An investigation into the disappearance of a woman from Ohio has been reclassified as a homicide investigation, police said Tuesday as her husband was identified as the "one and only suspect".
Cheryl Coker, 46, was last seen laying down her youngest daughter at school in their hometown of Riverside, Ohio on October 2, 2018 at around 7:30 am.
"The phone records indicate that she went home at 7:35," said Insp. Travis Abney of the Riverside Police Department at a press conference Tuesday.
Det. Abney said that more than three hours later, at 10:52, Cheryl's phone rang in a nearby mall while her car was heading toward the parking lot. However, recently released surveillance footage shows a person dressed in black coming out of his car. The investigators say that this person then walked from the parking lot to the back of the Coker's home.
While the police refused to say who she thought she was, Det. Abney said, "Whatever that person's name was, it seemed like the Coker's residence seemed familiar to him." Two witnesses eventually came forward and reported that a "suspicious white man" was walking dressed in black that day.
Detective Abney said the newly discovered evidence – which he was unable to detail – led them to identify Cheryl's husband, William Coker, as "the only suspect at the moment."
"Mr. Coker has sometimes been cooperative, but his level of cooperation has dropped," Det A. Abney said, "By his own admission, he was at home for [the three-hour] Time range. Many things that he says do not have logical sense. "
According to the authorities, Cheryl and William had filed for divorce before Cheryl disappeared. Authorities said Tuesday that, although they had questioned William, he had hesitated to take a polygraph test and only called them four times a month to ask for an update on his wife's case.
William Coker was not charged in the Cheryl case.
"Unfortunately, Ms. Coker was not found. That's our main goal, "Det. Abney said. "There is no indication as to his current situation. We do not know where she is. We do not know where to start. If we had done it, we would have done it already. "
Authorities declined to comment on the next steps of the investigation, but told reporters that they trusted their ability to resolve the case.
If you have any information about Cheryl's disappearance, please contact detective Travis Abney at the Riverside Police Department at (937) 681-2301.