Sherri and Megan
POS Robert Eugene Brashers
The Information Dump (tumblr.com) (forensics magazine article)
Help Find the MurdererS of Geneva Phelps Hastings - Facebook Page
This week we are in Portageville, MO, which actually straddles New Madrid county and Pemiscot County. The New Madrid Sheriff's Department is going to end up working the case.
Portageville is what we would call a small small town. It’s only 2 miles an area, and the population has hovered around 3k people since the 1970s. There were only about 20,000 people in the county, New Madrid County, in the 90s. And violent crime was next to nothing. This is a small quiet town for the farmlands where people take care of each other. And there’s really nothing and no one notable that comes out of this tiny town except for the Scherer murders.
So we are going to zoom in on the Scherer family. The matriarch is Sherri Ann Walker born August 18 1959 and she’ll be 38yo when she was killed. She is married to a local farmer, Tony Scherer, and thy have two kids: Son Steven born 1983 and then his baby sister, Megan Elizabeth born on oct 2, 1985.
Steven tells us that Megan was a very dedicated student and was so driven that getting anything but As in school would make her upset. We also know she was basketball star in her school. She had just won a speech and debate contest the Friday right before she was killed. Mom Sherri was outgoing and didn’t shy away from what she felt.
Now here we are on Saturday, March 28, 1998. Father and son go to work on the family farm. It’s been in Earl’s family since at least his childhood, and now he and his own son work the land. At this time, cell phones are starting to come around and the Scherer’s do have a cell. So at about 6:20pm, Steven calls home, they are on their way home but there is a tractor trailer trying to turn around on the highway and they’re stuck in traffic. Then about 20min later, Tony calls home again to give Sherri and update on their ETA, but gets no answer. So Tony and Steve figure maybe the girls left to pick up a pizza for dinner or something.
Father and son finally arrive home after a long day at the fields at about 7pm, and Ddad notices the car in the garage isn't warm after all, so the girls didn't leave the house after all. Hmm. Once inside, Tony is checking the mail and Steve walks further into the house. This poor kid. He finds Sherri and Megan… lying on the living room floor. They had both been shot. Both were bound and gagged. Sherri was on her stomach in front of the couch, shot in the back of the head. Megan had also been shot. And she was posed in a way that made it obvious she had been raped. OMG that's just horrific. This poor 15yo kid… he screams for dad, dad comes in, sees the girls, and of course, calls the police.
Portageville Police Chief Ronnie Adams will comment on the living room that day: "I've been a police officer over 40 years. And that scene right there affected me more than any scene I ever been at.”
Highway Patrol Investigator, Don Windham, said of the scene, that Megan “was in a, what was really the horrific part of this, not only was she assaulted and shot and….just horribly ….she was posed like he wanted to show what he had done. I can tell you that he brought some items to help him control the victims. And I have evidence that I believe will show that he also took those items back with him.”
Sherri was shot three times in the back of her head. There was no semen found but police did find a mark on Megan that they thought included some kind of DNA from the killer. So they took a swab from it - and this is going to be the key to solving the case years later.
Aside from that, they could find no other evidence that would lead them to the suspect. And in 1998, they can’t really do anything with it because it wasn’t semen or blood. It was actually saliva. But thank God, they knew enough to hang onto the swab collected from Megan’s body to go back to it once technology evolved enough.
As far as the evidence police have to work with, aside from the saliva, Megan also fought back and she fought hard. Hair of the killer were found in her hand. his hair in her hand. The working theory is going to be that once whoever this was got inside - and they didn't find any signs of forced entry - he had them put the family dog away, and bound and gagged them. Then he got Sherri on her belly on the floor, and then shot her in the back of the head. Then he turned his attention to Megan.
