGArticle&cid=1128768986926
     
  4. Shadow205

    Shadow205 New Member

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    I found something interesting at one of the links that you provided Mysteriew.Take a look at this.

    On March 2, 1996, Alicia Showalter Reynolds' car was found alongside Route 29 in Culpeper County, Virginia. Alicia, a 25-year-old graduate student, was traveling from her home in Baltimore to Charlottesville, Virginia. Two months later, her skeletal remains were found 15 miles away from where her car was located in Lignum, Virginia. During the investigation, it was determined that numerous other women were "flagged down" by a white male driving a dark pickup truck while driving along Route 29. The man would attempt to get the women to pull over by indicating they were having car trouble.

    and from the article about Warner, this was mentioned:http://fredericksburg.com/News/FLS/2005/122005/12212005/154626

    Sherrie Warner, a Culpeper native and a graduate of Culpeper County High School, had been employed as a secretary for more than two years at DeJarnette's Main Street law office. Her home is about 50 yards from where Alicia Showalter Reynolds' car was found abandoned in March 1996.

    Reynolds' body was found in a wooded area near Lignum two months later. Her killer has never been found.

    "I can't say there's any connection at this time," Hart said of the two cases.
     
  5. Vet4Bush

    Vet4Bush Former Member

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  6. Shadow205

    Shadow205 New Member

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    Darrell Rice was the suspect but was never charged with the murder of Alicia Showalter Reynolds murder. He was charged/convicted of another abduction and received only a 10 year sentence. What is disturbing is I just checked the Virginai Dpet. of Correction and find NO record of him as an inmate? Has he already been released and if so, has he resumed?

    **added**never mind, I found him in Federal prison.
     
  7. mamasouth

    mamasouth Inactive

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    Sherri was also a singer and member of a band, out of high school. That is how she met her husband, Lonnie, with whom she had 3 children and from whom she was later divorced.
     
  8. mssheila

    mssheila New Member

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    How close is this to Richmond? Hmmm...
     
  9. Shadow205

    Shadow205 New Member

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    86 miles

     
  10. mysteriew

    mysteriew A diamond in process

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    One difference I noted in the comparison of this case with the Harvey case was that in Warner's muder, there wasn't any mention of it being a particularly bloody scene, or any mention of torture like they found with the Harvey's. The fact that the Harvey scene also included young children may have been responsible for part of the detective's reactions, but with the info coming out about the nonfatal wounds, there isn't anything like that mentioned in the Warner case. Even though it does appear she was shot and hung, then a fire started.
     
  11. mysteriew

    mysteriew A diamond in process

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    That would be a major change in MO though.
    From attacking lone women in a vehicle, and dumping along the road to approaching and attacking them in a house. Wonder if they know COD for Showalter?

    I keep puzzling about the fact that Warner was both shot and hung. Was it overkill, or was the hanging unsuccessful and so she was then shot?
    Firesetting using is an indicator of trying to destroy evidence. That is often (but not always) an indicator that the person can be a known associate of the victim, but she didn't indicate to her dad that she knew the person. Someone who lived in the area, maybe? A clerk in a store she frequented or something similiar?
     
  12. mysteriew

    mysteriew A diamond in process

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  13. mysteriew

    mysteriew A diamond in process

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    Just an hour's drive north of Kay Scarpetta's Richmond, the scene of the annihilation of the Harvey family, is the small community of Culpeper, Virginia. It was there that less than two weeks before the murder of the Harveys that another victim met a similar terrible death. While talking on the telephone to her father, Sheryl Ann Warner heard a knock on her door and told her dad that the person at the door had car problems and needed help. (This kind of a plea for help has been a common ruse for assailants to obtain entry into a home.)
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10723608/

    The Culpeper county Sheriff's Office has classified the December 18 death of Reva resident Sheryl Ann Warner,37, as a homicide. Warner, who was initially thought to have died in a fire, was a law clerk in Culpeper County.

    Warner worked in the Washington offices of attorney Doug Baumgartner from 1999 to 2001.
    http://www.zwire.com/site/tab4.cfm?newsid=15810680&BRD=2553&PAG=461&dept_id=506086&rfi=6
     
  14. mysteriew

    mysteriew A diamond in process

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    What type of area did Sheryl live in?

    Does anyone else think it is a bit odd, she was talking with her Dad on the phone and said someone was there who was having car trouble. He tells her to call him back when they leave. Ok, that seems pretty normal. But when she didn't call back, the family has the LE there within 40 min. to check on her.

    There wasn't much worry and wonder time from the time the father hung up till they called LE. No assuming she had gotten busy or stepped outside. Father hangs up the phone, calls the sister, who tries to call her Sherri, and then calls LE.

