Police highlight 25-year-old cold case of missing Hamilton woman
Published July 13, 2023 at 6:12 pm
Retired Hamilton police inspector Warren Korol never forgot Sheryl Sheppard, 25 years after she went missing.
“It’s been 25 years since anyone has seen Sheryl and this case still sticks with me,” Korol said in a video released by Hamilton police today (July 13). “All these years later, I still think about Sheryl and what might have happened to her.”
Police are renewing their appeal for any tips to help solve the cold case involving the “suspicious disappearance” of the 29-year-old Hamilton woman. Police believe Sheppard is “the victim of foul play.” They are again offering a $50,000 reward to anyone who supplies police with information that leads to an arrest.
“We know there is someone out there that knows what happened to Sheryl,” Korol said. “With time and distance, my hope is someone is now willing to come forward. Sheryl’s family deserves some answers and to know what happened to her.”
In a Hamilton police press release on Jan. 5, 1998, police said that Sheppard’s mother reported her missing after she failed to show up at several appointments. “It is believed that Sheryl Sheppard was murdered and her body has never been found,” the press release then stated.
Sheppard goes missing after boyfriend proposes to her in 1998
On Jan. 5, 1998, Odette Fisher filed a report to police that Sheppard, her daughter, was missing. Sheppard was last seen by her boyfriend, Michael Lavoie, on Jan. 2, 1998, a few days after he proposed to her and she said yes on live TV during a New Year’s Eve party at the Hamilton Convention Centre.
Sheppard had been living with Lavoie at her mother’s apartment on Queenston Road in Hamilton. Lavoie had lived with her and her mother on and off.
In the video recently released by Hamilton police, an old clip is shown of Lavoie proposing to Sheppard on Dec. 31, 1997 during the New Year’s Eve party. CBC Radio’s Someone Knows Something podcast had reported that Sheppard’s mother believed she did not want to marry Lavoie until he got a full-time job and she thought the couple had a “rocky relationship.” Lavoie had denied to police that he had anything to do with her disappearance.
Police did not recently report any charges or suspects in the case.
Police became concerned when they arrived at apartment
Det. Sgt. Jason Cattle said in the video that Lavoie told Sheppard’s mom that he dropped her off at an adult entertainment club in Niagara Falls and hadn’t seen or heard from her since then. CBC Radio’s podcast had revealed that Sheppard had worked as a stripper for a year. But her mother said she believed she had stopped doing that since she got a full-time job as a baker at Tim Hortons during the time of her disappearance.
According to Cattle, detectives checked every adult entertainment club in Niagara Falls. “No one had seen a girl matching Sheryl’s description,” he said.
Cattle recounted how police went to the apartment Sheppard shared with her mom. They became concerned with what they found. “All of Sheryl’s clothing was still in the apartment,” he said. “Her wallet was still there. It was as if she left with nothing.”
Police made other concerning observations, Cattle said. “Bed sheets were missing from their bed. Glass was missing from a picture frame above their bed. Some broken glass was found in a box on the balcony and curtains in the living room appeared damaged.”
Hamilton police’s homicide unit is continuing to investigate the circumstances surrounding her disappearance.
Those with any information about Sheppard’s disappearance are asked to contact Det. Sgt. Jason Cattle by calling 905-546-2458 or Det. Trevor Bland at 905-546-4921.
To provide information anonymously, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or submit your anonymous tips at www.crimestoppershamilton.com.
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