Details of Disappearance Cheek was last seen at approximately 11:00 p.m. on December 2, 1993, when one of his business associates dropped him off at the Crescent Center on Poplar and Ridgeway Streets where his charcoal-gray 1987 Acura Legend was parked. Cheek was intoxicated at the time; he had just finished eating dinner at the Cooker restaurant across the street. He has never been heard from again.
Cheek's parents filed a missing persons report at 9:00 a.m. the next day. His suitcases were found unpacked at the home he'd just bought in the 6200 block of Heather Street in East Memphis, and towels his mother had placed on his bed prior to his trip had been moved. The garage door, which Cheek always kept shut, was left open. There was no sign of him at his residence. At 10:40 a.m. that day, his car was found abandoned in an industrial area at Crump Boulevard and Riverside Drive on the Delaware Street exit ramp, now called the Metal Museum exit. There were no signs of Cheek or any struggle near the car, and his loved ones cannot think of any reason why he would want to drive there. The location is near the Mississippi & Arkansas Bridge, which spans the Mississippi River.
Cheek is described as a driven, successful, talkative person. He has a bachelor's degree from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas and a Master's in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Chicago. At the time of his disappearance, he was the chief financial officer of The Cates Co., a Memphis real estate firm, which was about to go public. The deal had consumed the majority of his time for months; he worked 18-hour days. It would have pushed his salary up to $110,000 and given him $2 million in stock options.
Cheek took a three-day business trip to Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Portland, Oregon; and Denver, Colorado to work out the deal, but it was unexpectedly delayed due to questions by the Securities and Exchange Commission, and Cheek took a late-night flight back to Memphis. He told friends that he had not slept for three days. Later, the deal was completed and an audit of the business found no evidence of wrongdoing on Cheek's part, but because he was missing he was never given the financial rewards he expected.
Investigators are not sure what happened to Cheek. Authorities initially believed he took his own life by jumping into the Mississippi River, but an extensive search of the river did not reveal his body and his loved ones do not believe he would have committed suicide. One theory is that he developed a mental disorder due to the stress of his job and may not recall his identity. Cheek had no history of mental illness prior to his 1993 disappearance. There were numerous reported sightings of him throughout the southern United States in the months after he went missing, but none of the accounts could be confirmed. His case remains unsolved and his loved ones have never stopped looking for him.
- Memphis Police Department
Updated 3 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated October 28, 2008; picture and date of birth added, distinguishing characteristics updated.