It’s near impossible for me as a reporter not to have feelings about the people I cover.
I met Cheryl Williams in the summer of 2016. And what a hot summer it was in Tallahassee, Florida. It had been 16 years since her son Mike Williams had disappeared during a duck hunting trip in December 2000. The case was cold, cold as the gators in Seminole Lake, where authorities said Mike fell in, died and was likely eaten by alligators.
Ridiculous, huh? I sure thought so. Miss Cheryl never bought it and she forged a one woman war against all odds to be heard and get her son’s “missing persons” case turned into a criminal investigation.
Some cops, okay many cops, laughed at this little lady ( yes she’s a petite gal) with a squeaky voice and white pigtails. I did not. Before me was a passionate mother in pain, searching for her boy and determined to find him, and, what happened to him. Lots of people have called her crazy, and she was sane enough to take a mental note of each one of them.
Which brings me to me. When I sat down to interview Miss Cheryl for Crime Watch Daily, the TV show I worked for, I knew she wasn’t crazy. But more importantly, SHE knew, I knew. And so, we clicked. She trusted me. In these times of unscrupulous reporters who don’t give a crap about the people they report about, that was a very big deal.
I promised Miss Cheryl what I promise all the victims of crime I do stories on: I will do my best to get you answers. In this case, that meant knocking on doors and chasing down the people most likely to have those answers: the woman married to Mike when he disappeared and Mike’s best fiend. The two people closest to Mike, who ended up marrying eachother after he was out of the picture.
Guess my snooping around upset the apple cart just enough to unhinge Brian Winchester, Mike’s best friend and husband to Mike’s widow, Denise. Just a few weeks aftet my knock knock, Brian Winchester kidnapped his estranged wife Denise. Brian said Denise wouldn’t talk to him, and kidnapping Denise was the only way to get her to hear him out.
That kidnapping was the beginning of the end for Brain and Denise. Brain has admitted to killing Mike Williams, and he claims Denise was his accomplice. Brain has immunity from murder charges in-exchange for implicating Denise and leading police to Mike’s body. At the time of this post, Denise Williams is on trial for murder. Denise claims she knew nothing of Brian’s plan and she would have never married him if she did.
This blog is about the journey to get answers and justice.