    All that I have seen about the phone call is that someone came to the door and was having car trouble and she had to go. Yet the family responed very quickly. Did the father hear something disturbing on the phone? Was Sherri having problems with someone? What made the family respond so quickly? They didn't drop everything and run to the house to check. They called 911 very quickly.
     
  15. mamasouth

    mamasouth Inactive

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    There have been horrible murders in the Fredericksburg/Culpeper area over the past ten years. Two teenage girls were abducted and murdered from their home after school and then Alicia Showalter was abducted and murdered.

    It is hard for me to imagine in this day and age, a woman letting a man she does not know into her house to use her phone. I so wish she had not! I think I am a Good Samaritan, but there is NO WAY I would let a strange man, no matter how normal (Ted Bundy) into my home to use the phone, even if I had a system where I would call my husband/sister/father whomever after he was through. No way.

    But, that is what happened here.

    When Sherri's father didn't hear right back from her, I am not surprised that he became concerned and when she did not pick up the phone, called her sister, who then called her ex, and after discussing it, then called the police. They probably did not want to appear paranoid and call 9-1-1, but after repeated attempts, quickly in succession, to contact her, did the right thing and called 9-1-1. They had lived through these other crimes, which is why it makes it that much more unbelievable that she let this guy into the house!!! I don't blame victims for the crimes their perps commit....but it was just an unfortunate, good hearted, but very risky decision. No less risky than picking up a hitchhiker in a desolate area.

    In this age of cell phones and nuts on the streets, please....NO ONE LET A STRANGER INTO YOUR HOME! Listen through the door and make a call for the person or call 9-1-1 and let the authorities come and help the person. If they're innocent, they won't care.

    In Summer 2004 a wonderful woman in New Jersey opened her door to a magazine salesman who wanted a drink of water....she was beaten to death within minutes.

    I do not find Sherri's relatives' reactions strange based on the crimes that had surrounded them that received tons of press coverage nationally. Hope this helps.
     
  16. mamasouth

    mamasouth Inactive

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    To clarify:
    The Fredericksburg murders were solved years after the girls' bodies were found. A normal looking, upstanding married guy (Pres of the homeowners' association) who lived not far from the girls moved to SC where he abducted a young girl in broad daylight. While she was tied in his apt, he fell asleep, she broke free and ran for her life. He woke up and fled, but the victim led the SC police to the apt where they found "souvenirs" from the F'burg girls that sealed the solution to that case. He committed suicide at a roadblock.
    Just didn't want to imply that the F'burg murders and the Showalter murder were BOTH unsolved.
     
  17. mamasouth

    mamasouth Inactive

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    FINALLY

    Richmond case draws attention from Culpeper



    Liz Mitchell - Staff Writer
    Culpeper Star Exponent
    Saturday, January 7, 2006



    Give your opinion on this story



    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    As investigators continue to search for leads in the Sherri Warner homicide investigation, an eerily similar case in Richmond has drawn attention.

    Major Jim Branch of the Culpeper County Sheriff’s Office said investigators have been in contact with the Richmond Police Department, which is investigating the New Year’s Day murder of a family of four.

    However, Culpeper officials are downplaying any link between Warner’s death and last week’s murder of Bryan and Kathryn Harvey and their two daughters, Stella, 9, and Ruby, 4.

    The family was bound by tape and had their throats cut Jan. 1 at their home outside Richmond. As was the case in Warner’s death Dec. 18, the Richmond PD said a fire had been started to cover up evidence. And the Richmond family had been found in their basement, as had Warner, a 37-year-old divorced mother of three.

    Branch was unsure if investigators have shared information in the two cases, but the Sheriff’s Office is checking if a connection could be possible.

    “We are looking into that,” Sheriff H. Lee Hart said. “We have no confirmation if there is any similarities on that.”

    No suspects have been identified in either case, but Branch is hopeful that the public can point investigators toward a suspect in Warner’s death.

    “Something that in someone’s eyes may be trivial could be very important and could be something that solves the case,” he said. “We try not to put anything out of context. We try not to prioritize. Anything and everything as far as information is important. It may be that one piece of information that you need to tie things together.”

    As the Warner investigation continues, the phone lines remain open and Crime Solvers’ Nancy Garrett is optimistic. Last week the reward money was increased to $3,000, and Garrett said the community is continuing to be supportive.

    “The whole community is so distraught by this they are willing to put money up for reward,” she said. “It gives the sense that people really do care, really are concerned and really want to help.”

    Norma Mayo and Maria Wince, of Signature Real Estate, donated $500 to the reward and challenge other area businesses to match their donation.

    “Sherri was a business person in our community,” Mayo said. “We are all scared; we all want to know who did this. We all want to put Sherri to rest.”

    “Crime is coming here more than we want to know,” she added. “When it gets this close to home, it is very frightening.”

