It seemed like a normal day for Dr. Cherryl Lamont Pearson on January 4, 2002. It was just a few days into the new year when the 37-year-old attended a Memphis Grizzlies game in Memphis, Tennessee. As a season ticket holder, the pediatrician attended the basketball game at the Pyramid Arena alone. She left the venue around 10:30 p.m. and afterward it’s reported that Cherryl went to her home in the city of Bartlett where she spent time with one of her friends, Andrea Fox.
“Any time I see a missing person’s report, I relive that night,” Cherryl’s friend Andrea told NBC News. “Just wondering where could she be. What happened that night?” Andrea stated that there was nothing abnormal about Cherryl’s behavior that evening. “She did mention that her sister was going to work early the next morning and was going to drop off the kids. She loved those children and she spent a lot of time with them. She was excited to see them the next morning.”
Around 1:00 a.m., Andrea left Cherryl’s home. She’s never seen or heard from her friend again.
The following morning, Cherryl’s sister arrived at Cherryl’s house with her children in tow. Cherryl Lamont Pearson was set to babysit, but the worried sister saw that Cherryl, nor Cherryl’s car, were there. Because Cherryl is a severe diabetic, there were concerns that she had a medical emergency and may have had a car accident, so, her family called the police for help. Cherryl’s family, friends, and colleagues passed out fliers in their local community and beyond. Soon, police checked Cherryl’s phone records and noticed something odd.
At 1:58 a.m., about an hour after Andrea Fox left Cherryl’s house, the missing woman received a phone call from a payphone located at a convenience store not far from Cherryl’s home. It seemed that Cherryl Lamont Pearson was home when she answered the call—a call that only lasted for five seconds.
Detective Ken Lee said that when they searched Cherryl’s house, they found her mobile phone and her pager sitting on her table. “And incidentally, she was on call that evening. And so she would have those with her,” he added. There were reportedly no signs of a struggle in Cherryl’s home, but that didn’t rule out the possibility that she could have been taken by force.
Days later, investigators reportedly discovered the car belonging to Cherryl Lamont Pearson at a nearby apartment complex. Her keys, $140 in cash inside of an envelope, and her medical bag that contained her personal belongings were found locked inside of the trunk. That led police to believe that nothing was stolen and Cherryl may have been the victim of foul play.
Even more puzzling was that the car had been cleaned to perfection. It had been detailed so thoroughly that no fingerprints were found inside or out—not even those belonging to Cherryl Lamont Pearson.
As expected, anyone who came in contact with Cherryl was questioned, including her brother-in-law Chuck Hildreth.
“She has a brother-in-law that has a criminal history of bank robbery,” said Bartlett police inspector Steven Johnson. “He’s been interviewed and we’ve taken statements from him… There are certain inconsistencies that are not explainable.” Additionally, Cherryl Lamont Pearson named her sister as her beneficiary to an insurance policy worth $150,000—the same sister married to the brother-in-law in question. Hildreth reportedly has an alibi for the time Cherryl went missing and there is no evidence linking him to her disappearance.
Police have not named Chuck Hildreth as a suspect and it’s reported that he has denied any involvement in her disappearance. NBC News further reports that when speaking about Hildreth with Cherryl’s parents, they stated they don’t believe he’s involved with their daughter’s disappearance. Her parents, Leon and Hazel Pearson, also shared in 2006 that they didn’t believe their daughter was alive. In 2009, Leon Pearson passed away. That same year, Cherryl was declared legally dead.
Dr. Cherryl Pearson’s parents have contributed to a $41,000 dollar reward fund, hoping someone will come forward with information about what happened to her. The number for that hotline is 901-382-MONY (6669).
At the time of her disappearance, Cherryl Lamont Pearson stood 5 feet 6 inches to 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighed 160 pounds. She had black/dark brown hair and brown eyes. Cherryl reportedly has a long birthmark (dark in color) on the side of her face. She has a distinctive sixth finger on each of her hands and both of her ears are pierced. Cherryl also required insulin for her type 1 diabetes, but her insulin pump was left behind at her home. Cherryl would be 55-years-old at the time of this publication.
Anyone with information regarding this case is urged to contact the Bartlett Police Department at 901-385-5558 or their local authorities.
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