http://www.wreg.com/Global/story.asp?S=5632081Dr. Cherryl Pearson's "cold case" isn't cold
By Michelle Ponto
BARTLETT -- Imagine your daughter, sister or wife vanishing into thin air. The family of Dr. Cherryl Pearson has lived through that horror for almost five years. The 37-year old pediatrician from Bartlett hasn't been heard from since 2002 when she left a Memphis Grizzlies game.
A lot of time has lapsed, but police say it's far from a cold case. In fact, News Channel 3 has learned police are pursuing a lead right now and they are determined to find the woman who seems to have disappeared "without a trace."
If walls could talk maybe they could provide some answers about what went on inside this Bartlett home on the night of January 4th, 2002 --answers that an anguished father longs for.
"I wake up at night and see things on tv, read stories in the paper. They just bring back memories of her," says Leon Pearson, Cherryl Pearson's father.
What happened that night:
Pearson attended a Grizzlies game at the Memphis Pyramid the night of January 4, 2002. After she returned home, two female friends dropped by and left around midnight. Police say a phone call came later that night.
"We don't know if it was a hang up call just to check and see if she was home. Don't know if it was a phone call where she knew the caller," says Inspector Steven Johnson, Bartlett Police Department.
What the police do know is that the call came from a phone booth at a Citgo station near Pearson's home, but they can't confirm whether or not that call made Pearson leave her home.
Days later, Pearson's missing car was found in an apartment complex near her home. In the trunk was her medical bag, with keys money and other personal items, but the car was completely wiped down. There were no fingerprints.
"It was almost like it was cleaned up by somebody. We don't think they would have been that clean with ordinary use," says Johnson.
Johnson says there was evidence that Pearson did not leave her home of her own free will and met with foulplay. Not only did she leave her pager behind --something she always carried with her as a doctor, she also left her insulin behind. Pearson was a diabetic and would never go extended trips without her medication.
Pearson had a $150,000 dollar life insurance policy with her sister as the beneficiary. Her brother-in-law has a criminal background and he is married to the sister, but police won't comment on whether or not he's a suspect.
Pearson's family doesn't believe any other family member is involved, but they know someone out there is.
"Anytime anybody is missing somebody has to know something. People don't just walk off," says Hazel Pearson, the victim's mother.
What police are doing:
Police are hoping for a definitive lead to take them in the right direction and and lead to answers about this Bartlett woman that seems to have disappeared without a trace. In the meantime they have ensured that Pearson's DNA is part of a national database and if an unidentified body shows up, they contact the medical examiner to see if it's a match.
While a lot of time has passed, both police and Pearson's family remain hopeful that she may still be alive.
Reward and information
The reward for information in Dr. Pearson's disappearance was recently increased to $41,000.
Contact bartlett police at (901) 385-5558 if you have any information.