Sheryl Denise Taylor

Sheryl, circa 1978

  • Missing Since 07/20/1978
  • Missing From Picher, Oklahoma
  • Classification Endangered Missing
  • Sex Female
  • Race White
  • Age 12 years old
  • Height and Weight 4'0, 60 pounds
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description A sweatshirt, yellow shorts and no shoes or socks.
  • Distinguishing Characteristics Caucasian female. Red hair, hazel eyes. Sheryl is supposed to wear a patch over one eye, but she often takes it off.

Details of Disappearance

Sheryl was last seen in Picher, Oklahoma between 7:15 and 7:30 p.m. on July 20, 1978. She was standing across the street from a grocery store, in front of a gate to a fenced-in four-block area which had been condemned in the 1950s. Her mother sent her to the store to buy some things, but Sheryl never returned home and it's unclear whether she actually went inside the store. She has never been heard from again.

She and her family had recently moved to Picher from Nowata County, Oklahoma. Sheryl reportedly disliked it in Picher. Just days after her disappearance, her family moved away again. Sheryl's teachers stated she had a temper and was in need of guidance. She had talked to friends about possibly running away with a local man, described as a "junk dealer."

Authorities initially thought Sheryl might have run away from home to go stay with her sister, who was married and lived in Galena, Kansas. Sheryl's sister was on a trip when Sheryl disappeared and authorities were initially unable to locate her. When they found her, she and her husband said they hadn't seen or heard from Sheryl.

Karl Myers, a suspected serial killer, is a suspect in Sheryl's disappearance. He had a criminal record dating back to 1965 and a history of attacking and sexually assaulting girls Sheryl's age.

In 1978, he was charged with the murder of Ellen Deann Rowden, who disappeared in 1977. Her skeletal remains were found tied in a tree in 1978; she had been beaten to death. Myers was acquitted in this case, but later convicted of killing two other women and sentenced to death. He died in prison in 2012. It's unclear whether he was involved in Sheryl's case.

Although it's possible Sheryl ran away from home, it would be very unusual for a runaway to drop out of sight without a trace for this long. Foul play is suspected in her case, which remains unsolved.

Investigating Agency

  • Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department

Updated 1 time since October 12, 2004. Last updated January 19, 2023; casefile added.