Peter Lian

Lian, circa 2018; Willow Cherry

  • Missing Since 02/16/2018
  • Missing From Lexington, Kentucky
  • Classification Endangered Missing
  • Age 35 years old
  • Height and Weight 5'5 - 5'7, 125 - 135 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics Asian male. Brown hair, brown eyes.

Details of Disappearance

Peter was last seen in Lexington, Kentucky on February 16, 2018. His wife, Birdie Eaton, went to the police on February 19 and said she hadn't seen her husband in three days and that the last time she saw him, at their apartment on Locust Hill, he had gotten into an argument with her brother, Willow Bruce Cherry, and Cherry was "on top of him beating him."

Birdie said she became frightened and left the apartment with her three-year-old daughter and her sister-in-law, Misty Cherry, and they went to the apartment complex pool. She returned to the apartment about fifty minutes later, but didn't go into Peter's room. Eaton said the door to the bedroom was closed and she could hear Peter groaning and asking for help.

She left the apartment again and went back to the pool, and spoke to Misty, who asked her not to call the police because Willow had an outstanding warrant for his arrest. Birdie went back to the apartment, and Peter's bedroom door was still closed. Willow was there. He told her Peter had left, and asked her not go to into the bedroom. She didn't go in or question him further because she was scared.

Birdie went to sleep in another room, and when she woke up, she finally went into Peter's room and saw blood on the carpet. She went to her father's house, and after not hearing from her husband for days, she contacted the police.

Based on Birdie's statement, the police got a warrant to search the apartment. They found blood under the carpet in Peter's bedroom, as well as blood-saturated clothing and washcloths. There was a lot more blood under the carpet than on top of it, indicating someone had tried to clean up.

Willow's stepfather, Whitney Eaton, said he saw Peter's Ford Explorer in Willow's driveway and asked him about it, and Willow said Peter had given it to him. He asked Whitney to help him clean some blood from the vehicle, but Whitney refused. Willow later told him, "Peter just wouldn't stop fighting." Whitney noted that Willow had Peter's cellular phone as well as his vehicle. When police searched the Ford Explorer, they found a large amount of blood in the back storage section.

A photo of Willow is posted with this case summary. He was indicted on a charge of evidence tampering in August 2018, and in September, he was charged with Peter's murder. He stated he did not kill his brother-in-law but remembers little about the night in question, including what he and Peter were arguing about or how the fight ended. He claims he was drunk that night and suffers from mental problems.

Peter's case is not the only disappearance Willow is associated with; in 1994, his girlfriend, Elizabeth Acton, disappeared from Virginia and was never found. Willow hasn't been named as a suspect in her case, but Acton's co-workers stated she was afraid for her life and told them that if anything happened to her, the police should look at Cherry.

Peter's body not been located. Willow is awaiting trial in his case. Foul play is suspected due to the circumstances involved.

Investigating Agency

  • Lexington Police Department 859-258-3600

Updated 1 time since October 12, 2004. Last updated May 11, 2019; casefile added.