Christopher Lerch

Christopher, circa 1982; William Wickline

  • Missing Since 08/14/1982
  • Missing From Columbus, Ohio
  • Classification Endangered Missing
  • Date of Birth 08/24/1953 (65)
  • Age 28 years old
  • Height and Weight Unknown
  • Distinguishing Characteristics Caucasian male. Blond hair. Christopher's nickname is Chris.

Details of Disappearance

Christopher was last seen in Columbus, Ohio on August 14, 1982. He disappeared with his wife, Peggy, and neither of them have ever been heard from again.

William Dean Wickline Jr. was convicted of killing the Lerches in 1985. He was sentenced to life for Christopher's murder and death for Peggy's. He had been their friend, and they were last seen at his apartment, drinking heavily and using cocaine with him.

Wickline's girlfriend, Theresa Kemp, testified that Christopher and Wickline got into an argument over a $6,000 drug debt Christopher owed to Wickline. Wickline slit Christopher's throat, then strangled Peggy, who was sleeping. Kemp stated the bodies were dismembered and put in trash bins all over the city. No body parts were discovered, but authorities found blood in Wickline's bathtub and human tissue adhering to his folding saw.

A photograph of Wickine is posted with this case summary. He was also indicted for an unrelated murder which occured in 1979, but never tried because he was already on death row. He maintained his innocence in the Lerches' cases and was executed in 2004. Christopher and Peggy's remains have never been found.

Investigating Agency

  • Columbus Police Department 614-645-4670

Updated 1 time since October 12, 2004. Last updated April 20, 2006; casefile added.