A woman vanished after her boyfriend proposed on live TV during a New Year's Eve party. Where is Sheryl Sheppard?

Fatim Hemraj

Sheryl Sheppard and Michael LavoieCBC

On January 4, 1998, Odette Fisher was sitting at a cafe in Toronto’s Union station waiting for her daughter, 29-year-old Sheryl Sheppard to pick her up. Odette, who had been visiting relatives in New Brunswick for the holidays, lived with Sheryl and Sheryl’s boyfriend of two years, 27-year-old Michael Lavoie in a 7th-floor apartment in Hamilton, Ontario.

Sadly, Sheryl never showed up. Odette found her own way home, expecting her daughter to walk in any minute and apologize. Instead, Odette was met by Michael who told her he hadn’t seen Sheryl for two days.

Odette and SherylThe Star

According to Someone Knows Something podcast, Michael told Odette he dropped Sheryl off in the alley of the Concord Hotel in Niagara Falls at 6:30 pm on January 2, claiming she was hired to work as a dancer. Sheryl worked as a dancer for a year but disliked the job and found work at a Tim Hortons months before her disappearance.

According to CBC, Sheryl’s loved ones insist she wouldn’t have gone back to work as a dancer and the owner of the Concord Hotel, Mike Manolovich, told detectives he never met or hired Sheryl stating, “I don’t even know the girl.

Sheryl’s wallet along with her glasses and contacts, which she needed to see and never left home without, were all found in the apartment. Odette noticed the living room curtains were no longer hanging on a rod. Instead, they were nailed to the wall and the rod was missing.

Michael also had some other big news for Odette:

Michael proposed to Sheryl on live television during a 1997 New Year's Eve party at the Hamilton Convention Centre before she disappeared. Her loved ones were shocked to learn of the engagement. Sheryl frequently vented to friends about Michael's temper and possessive nature.

During Sheryl’s shifts at Tim Hortons, Michael sat in the coffee shop for up to 8 hours making sure she didn’t spend too much time talking to male customers until he was asked to leave by her boss.

Shortly before her disappearance, Sheryl told friends she planned to call off the engagement. According to CBC, she was afraid of how Michael would react and said, “Don’t be surprised if I go missing.

Both the apartment maintenance man and a neighbour claimed they saw Michael with two large plastic bags in the parking garage the weekend Sheryl disappeared. Her blood was found in the hallway and on her bedroom door.

Once Odette reported Sheryl missing, Michael packed up his clothes and took off. Authorities later found him unconscious in Sheryl’s white Buick inside a storage unit with the engine running.

Michael and SherylThe Star

In the weeks following Sheryl’s disappearance, Michael started dating Sheila Darbyson. She told detectives Michael was extremely paranoid and thought his car was bugged. According to Sheila, he had a bite mark on his left arm and scratches on his back.

Michael did not participate in organized searches and refused to cooperate with the investigation. He has never been charged in connection to Sheryl’s disappearance but he remains the prime suspect in the case.

The search for Sheryl continues nearly 24 years later. Authorities believe she disappeared sometime between January 1 and January 2, 1998.

Sheryl SheppardDynamic Media

Sheryl was 5'4" weighing 106 pounds with blonde hair and blue eyes. She had a heart tattoo on her left ankle. If alive, she would be 52 today.

If you have any information regarding the disappearance of Sheryl Sheppard, contact the Hamilton Police Homicide Unit at 905–546–2458. A $50,000 reward is available.

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