    Liz Mitchell can be reached at 825-0771 ext. 110
     
  18. mamasouth

    mamasouth Inactive

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    Sheriff defends homicide probe



    Liz Mitchell - Staff Writer
    Culpeper Star Exponent
    Saturday, January 7, 2006



    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    It’s been nearly three weeks since Reva resident Sherri Warner was killed in her home.

    Investigators have yet to identify a suspect, and little new information has publicly emerged in the case. However, Culpeper County Sheriff H. Lee Hart provided updates on the investigation Friday in response to an accusation by a former employee.

    In a letter to the editor on today’s commentary page, former sheriff’s investigator Justin Brown asks why a lead arson investigator was pulled off the case.

    “He hasn’t been pulled off the case,” Hart told the Star-Exponent regarding Steve St. Clair. “He is still on the case pertaining to the arson. He has been put in a supervised capacity in charge of the general investigations until the other supervisor comes back.

    “I had to realign personnel,” Hart added, “so I could put four people on this thing full time. I have personnel in other areas to see that daily operations are covered.”

    Major Jim Branch said the homicide investigation has put a strain on sheriff’s employees who have worked tirelessly since Warner’s body was found hanged by an electrical cord Dec. 18 in her basement.

    Autopsy reports show the divorced mother of three also had a bullet wound to her head, but investigators did not find a gun at the scene.

    “It has been two years since we had a crime like this,” Branch said, “so for our office and this community … we want to make sure that we give the attention that that case deserves.

    “But the other side of the coin,” he continued, “is we still have the day-to-day operations. There were cases that were being worked on before this, cases coming in as this happened, and certainly as we speak now cases are coming in, so those cannot be ignored as well.”

    Branch likens Brown’s letter to “kids kicking a tin can back and forth,” and Hart calls it a political attack.

    Meanwhile, Hart said a 15-member state and county task force is looking into all leads, no matter how trivial or remote they may seem.

    “Our office is working diligently,” Hart said. “We are giving it priority. This is a sensitivity issue to the family.
    “I will not put a deadline on this case,” he added. “It will be done thoroughly.”

    In an unrelated case, the Sheriff’s Office released no new information into an assault and robbery of three North Carolina construction workers Dec. 29 at Red Carpet Inn.

    “I believe they are making progress on it,” Branch said. “The Warner case has occupied most of my personal time.”

    Liz Mitchell can be reached at 825-0771 ext. 110 or
     
  19. mamasouth

    mamasouth Inactive

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    Total coincidence that the perp from the NJ case was sentenced yesterday, but here's the link:
    http://www.nj.com/news/ledger/index.ssf?/base/news-4/1136613285291050.xml&coll=1
    Do not open doors to strangers!
     
  20. mysteriew

    mysteriew A diamond in process

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    To me, it just seems odd the short amount of time that elapsed from the time she hung up with the father, till the time that they called LE.

    They didn't sit and worry, then think that maybe she was holding a flashlight for the guy while he made repairs. They didn't assume that they were waiting on a tow truck, and that she may have stepped outside. They didn't let any time go by, before they began to be concerned enough to worry.
    To me that is an indication. The father heard something- either words or something in his dau. voice that caused him concern. Or maybe he heard some of the conversation in the background, while he was waiting for his dau. to come to the phone. Concerned enough that he called his other dau. and talked about it. Concerned enough that they tried to call her back. Concerned enough that they made the decision to call 911. But maybe not enough that he felt the need to immediately call 911.
    I agree, that too many people are letting strangers into their home. But I don't think Sherri did. I think she just opened her door to a knock, and faced a gun. Maybe she said that she was on the phone, maybe they just saw the phone off the hook. But I think that the story of someone being broken down, was something she was told to say. Or a story she gave her father, because she was told to say nothing on the phone. But I think the gun was already presented.
     
  21. mamasouth

    mamasouth Inactive

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    I visualized and assumed all along that Sherri came to the door, bringing the portable phone with her, and told her Dad that there was a guy outside. He probably said, "OK, I'll hold on," and the Dad probably DID overhear a male voice indicating he had car trouble...and Sherri said, "Dad, I'll call you right back. This gentleman (and I use that term loosely) needs to use the phone." When she didn't, I just feel enough had gone on in that community with the still unsolved terror of Alicia Showalter's abduction (in daylight) and murder....and the suspicion is that someone feigned car trouble to complete that abduction) that he became frightened and set the wheels in motion.

    I may be totally off, but I cannot imagine any woman in Culpeper going out to a car and holding a flashlight for a guy near Rt 29 after Alicia Showalter's abduction on that road...and subsequent murder. This was not a rural community unaccustomed to a murder....her murder was HUGE news in Va and is still unsolved.

    Just my thoughts and the way I had invisioned it going down, but who knows. Too many unsolved crimes.
     

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