Real Name: Sherry Melissa Eyerly
Nicknames: No known nicknames
Location: Salem, Oregon
Date: July 4, 1982
Occupation: Pizza Delivery Driver
Date of Birth: December 6, 1963
Weight: 100 pounds
Marital Status: Unrevealed
Characteristics: Caucasian female. Brown hair, blue eyes.
Details: In 1982, eighteen-year-old Sherry Eyerly graduated high school and moved into an apartment in Salem, Oregon, with her cousin Cindy. Around that same time, she got a part-time job as a pizza delivery driver for the Domino's in Salem. On the evening of July 4, she vanished while delivering pizzas to Riverhaven Drive near Brown Island Road. Her destination was a non-existent address near the Willamette River. At 10pm, her Ford Pinto was discovered with the engine idling. Pizza boxes were scattered on the ground around it. One had a tire track on it; another had a boot print on it. No trace of her was found at the scene, but investigators were convinced that she had been abducted.
Police and Sherry's loved ones searched the area around her abduction site. However, no trace of her was found. Police did locate several witnesses who saw a suspicious older-model truck parked on the side of the road around the time of her abduction. One month after she vanished, Dallas psychic investigator John Catchings awoke at 3am from a sound sleep. At the edge of his bed, he saw the ghostly figure of a young woman standing there. He believed that there was a reason she appeared to him. Four days later, he received a package from Salem investigators with information about Sherry's case. When he saw her photograph, he realized that she was the woman he had seen in his bedroom.
Investigators had contacted Catchings at the request of Sherry's parents. They were hoping that he could bring them some closure surrounding her disappearance. His first impression was that she was dead, not "missing". He believed that she was suddenly and violently abducted by someone that she knew. As his wife read through the report, he had a "vision" of a white house. The front door was open and it appeared that there were stairs right in front of the door. He also saw white pillars or posts that were "superimposed" over the house.
After reviewing the case, Catchings traveled to Oregon. He was escorted to the scene of Sherry's abduction by Capt. Will Hingston. He wanted to go there to see if he could determine where her body was located. While there, he had visions of what he believed happened that night: she was driving down the road, looking for an address that she could not find. She was approached by a pickup truck with several lights on it. The driver tells her that he ordered the pizzas and gave the wrong address. As she gets out of her car to give them to him, he grabs her from behind and drags her into his truck.
As they walked around the site, Catchings asked if Hingston had a list of possible suspects that drove a green-colored pickup truck, as this type of vehicle was seen in the area prior to Sherry's abduction. As Hingston read the names, one of them stood out to Catchings. The man's name was Darrell Jay Wilson. Catchings felt that he had something to do with Sherry's abduction. According to Hingston, Wilson became a suspect when an individual contacted investigators and told them that he had owned a lime green pickup truck. Wilson had apparently painted it brown just eight days after Sherry's abduction. According to the informant, Wilson knew her and another girl who had vanished from the Salem area around the same time.
On August 21, 1982, Hingston agreed to take Catchings to Wilson's home. Catchings was shocked to discover that the home was the same one that he had seen in his vision. When they drove to the back part of it, there was a car port. It was supported by white posts; this was identical to what he had seen in his vision. When Hingston questioned Wilson about taking a polygraph, he refused. However, he strangely said that he would talk to a psychic. Catchings then came out of the car and met with him. He was certain that Wilson was responsible for Sherry's disappearance.
Two hours later, Hingston was called back to Wilson's home; Wilson had committed suicide. He did not leave any note or information that could lead investigators to Sherry's body. Hingston is quite confident that Wilson was involved in her case. However, he believes that at least one other person was involved in her abduction. Catchings also believes that Wilson was responsible. Her family still hopes to find her body and learn what really happened on the night she vanished.
Suspects: The caller appeared to be a middle-aged man who said his name was "Dunbar". During the call, he apparently spoke to another individual about what to order. Near the end of it, he mentioned that they had previously gotten pizza from another female driver who drove an orange Volkswagon. They claimed that she would know where the address was. She was not working that night. The callback number was for the City Center Motel. The caller has never been identified.
Several witnesses reported seeing a suspicious pickup truck parked on the side of the road around the time of Sherry's disappearance. It had four-wheel drive with large tires. It had two spotlights on top of the cab. The front was off the road and the back was facing the roadway. The truck and its driver have never been identified or located.
Wilson was considered the prime suspect in Sherry's disappearance. He had apparently known her as well as another person who had recently disappeared. When questioned, he initially lied about knowing her. However, he later admitted to having met her at a party. He had a green pickup truck similar to one seen in the area where she disappeared, and it had been repainted eight days after her disappearance.