Now before the day is up, police link this crime to another one, about a 45min drive from Portageville, across the state line in TN. A few hours after leaving the Scherer home, over in Dyersburg, a young mother and her kids had just gotten home from grocery shipping. It’s especially warm out tonight and she's got the front door open to the trailer they live in. Then this guy walks up to the door, and knocks, and tells her he is looking for his friend Jeremy Taylor but is lost and can't find the street he lives on. This woman is suspicious right off the bat and tries to figure out a way to get rid of him. She picks up the phone to call a neighbor to ask about this taylor guy, but the phone wasn't working. WHY ISNT IT WORKING? She lies and pretends she is talking to someone on the other end. When she gets off the phone, she tells him to go next door because they can help him. At that point, the man pulls his shirt up at the waist and pulls out a gun, telling her, “let’s take it inside.” This lady is a badass - instead of backing in the trailer again, she actually reaches for the gun to take it from him! While they are struggling over it, she is getting backed into the trailer. And then yells out to one of the kids to get the shotgun from the living room!! But before the kid brings it in, the man is able to break free from the mom, and decides to escape. The gun goes off tho, and she gets shot in the shoulder in the process. Badass!!
She gave a composite description. We are looking for a white male, between 30-50 years old, smaller frame and slender. He’s medium length brown but greying hair, and a moustache.
Police link the two by comparing bullets. DNA was unable to be put in CODIS because the testing was not as concise in 1998. Police did get the case on America’s Most Wanted.
Steve says, "After everything happened, everybody told me that I had to be strong for Brother my dad," Steven said. "So, that's what I did." Sadly, Sherri’s mom Francis died in Nov 1998, just 8 months after her daughter and granddaughter were murdered. She was 73 when she passed. Sherri’s dad Earl, would pass away in 2003, never knowing who it was that took Sherri and Megan away from the family.
In 2006, DNA analysis getting more concise, police decided to try CODIS again. No hits on a suspect, but there was an alert on another victim, this time in Greenville SC. And I'll give you 1 guess as to the victim’s gender and the motive. Yup - this victim is another female, with another sexual assault… Genevieve Zitricki.
Who was Genevieve Zitricki? She was 28 when she was killed. She was recently divorced and living alone in an apartment at the Hidden Lake Apartment complex in Greenville. Her brother Phil remembers her fondly, telling us, “She was a force of nature, firecracker, a bundle of infectious energy. An intelligent, vibrant and caring human being.”
On the night of April 6, 1990, she got ready for bed and tucked herself in. Sometime in the night, her killer sneaks into the apartment through the sliding glass door. He’s carrying a hammer, and he’s creeping through her house, and ultimately finds her, fast asleep in her bedroom.
He doesn’t wake her up though, he just dives in, attacking her, bludgeoning her with the hammer. When he decided she was beaten enough, he viciously raped her, strangled her to be sure she was dead, then dragged her to the bathroom, leaving her in the bathtub, filled with water, and a pair of pantyhose around her neck. After that, he tossed the apartment, staging it to look like someone she knew had done it. He left a message on the dresser mirror in black magic marker: “Don’t fuck with my family.” Police say she never even woke up, she didn't have a chance. Genevieve wouldn’t be found for two days after she was killed. She didn’t show up for work, and when they called the apartment complex, a maintenance worker went to check on her and found her.
What is it with sex and violence that gets these fuckers so worked up? It’s just so mind-blowing to me that for most of us, we know violence is wrong. Inflicting violence on another person is the last on our minds as we go about our days. Well, except for the jerk that cuts us off in traffic I guess. Or the server who thinks when you say ”hold the sour cream,” for your nachos, you actually meant “more sour cream….. Yeah, just spread that shit all over please.” But aside from those two very specific examples, we’re all in agreement that everyone deserves to not be hit, right? ok .
But then we get these perpetrators, who think violence is a past time. Like, no one has to even do anything to piss them off. In fact, they prefer victims that they don't know. They are just looking for a body to pummel, and a hole to stick it in. Now, I know that I'm way over-generalizing here, I do. I get it. But that’s really what it boils down to: violent attackers - sadists - that enjoy ravaging and brutalizing other people. The thing that gets me with genevieve, is that she wasn’t even awake. Based on the autopsy, she was probably passed out the entire time. First, because she was asleep, and then, because the blows to her head kept her that way. So…. where’s the joy in committing this assault on a victim that doesn't even know you’re there? Like, some killers get off on seeing their victims in pain, or hearing them scream or cry, or physically fighting with them - that’s all part of the thrill. But here? He got none of that from Genevieve. What happened to this guy when he was a kid? Or was he just born this way? I guess when it comes to these stranger-on-stranger rapes and murders, there can be no sense to it, you know? Aside from the classic trope of “I hate women,” what else do we have to go on? It’s just some itch these people have to scratch? I’m no good without my morning coffee, and this guy needs to snuff out women’s lives. I digress.
