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Please help Culpeper to solve this brutal crime

December 28, 2012 12:10 am

AS WE reach the seven-year anniversary of a brutal crime that shocked our community, the Culpeper County Sheriff's Office and the Culpeper County Commonwealth's Attorney's Office continue to seek the public's assistance with our investigation into the murder of Sheryl Warner. Sheryl was a resident of the Reva area of Culpeper County. We remain absolutely committed to solving this crime.

Our pursuit of new leads and the re-examination of existing evidence with the latest technology have led to the recent discovery of a key piece of scientific evidence that could potentially identify a person at the crime scene on the night of the murder. Conversely, this same evidence could also enable us to exclude innocent parties from the suspect pool. This has been a tremendous breakthrough for us.

The facts of this case are that on Sunday, Dec. 18, 2005, at around 6:30 p.m., 37-year-old Sheryl "Sherri" Warner was alone in her home at 8445 James Monroe Highway (U.S. 29 south in Culpeper County--about three miles before the Madison County line). She was on the telephone with her father, John Embrey, discussing the Washington Redskins' recent win against the Dallas Cowboys. This phone call was interrupted when a male knocked on her front door, reported that his car had broken down, and asked to use her phone to call for assistance. His conversation suggested he was not alone. Sheryl Warner hung up the phone and was never heard from again.

Alerted by Sherri's family, responding fire and law enforcement personnel discovered her home set on fire and her bound, hanging and lifeless body in the basement. The cause of her death was a gunshot wound to her head. Her murder robbed her family of a beloved daughter and sister. Most tragic was that Sherri's three children--ages 8, 10, and 13, lost their mother that night--a week before Christmas.

Some eyewitnesses reported a suspicious vehicle in the vicinity of Sherri's home that night. It may be the case that someone encountered the killer around the time of the crime and thought his behavior odd or frightening. Someone may have heard what was considered an unusual conversation about the murder. We are asking anyone with any information about the events of that night--even if you think it has already been reported--to contact us.

The person who murdered Sherri brought a lot of violence to the crime scene and his behavior suggests a degree of criminal versatility. He was able to con his way into her home, spend time there, brutally kill her, and then escape. It is likely that this person was no stranger to violence and criminality, traits that would be reflected in his arrest history or behavior with others in his life. The killer possesses an ability to move to explosive violence and then recover. Those close to the killer, especially females, may have been the victims of violent outbursts.

It is presumed that the killer was not alone that night, and we want to speak to the second person. We are offering this other person the chance to come clean; remove this burden and fear from his conscience and mind, remove himself from harm's way and help us to end the killer's victimization of others. We understand he may be afraid of the killer; we can protect him. We understand the killer may fear that his involvement that night could expose him to punishment. His coming forward will go a long way in positively determining his future life. No one should live in fear or danger from this killer. No children should ever have to lose a mother at this killer's hand again.

If anyone has any information that might be related to this crime, please contact us via any of the following means: telephone at 540/727-7523 or 540/727-3441; email at FLucas@culpeper or
Email:; or at the Culpeper County Sheriff's Office, 110 W. Cameron St., Culpeper, Va. 22701.

Regardless of how insignificant one thinks his information might be--or even if one thinks we are already aware of the information--please let us assess the relevance of the tip.

There is a reward for information leading to the arrest of Sherri's killer.

Scott Jenkins is the sheriff of Culpeper County.

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