New Hope in the 1978 Unsolved Murder of Cheryl Thompson

By Carolyn Berardino

Photo of Cheryl Thompson, courtesy of the Cincinnati Enquirer

Cheryl Thompson was a 19-year-old freshman at the University of Cincinnatti in 1978. She was home for spring break on March 24th, when she left her parent’s house in Mariemont, Ohio, to meet her boyfriend at Gatsby’s disco in Oakley. But according to the Ohio Attorney General, she never arrived.

Her brother Bill told Fox 19 that his sister was very caring, liked to help others, and wanted to be a nurse. Her other brother, Dan, had dinner with her that night, not knowing that he would be the last person to see her alive.

When she didn’t meet him at the disco, Cheryl’s boyfriend immediately began searching for her. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, he saw a man driving her car and tried to chase him down, around 2:00 a.m., but he lost him. Her friends and family reported her missing the next day.

Her body wasn’t discovered until April 8th, by a state game warden who was checking fishermen licenses near the bank of the Little Miami River. She’d been beaten, raped, and strangled, but the exact date of her death remains unclear.

In 2012, investigators were able to produce a partial DNA profile of the offender. Then in 2020, evidence that had been lost for years was discovered in the Hamilton County coroner’s office. Law enforcement is hopeful they can use genetic genealogy to finally solve this case.

If you have any information on this case, please contact the Loveland Police Department at (513)583-3000.

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