Cold Case Squad: Cleared Cases
Sherry Melissa Eyerly
On the evening of July 4, 1982, Sherry Eyerly was sent to deliver pizzas at a non-existent address near the Willamette River. Her delivery vehicle was subsequently located in the vicinity, and she has never been seen again.
On December 18, 2007, William Scott Smith pled guilty to Sherry Eyerly’s murder. His plea ended a two-year investigation by cold case investigators during which hundreds of leads were followed up, and hundreds of interviews were conducted.
Smith had previously been convicted of two Salem-area homicides and was in custody during this investigation. Initial investigators discounted Smith’s involvement in Eyerly’s disappearance as a result of alibi information. However, a behavioral analysis of this case revealed many similarities between Eyerly’s disappearance and Smith’s other crimes. Cold case investigators set out to eliminate Smith as a suspect, but came across information that destroyed the 1982 alibi instead.
Follow-up interviews increasingly pointed investigators toward Smith, and during prison interviews, he admitted his involvement in Sherry‘s kidnapping and murder. During his 2007 court appearance, he was sentenced to an additional term of life imprisonment.
Edward Lee Jeffery
On December 22, 1986, Edward Jeffery was shot and killed as he returned home from his job as comptroller of Eoff Electric Supply Co. in Salem, Oregon. His vehicle was found about a half-mile from the site of the murder, the engine running and the headlights on. Jeffery's wife found his body lying on the driveway and reported the murder to the Marion County Sheriff's Office. Initial investigators developed several leads in the 1980s, but no arrest was made and no specific suspect in the shooting was developed. Eventually, investigative leads were exhausted, and the case went cold.
In the spring of 2007, investigators began a review of the Jeffery homicide case files. Pursuit of previously undeveloped leads resulted in the identification of several people who had not been contacted during the initial investigation. Cold Case Squad detectives presented investigative findings to a Grand Jury in early 2008; the Grand Jury returned an indictment for murder against Patrick Gordon McCreary of Redmond, Oregon. In February 2008, McCreary was arrested by Cold Case Squad investigators at his place of employment in Bend, Oregon.
January 2009 - After spending nearly one year in the Marion County Jail, Patrick McCreary changed his plea from "Not Guilty" to "Guilty" during a hearing. Reading to the court from a prepared statement, McCreary took responsibility for the murder, admitting his role as the trigger-man. On January 26, 2009, acting under the sentencing guidelines in place for crimes committed in 1986, Judge Hart sentenced Patrick McCreary to life in prison with a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years. Within days of his sentencing, McCreary was delivered into the custody of the Oregon Department of Corrections, where he remains today
During the fall of 2012, skeletal remains were discovered on forest land adjacent to Niagara Heights Rd. east of Gates, OR. Investigators have determined that the remains were those of Maribel Gutierrez-Salinas.
Information indicates that Maribel Gutierrez-Salinas disappeared in February 2011. Before her disappearance, she was residing in Tualatin, OR with her husband, Gustavo Villanueva. Maribel was employed at the Agave Grill in the Bridgeport Plaza, Tigard, OR. Following her disappearance, in April 2011, Gustavo Villanueva returned to Mexico.
A Marion County Grand Jury indicted Gustavo Villanueva for the death of Maribel and he was arrested in Laredo, TX on August 26, 2013.
February 2015 - Gustavo Villanueva was convicted of first degree manslaughter in Marion County Circuit Court. He was sentenced to 180 months confinement. Family members of Maribel Gutierrez-Salinas traveled from Mexico to be present and testified during the sentencing. The District Attorney facilitated travel arrangements.
Christopher Lei Scott
On the morning of March 9, 1983, Christopher Lei Scott, age 2 1/2, was left in a vehicle when his father went into a north Salem business. When the father returned a few minutes later, he found his son unconscious. All efforts to resuscitate the child failed. Due, in part, to suspicious marks on the child's throat, the death was ruled a homicide by apparent ligature strangulation.
In the Spring of 2008, the Cold Case Squad, initiated an extensive review and re-investigation of this case. This review included further analysis of the suspicious marks on the child's throat; formulation of a detailed time line for the events relating to the death and correlation and clarification of all witness statements. Upon completion of this process, the findings were presented to the Oregon State Medical Examiner.
The Oregon State Medical Examiner subsequently concluded that the evidence clearly indicated that Christopher Lei Scott actually died from accidental asphyxiation caused when the hooded coat he was wearing became entangled on a lever in the vehicle. The Medical Examiner subsequently amended the official death certificate to reflect the cause of death to be accidental asphyxiation instead of homicide by strangulation.
Upon receipt of the amended death certificate, the cold case investigation was designated as cleared.