Wilson told police that he was camping with friends at Elk Lake on the night of Sherry's abduction, but there were eight hours that he could not account for. Included in that time frame was the time in which she was abducted. Less than two hours after meeting with Catchings and Hingston at his home, he took his own life. He had been involved in drugs for several years. There has been speculation that he was merely troubled and had no connection to Sherry's case.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the November 10, 1991 episode. It was also profiled on On the Case with Paula Zahn.
Results: Unresolved. Cold case investigators reopened Sherry's case years later. They felt that Wilson did not fit the behavioral profile of her abductor. He had been involved in drugs but had no other criminal history. They looked into the possibility that someone else was involved. They believed that Sherry's abductor had committed similar crimes in the past. After looking through other case files, they found a similar murder that took place one year after she vanished.
The victim was Katie Redmond; she had vanished in April 1984 after leaving a late night college party in Salem. Her car was found with the motor running, the door open, and signs of a struggle. This was almost identical to Sherry's abduction scene. Her body was later found in a river. Her killer was identified as William Scott Smith and he was convicted in her case and that of Rebecca Darling, who was also killed in Salem in 1984. He was initially questioned about Sherry's case, but denied involvement. He claimed that he was driving truck in Washington state at the time.
However, years later, investigators took another look at Smith. They found that he had been stopped and questioned by police near Salem within hours of Sherry's abduction. This refuted his claim of not being in the area at the time. After questioning his cellmates, they learned that he had mentioned being involved in an incident with a "pizza girl". However, he did not refer to Sherry by her name. The inmates were able to record these statements on cassette tapes and give them to police.
In 2006, Smith was interviewed again. He initially refused to talk; however, he changed his mind when he was offered to change prisons in exchange for his cooperation. He then confessed to being involved in Sherry's abduction and murder. He claimed that his friend, Roger Noseff, ordered the pizzas and that they waited for her to arrive. When she did, Smith flagged her down. As she picked up the pizzas, they grabbed her and dragged her into their truck. They then took her to an area near Smith's parent's home where he strangled her. He then dumped her body into the Pudding River, where he had dumped his other victims. However, because of flooding in the area, her body was never found.
Smith's description of the abduction matched the physical evidence found at the scene. He also gave investigators information about the crime that had never been released to the public. For example, he knew the type of pizza that had been ordered, called a "Destroyer" (includes all toppings). He told them that he and Noseff had planned to abduct another delivery driver that they knew and hold her for ransom. She was the same driver that was mentioned by the caller. However, she was not working that night, and Sherry was her replacement. He also told them that Noseff had made a ransom call to Domino's the day after Sherry's abduction, demanding $50,000 for her safe return. This detail had also never been released to the public.
Noseff died in 2004, several years before the confession. On December 18, 2007, Smith pleaded guilty to Sherry's murder and was sentenced to life in prison. In 2011, he pleaded guilty to the 1981 murder of Terri Monroe.
Wilson is no longer considered a suspect in Sherry's case.
- Sherry Eyerly on The Charley Project
- Sherry Eyerly on The Doe Network
- Sherry Eyerly on NamUs
- Sherry Eyerly on Marion County - Solved Cases
- Searchers fail to find missing teenager - July 6, 1982
- Searchers still seeking missing pizza deliverer - July 7, 1982
- Search for missing woman continues, but no success - July 7, 1982
- Family of missing pizza deliverer offers reward - July 8, 1982
- No response to offer of Eyerly reward - July 12, 1982
- Suicide victim was suspect in Eyerly disappearance - August 23, 1982
- Police link dead man to missing woman, girl - August 24, 1982
- Police call dead man prime Eyerly suspect - August 24, 1982
- Psychic feels certain Wilson is guilty party - August 25, 1982
- Searchers find no sign of body - February 20, 1983
- Baffling deaths, disappearances kept detectives busy in 1982 - March 7, 1983
- Sherry Eyerly case: Parents mark year of pain (Page 1) (Page 2) - July 4, 1983
- Smith arraigned for two Salem murders - April 26, 1984
- Unsolved killings linger from '80s - January 1, 1990
- Attack on delivery driver brings back memories - September 14, 1991
- TV film renews focus on missing Salem woman - October 16, 1991
- Family's loss fresh 20 years later - July 5, 2002
- Suspect Arrested in 25-year-old Disappearance of Sherry Eyerly - December 18, 2007
- Convicted serial killer pleads guilty to murder of 18-year-old girl - December 19, 2007
- Convicted serial killer pleads guilty to third murder - December 19, 2007
- Inmate admits slaying woman in case that baffled Salem for 25 years (Page 1) (Page 2) - December 19, 2007
- Serial killer pleads guilty to third murder - December 20, 2007
- Inmate's plea officially closes decades-old Salem murder - October 18, 2012
- My cousin was an "Unsolved Mysteries" episode - August 28, 2016
- Sherry Eyerly on Find a Grave
- William Scott Smith on Murderpedia