Once police the cases were linked - the Scherer’s, the mom shot in the shoulder, and now Genevieve 8 years earlier and
"We had the FBI profilers that were coming in and looking at our case and looking at their case and explained to us the differences, which is that the Greenville homicide was probably one of his first. And the Portageville double homicide, he had educated himself and sharpened some of his skills."
So that was all discovered and worked in 2006. Then in May 2017, police got a CODIS alert when they logged in for the day. There is a new match! Unfortunately, it’s not for the suspect himself. It’s yet another victim…. And it’s another young lady… a 14 year old. On Tuesday, March 11, 1997 this same guy - and who the hell is this crazy piece of shit? - knocked on the door of house Memphis TN. We have four people in the house at the time. A woman, A 14 year old girl, and two others. The lady answers the door, we don't know exactly what was said, but he wanted to steal their car. Ultimately, he pulls out his gun, saying once again that they're going to “take it inside,” and forces himself inside the house. He put yellow dish gloves on, had duct tape to subdue everyone, and after attacking, and yes, raping the 14 year old, he flees. Thank god, he doesn’t kill anyone this time, but holy shit - four people in this house! All so he could get his hands on a 14 year old girl? So of course, the police interview everyone and they come up with a sketch. Remembering they know nothing about the other attacks by this same guy at the time, they are only going on these particular interviews. Later on, when he is found out, this survivor is going to tell us that the composite in the Dryerburg case was better than what came up with at her police department. In any case, I’ll post them all on the socials so you can compare them.
And this story from 1997 is very similar to the mom who got shot in the shoulder - trying to talk himself inside, using the phrase, “take it inside”.... In this case here in Memphis, he told them he was looking to steal the family car. They tried to shut the door on him but he forced himself into the house, and then attacked. So this is what we believed happened in Sherri and Megan’s case. But if you notice… all of these homes have pre-teen or teenage girls in them. So this guy is a real pedo. Genevieve was in her late 20s, but by the late 1990s, he was targeting girls much younger than adult women.
I have a question, tho… Why wasn't this Memphis rape’s profile in CODIS already? Well, as I'm sure many of us know, rapes were not investigated as aggressively decades ago like they are now. I’m not relly clear on how aggressive law enforcement is with hunting down the rapist we currently have wlakign the streets, but back in the 70s, 80, 90, and even after y2k, many of the rape reports either 1. Weren’t believed, 2. Had a victim that wasn’t “worthy” of justice, or 3. Well… at least you didn’t die. Sexual assault was treated more like a bad bar fight. So, even though police, in front of the cameras were shouting, “we’re gonna find our local rapist, “ they really didnt even bother sending the victims’ rape kits to even get tested. And nowadays, because CODIS is national, there's a good chance your unknown perp in Bozeman, MT might already be there because he was convicted of the same thing in Pocatello, ID. But you don’t know until you test it!
At this point though, and because unfortunately, rape statistics are not going down, there is a backlog of more than 200K unprocessed rape kits in the USA alone. And how disgusting is this, to know this happens… it is regularly acknowledged by police departments throughout the country that there are evidence storage lockers full of these rape kits waiting to be tested… but instead they are just tossed in the trash to make room for other stuff! GRRRR. But what is more important to solve than rapes and murders? I don't get it! But, I'm gonna calm down, for now.. We’ll discuss it more in our next serial rape case .
Let's get back to this POS investigation… Ok, so I made a map - yeah, i know, for these serial perpetrators, once I see a third or fourth location, I’m like, I need to see this visually. How many miles did this guy put in? So this map will be on the socials. All the towns, save for SC and FL, are all close to the border that separates Missouri and Tennessee, and really not far from his original hometown, in Arkansas.
Now for all this time, and especially once they get the Memphis victim in the loop, they’re thinking, this guy has to be a trucker or some other kind of transient. Someone who doesn’t live here. All of these locations are off highways, or even the interstate. But even with all the feelers they put out, if this guy isn’t a local, no one is gonna recognize him in the composite. So police got nothing to go on… not other ways to work what are now four unsolved - but definitely related - violent crimes.
And each of these times, when Megan’s evidence hits on a match in CODIS, Tony and Steven get their hopes up. Only to see a few months later, the police are still stuck. When you think about all the violence and all the destruction left behind in these crimes, and we’re seeing them in multiple times and places, how can this guy still not be found? We now have 3 different local and state police departments trying to find this guy.
And its not easy for the Sherer men. Steve says, it was just so bad the last time, he told his dad, listen i don’t think I can do this anymore. This is a rollercoaster ride, and I am not taking it. I don't want to hear from the police anymore until they call us with the guy's name.
But in 2017 Tennessee tells SC and MO, hey lets try that forensic genealogy they’ve been doing. And they were ok great, who’s going to send the DNA to Parabon? MO say, we can't do it. We have nothing left after all the testing. SC says, well, ours is pretty deteriorated, what does yours look like, TN? And TN says ours is actually pretty good still, so we’ll send our off. And that's what they do.
And this is where our family mapping comes in. Now, it seems the TN rape case, and the Sherri and Megan’s murder case in MO and Genevieve’s murder case in SC - seems all the agencies got together and present their appeal to Parabon at the same time. Tennessee LE paid for the Parabon testing and family research, and then SC paid for Brashers to be exhumed. The original genealogy report did name a suspect specifically. He is dead, he died in 1999, so instead of surveilling him, bc they can’t, police ask his family for DNA to verify they are in fact focusing on the right family. They do agree, and then police get a judge to sign off on getting this guys body exhumed. September 27, 2018 is the exhumation - how many cemetery workers are pulling extra hours for all these genealogy based DNA conformations, I wonder? Well, we get his suspect’s actual DNA profile done, and directly compare it to the profiles in CODIS.
Announcement: And on October 5, 2018, the New Madrid County Sheriff's Office announce that the man responsible for the 1998 murders of Sherri and Megan Scherer is Robert Eugene Brashers.
Who is Robert Eugene Brashers?? Who is this piece of shit?
Cece gives us the whole family map research on the Genetic Detective. I won’t go over it here, but definitely check it out. Cece interviews Deborah, Brashers daughter, and she tells us that she is happy her father was outed as the monster that he was.
We already know a lot about his crimes that were not solved until now, but what about what police knew about him throughout the years? Well, he was definitely a serial offender, if it wasn’t already obvious. He was born in Arkansas March 13, 1958. But by the time the 1990s came around, he was married and had three kids - all girls. Yup, you heard that right. We are told he was good to them, so there’s consolation, at least. We’ll hear from one of his daughters in a little bit but let’s get into his criminal history...
We need to go all the way back to November 1985. Brashers is working in construction, and does for pretty much all the 80's and 90s. And it's the kind of gig that will send him off to jobs out of town, making him mobile. So there you go. That's why we have all these different states. And this is straight from the old timey newspapers and it's terrifying:
Let’s start with the title of the article, out of the Miami Herald on 11/23/1985, Police: Woman is shot after sex argument. Which, uhhh, when we get to the details, we know they weren’t having a lovers tiff about sex, he was trying to rape her. We’ve also got Shot FP Woman Flees Attacker, and this is from The Palm Beach Post. They seemed to give different info, but both sets of facts are plausible, so I've done my best to marry them here, to come up with, what I hope, is the right set of facts… Also, all current news reports say this all happened on November 11, but all the articles back then say it happened on November 22, so it’s unclear. I’m thinking it was November 22, because of the reporting at that time. This was a Friday, the 11th was a Monday. But it is what it is….
Michelle Wilkerson, is 24 years old, and she’s out on this night, hanging out at a local bar in Fort Pierce, which is legit, right on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. Brashers and her meet, have a few drinks, things are going well, and they decide to leave the bar together in his pickup truck. Now it says they “consumed a 6 pack of Budweiser,” so I’m not sure if either of them were drunk, certainly not wasted. After she leaves the bar, she starts walking home. Brashers catches up to her in his pickup truck and offers her a ride… or, who knows what. Now this is 80s newspaper we’re going off of here, so we don’t really know if she got in the truck for some hanky panky, or if it was just a ride home she thought she was getting, or he legit snatched her off the street, but they end up driving about 4 miles west, away from the center of town and he parks the truck in a citrus grove. Things go south in the cab of the truck, they “argue about sex,” and wrestle over a gun Brashers pulls out. Michelle, yes another fierce woman, is stuck between fighting for the gun and trying to escape, and as she’s bolting from the truck, she shoots her not once, but twice, at close range. She got hit once in the neck, and once in her head. Luckily, she does manage to get out, and also luckily, after chasing her into the brush a bit, he gives up and decides he’s just going to take off.
So there's Michelle, shot and bleeding and quite possibly dying, and she needs to get help. This woman is incredible - She crawls her way into a culvert - you know, one of those big metal tubes we see by highways for water? Well, this one was less than 2 feet wide, and half full of mud, but she managed to come out the other side. Like in the Shawshank Redemption, only Michelle’s shot up and her culvert was tiny. What a badass this lady was, I could only be so determined, it’s crazy. Now on the other side, there’s no people, it’s late on a Friday night and she’s in some orchard farm. But she sees an outbuilding, like an office for the business. So she trudges her way over there, probably looking like a zombie, shot, full of mud, barely conscious, and calls police from the pay phone on the building. And while she’s waiting for the police - can you believe this? - she gets into a company truck there, and turns on the headlights, so they can find her easier when they get there! Incredible! By the time she gets found, she’s practically dead. She’s slumped against the wall, just about passed out. But thank god, they are able to get some details about her attacker from her on the way to the hospital. It’s such and such looking guy, driving a such and such pickup truck. There’s cigarettes on the dash, a red shirt in there, and there's some tree branches in the bed.
In the meantime, POS Brashers is driving away, and thinking, “shit, man, I need to get rid of this gun. When that girl is found, they’re gonna pull bullets from her.” So he drives himself to the shore, pulls his truck onto the beach, walks himself out into the water, and chucks the gun. Trouble is, when he gets back to his truck, it's stuck in the sand. What a fuckin’ idiot. You’re 29 year old at this point, you don’t know about tires and sand? He’s gonna need some help getting it off the beach. He’s walking along Highway A1A, hoping to flag someone down. And here we have Deputy Angela Darling in her police cruiser stopping to ask him what's up. And she had just heard over the radio to be on the lookout for a guy with this guy’s description, and a pickup truck. She calls over the radio she thinks she’s got him, back up comes out, they check out the truck, and boom - this is the guy that is either a murderer or an attempted murder. We have to see how Michelle fares in the next few days.
We know that thankfully, Michelle did recover from her injuries. God bless her, She’d be 60 now, and I don’t see her on Find A Grave, so we hope she is well, and the rest of her life has been kind to her.
POS Brashers was convicted of attempted muder, and ended up serving 3.5 years for trying to kill her, and that’s how he was out, free to travel 100s of miles north, and killing Genevieve Zitricki by April of 1990. So... what? The most he served 3.5 years? That's outrageous.
So after he killed Genevieve - and btw he did live in Greenville at that time - in February of 1992, he’s picked in a stolen car, with a stolen gun, and - get this - a police scanner, police jacket, a fake TN license and homemade burglary kit. Court threw him back in jail and he sat there until Feb 1997. And here we go again! March of 1997 is his attack on the 14yo girl in Memphis!
Then we’ve got a break in on April 12, 1998 in Paragould, AK. This time, he had done some work on the house he was breaking into, and once again, this was a targeted attack. We know this because the only resident was a single female. Check this out - he was caught with a video camera, some kind of weapon, probably a gun, because that seems to be his preference, and other “tools?” Later they found that he had cut the phone lines to the house! Jesus! And this is actually where he lives. So he’s hitting his own town now, or at least trying. He is arrested again, but they let him go on bond. Are you kidding me?They know he has a prior record at this point. It was 6 and then 13 years earlier but still. WTF? Supposedly he’s going to stand trial for it, but in the meantime, what is the public supposed to do? What about that lady he likely would have raped and killed that night?
So this is all like, two weeks after he killed the Scherers and shot the other lady at her trailer. This POS won’t quit; it's crazy.
Things are quiet for the rest of the year, or at least, he’s preoccupied, because remember, he’s actually married with kids. Maybe he got scared because he got caught for the local break in, and decided to cool it. Because now he’s on bond, but the police have got their eye on him. But we see with men like this, they have a really hard time quitting. He’s got to have other victims out there… But this will be the end of what we know he’s done.
