I started listening to Someone Knows Something, (a Canadian true crime show about cold cases in Canada) last year when I became addicted to the podcast, Serial. After that crazy ride and binge listening, I needed another podcast to quiet the withdrawals. I am a huge fan of mysteries…fiction or true crime…and the need to see justice and “closure” fulfilled. Cold cases have always stayed with me. The idea that someone is murdered or missing and many decades later the case is still unsolved – tortures my mind. I worry about what the victim that went through that horror, and those still missing, will they ever be found? I am scared for the family that they will never have some sense of closure. They won’t see the murderer be punished or even identified. The thing that scares me most is someone vanishing in thin air. The sense of how does one person vanish? Why are they gone and where does one hide a body that no one can find?
The first season of Someone Knows Something (SKS) was interesting as much as heartbreaking. Yet, for me there was something that didn’t connect with the show entirely. I felt for the family but they still didn’t seem real. I listened to the show, but I could stop whenever and wasn’t really running to listen to more. Then, last week I heard that Serial and American Life were doing a new podcast called S-Town. I didn’t want to start S-Town as I wanted to finish some audio books, and have a life. I really have no self-control when it comes to mysteries and I was trying to be good. I saw that SKS had a new season so I decided I would listen to it since I could pace myself with this one.
Three days later…I am finishing the last episode in SKS. Sigh. David Ridgen, you really got me with this one! As soon as I was halfway into episode one I knew I was in trouble. The case of Sheryl Sheppard is a haunting and perplexing case. First, the suffering that Odette, her mother, goes through every day just breaks my heart. I want this case to be solved so badly for this woman. And, Sheryl, herself…well, I just want to rescue her in some way. These two women were so close, that it reminded me of my mom and I. The thought that my mom would have to live with the same thoughts as Odette…well, for me there is nothing worse. There are things said about Sheryl – good and bad – but I can’t help but question where the bad comments are coming from, and who or what is influencing these words.
Sheryl in the late 1990s lived with her mother, and most times her boyfriend, Mike would be staying with them there. While her mom went to visit her sister, Sheryl vanishes. She was last seen on TV at a New Years bash. Mike proposes to her live on air, which in my opinion is the most awkward thing I have ever seen. He clearly wants to possess her, and she looks horrified that this is happening, but out of politeness says yes. When asked, Mike says the last place he had seen her was when he dropped her off in the alleyway of a place she dances in. Yes, Sheryl at one time was an exotic dancer, but she was now working at Tim Horton’s. A job she liked. Mike also tells different stories to different people, so the truth is really still unknown.
David is one of those journalists that are tenacious but also respectful. He tries to uncover the truth but knows that there is so much you can do to get that truth. I love the relationship between him and Odette. He seems to give her a bit of peace, and in turn makes him dig harder. I will admit I hate Mike Lavoie and think he murdered Sheryl. He was jealous, possessive and abusive. I don’t see him dropping his girlfriend off at a strip club on her own. He barely let her talk to other men. He used to stalk her at work to see who she conversed with. He hasn’t really given his side of the story, and I feel like that is due to his fear of revealing his crime. I feel bad for his mother as she loves him so much she is really blinded to the truth. The things she says about Sheryl are nasty and hostile. It seems more like a case of sour grapes than her actual feelings. It seems like she once really liked her. She is even blind to her ex-daughter-in-law and granddaughter’s feelings. They think Mike has done something to
Sheryl, and they can only say good things about her. In fact, most people have great things to say about her She seems like a really sweet person that anyone would want to be friends with her. Yes, she was a stripper. Yes, she committed crimes with Mike. But she was trying to clean up her life and be the person she deserved to be. In abuse cases, many women get killed at the moment when the woman decides to leave. I think the proposal gave Sheryl the push she needed to end things with Mike. And, it was at that moment of honesty and bravery that she lost her life.
If you have not listened to this case…YOU NEED TO LISTEN!!! I think CBC and David Ridgen do a wonderful job in making Sheryl’s case known. I really hope law enforcement in Hamilton, ON do not give up on Sheryl. I hope one day Mike can tell Odette where she is buried. There is currently a petition for the case to be reexamined. I hope you will sign it. This is a cold case that can be solved.