Lufkin PD still searching for Zavalla woman's murderer nine years later

Lufkin PD still searching for Zavalla woman's murderer nine years later
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: Jeanne Schmidt
Source: Jeanne Schmidt

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - February 4, 2007, it's a date Lufkin Police Detective John Petty will never forget.

"We got a call about a deceased body, in the Lufkin Land area. Patrol officers responded to the area and found the body of this female victim," explained Petty.

The body had been in the wooded area for two weeks before it was discovered by a man who lived nearby.

"He was walking through there and actually thought it was a dead animal at first," Petty said. "He went over to investigate and that's when he discovered the body."

The body was taken to Beaumont for an autopsy and was so badly decomposed, it took two days before investigators were able to get fingerprints and identify her as Sherry Moore.

"The cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head," Petty said.

Murdered in cold blood. The chilling news of Moore's passing shocked her childhood best friend.

"It was just tragic, recalled Jeanne Schmidt. "I was actually cooking dinner when my mom called me and told me. It was just complicated for me to even continue cooking."

Schmidt remembered Moore as the confident, fun companion she knew growing up in Zavalla.

"She was graceful and beautiful and danced beautifully," Schmidt said.

However, like childhood friends often do, they drifted apart, choosing two different paths in life.

"I heard that she was dancing in the bars and had gotten into the drug life and as living a little more rebelliously than the rest of us that had grown up," Schmidt said.

"Numerous people would see her walking from between here [Lufkin] and Zavalla and told us people would pick her up," Petty said. "They said she would be gone for two or three weeks and then she would just show back up in Zavalla."

That is the reason why two weeks went by before the body was discovered, no one suspected Moore was missing.

After an investigation and questioning several people, LPD found that Moore was last seen in front of a home, walking down the same street where her body was found two weeks later.

"We worked it, we got good suspects, and then we just hit a brick wall," Petty explained.

Due to the two week period of Moore's disappearance and the state of decay her body was in, there wasn't enough evidence to charge anyone, but Petty has a pretty good idea who it might be.

"I believe the person who has done this still lives in this area and that's what makes it so hard, knowing they're still here and that they got away with a murder," Petty said.

Nine years later, it's still something that haunts Petty.

"It's just like everybody has forgotten about Sherry Moore, but I haven't forgot about Sherry Moore," Petty said.

"I've been talking with her brother and the fact that they don't have closure is one of the biggest things for him," Schmidt said. "They would love to see this person caught."

Despite the difficulty, LPD isn't giving up their search and her family isn't giving up hope.

"This is an open case, it's never going to be closed until someone is convicted of this crime," Petty said. "I know what you did, and I know how you did it and probably why you did it, but I'd like to hear it out of your mouth why you did it."

"We want someone to step up and take responsibility, it's time," Schmidt said. "After nine years, Sherry deserves it. She was a mother, she was a sister, she was a daughter."

Anyone with any information on the murder of Sherry Moore is urged to call the Lufkin Police Department.

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