But then big stuff happens early the next year and his family will never be the same again. On January 13, 1999, local police saw a car in the motel parking lot in Kennett MO. They run the tag, and discover the plates are stolen and just put on this car that they are looking at right here. So they figure out who’s staying there with that car - it was Brashers, his wife, and their three daughters. What the hell are they doing there? Well, he has crossed the state lines… is he fleeing from Arkansas for the pending charges?
So they go aknockin’. But no one comes out. Before too long, they’ve got a standoff in their hands, and after four hours, Brashers’s wife and daughters are allowed to leave the room. And soon after, he shoots himself in an effort to off himself. Police and paramedics rush in, and discover he’s still alive, but gravely wounded. So they send him off to the hospital, where ends up dying six days later on January 19th. And all this, they think, is for a stolen car he didn’t want to get caught with and fleeing before the trial. But we know now, that he might have thought they were picking him up for all the other shit he’d been doing.
And since 1999, his family is mourning the loss of their husband and father, and they don’t have any clue, either, about the severity of his violent crimes. Daughter Deborah tells us, “We lived with a serial killer and rapist and I didn't know it. He was an amazing father, a father anybody would have wanted to have. They always say serial killers live two separate lives. Some live just to kill; then there's others like my father who live in plain sight for years.”
Deborah is about 29 now, and we hope the best for her. It’s horrible, how one person’s evil deeds not only affect their victims' families and friends, but their own family as well. Deborah’s mom passed away in December 2018 just two months after the announcement was made that her husband was a serial killer and rapist. It’s heartbreaking. And for the girls, to grow up feeling like your father was the best in the world, even if he might have an alcohol problem and sometimes he can't control his temper…. But now 19 years later, the police are asking you for a DNA sample, and then you find out just how evil he was capable of being... I feel so much for these families. Of course we can say to the public, “I’m not my father, we didn’t know” - and you’re not - but now all your cherished memories of him are tarnished when you think about what he was doing when he left home. It’s got to be so hard to reconcile that. And in the interview she gives to the local newspapers, the Greenville News, Deborah seems to have come to terms with it, telling us “I wish I could take other pain away. He was not a man. He was a person who breathed air that he didn't deserve for many years. It just makes me sick to my stomach.”
While I sympathize with Deborah, I do feel like we have to point out that this guy did spend about 4-5 years in jail after she was born. She was tiny tho, if my math is right, Mom was pregnant with her or just had her when he went in, and Deborah was about five-ish when he got out. So she really had no idea about his crimes unless her family or the town folk told her. But then again, she was part of a standoff with the cops. IDK it’s touchy. And of course, we hope for nothing but the best for her and her sisters.
All in all, over the years, he’d been charged with attempted murder, burglary, impersonating a police officer and unlawful possession of a weapon.
Could we have found him without FG? After all this time, we have 28 years for Genevieve case, 19 years for rape of a minor case, and then 20 yars for Sherri and Megan’s case… I don’t think they would have turned up any more evidence or gotten any other leads from interviews. That would leave the DNA. And Brashers was dead by January 1999, so after that there weren’t going to be any more victims where maybe he would be caught.
And why no CODIS? Well, he was all over CODIS, but his name just wasn’t attached to it. Brasher’s conviction in 1986 was before CODIS took shape, and his arrest in 1999 was for attempting to break in, and then the stolen car and gun conviction wasn’t a violent offence. So DNA must not have been part of the protocol at the time.
Do we think he has more victims out there? I do. But if he had victims that were brought out to the wilderness, and they’ve been found but still aren’t in CODIS, then his DNA is likely not on them anymore, and they can never be linked to him.
Hearing about the identification of his mom and sisters killer, Steven says he doesn't have closure or feel any different about their loss. In fact, even to this day, if he hears a creak in the night he wakes up and investigates it. “For the longest time I was pretty negative about everything. For the last few years, I’ve started getting more positive about things.”
Lt. Philip Gregory, a district lieutenant for the Missouri State Highway Patrol, was one of the lead investigators on the Scherer’s case. When asked about looking forward and solving other cold cases, he says, “My hope is it would motivate some agencies that have some evidence that maybe they haven’t taken a look at in a few years, to go back and re-examine that set and see if they can potentially develop a DNA profile from (them). Then also look at those cases around this guy’s location in those times.”