Sheriff’s Office: Suspect in 1998 murder of mother and daughter is dead

NEW MADRID COUNTY, MO — The sheriff’s office of a Missouri Bootheel county says the suspect in a 20-year-old murder case is dead.

The New Madrid County Sheriff’s Office says it will release new information on Friday about the 1998 murders of 37-year-old Sherri Scherer and her 12-year-old daughter, Megan. The two were found inside their home near Portageville, Missouri, on March 28, 1998. They were both shot to death with a .22 caliber gun. Investigators said Megan was sexually assaulted.

Their deaths have been linked to three other crimes — one in South Carolina and two in Tennessee.

Just a couple of hours after the mother and daughter were killed in Missouri, a woman was shot 40 miles away in Dyersburg, Tennessee. A white man reportedly approached her home asking for directions before shooting her in the shoulder and fleeing the scene in a van. That woman survived her injuries. Investigators said ballistic testing showed the same gun was used in those two crimes.

A 2006 DNA match linked the Scherer case to the murder and sexual assault of South Carolina woman Genevieve Zitricki. The 28-year-old was found beaten and strangled to death in her Greenville, S.C., apartment on April 4, 1990. Her body was found in the bathtub of her home, and a threatening message was left of her mirror.

Then, in 2017, DNA from the scene of the southeast Missouri murders was linked to DNA recovered from an unsolved rape case in Memphis, Tennessee. In May 1997, three women and a girl were assaulted by a man who knocked at the door of their home. The man bound the women, then sexually assaulted the child.

Although those DNA matches were able to link the cases to each other, the evidence was not matched to a suspect.

Now, ahead of Friday’s news conference, the sheriff’s office has announced that it has new information about a DNA match and the identification of the suspect — who is dead.

Friday morning, New Madrid County Sheriff Terry Stevens and investigators from the Missouri State Highway Patrol Division of Drug and Crime Control, will hold the news conference to present the details of the new information they say they have in the case.

Local 6 will have a crew at the news conference, and we will bring you updates.

FBI poster about the case, before the 2017 DNA link to the Memphis case: