Details of Disappearance
Sher left her job in the finance department at the Lahey Clinic in Burlington, Massachusetts early on October 14, 2002. She said she didn't feel well. For the next two days, she called in sick. At 10:00 a.m. on October 17, her husband, Robert Desmond, telephoned Sher's boss and said she would not be able to report to work again. The day after that, Desmond contacted Sher's employer again, asking for her email address; he stated Sher wanted to send her boss an email but was "unable to do it herself." A few minutes later Sher's boss got an email from Desmond with an attached resignation letter from Sher. She never collected her last paychecks.
Sher's boss became concerned about the situation and contacted police, who spoke to Desmond. He said his wife had left him voluntarily and under "amicable" circumstances on October 18, four days after she was last seen at work. He said he dropped her off at the Alwife train station in Cambridge, Massachusetts at noon and never saw her again. As there was no evidence that Desmond's story was untrue or that any harm had come to Sher, no further investigative action was taken at that time.
Sher was estranged from most of her family at the time of her disappearance. They stated she began to have differences with them when she began dating Desmond in the early 1990s. Desmond allegedly made threatening telephone calls to Sher's relatives, and they got a restraining order in 1994 which forbade him to contact them. At the time of her disappearance, Sher was living with Desmond and their young son in Billerica, Massachusetts. Her family was unaware of her son's existence, as she had kept the child's birth a secret. She was not reported missing for eighteen months; her estranged relatives told the police of her disappearance after they hired a private detective to find her and the detective discovered that Desmond and Sher's son were living together without her. When investigators questioned Desmond again about his wife's disappearance, he repeated that she had left voluntarily and he assumed she was fine.
Authorities do not believe Sher disappeared of her own volition and are investigating her disappearance as a potential homicide. Sher's family and co-workers stated that Desmond has a violent temper and severely abused her physically and emotionally, and she had to keep Desmond constantly informed of her whereabouts. She had been very close to her family before becoming involved with Desmond. He has not been charged in connection with his wife's disappearance, however, and continues to maintain that she simply left him.
Sher's driver's license lapsed after her disappearance and has not been renewed. Her 1994 Pontiac has also not been re-registered. Sher is a graduate of Brookline High School and the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor; she has a degree in engineering and hospital maintenance. Desmond is her second husband; she divorced the first in 1990 after a two-year marriage. She was raised in a Jewish family, but Desmond is a Christian. Her loved ones do not believe she would have abandoned her son. Billerica police are investigating Sher's disappearance and foul play is suspected.