Sheryl Denise Taylor disappeared from Picher on July 20, 1978. She was twelve years old.

The day Sheryl went missing, she had left her Picher home on foot, walking to a nearby grocery store that was about four blocks from her family’s home. She was barefoot when she left to go to the store, and was last seen either right in front of the store, or just across the street from it at approximately 7:15 to 7:30 pm.

The family was new to the area, having relocated there from Nowata County. Reports are that Sheryl was very upset about the move and prone to anger about it. Sheryl had supposedly told friends that she had been planning on running away, leading authorities to believe she might have left of her own accord. However, after making contact with her older sister in Kansas, and realizing that Sheryl hadn’t been seen by either her or her husband, they started to believe that Sheryl had not left of her own accord.

At the time, Sheryl was the third in a line of females who had gone missing from Picher, sending the small mining community into a tailspin. In June 1977, thirteen year old Julia Miller went missing after walking to a local convenience store in Picher to get ice cream. Then in August 1977, twenty-three year old Ellen Rowden went missing after being seen in a Picher bar with three other people. Both Ellen and Julia’s remains would be found in close proximity to each other in April 1978. They were found just across the border in Treece, Kansas. They had both been bound to trees.

Rumors about Sheryl’s disappearance would abound. Authorities ran down each one, even the most outrageous, such as that Sheryl had been taken by a satanic cult and skinned alive. Her family moved from the Picher area within days of her disappearance, and a cold case investigator says that authorities couldn’t connect her disappearance to their leaving, stating that it just might have been too much for them to stay in the area and be reminded of the fact that she was gone.

One suspect has risen above all others in all three of these cases- Karl Lee Myers. Myers was put on trial for Ellen’s murder, but was acquitted. He had lived with Julia’s mother prior to her disappearance and murder, but was never charged in her death. In 1979, Myers was convicted in Ottawa County of sexual assault and served six years before being released. In March 1998, Myers would be convicted of the murders of two Tulsa area women. He died in prison in 2012.

No one has ever been charged in Sheryl’s case, and to date she has not been found.

If you have any information regarding the disappearance of Sheryl Denise Taylor, please contact the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department at 918-542-2806.

*Sheryl’s case HAS been submitted to NAMUS, but as of this posting she has not yet been publicly uploaded.

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