Real Name: Cheryl Lee Holland
Nicknames: No known nicknames
Wanted For: Murder, Arson, Robbery
Missing Since: March 7, 1991
Details: Joe Harvey, 57, and Mattie "Teet" Harvey, 54, were a couple who lived in the small town of Lewis Chapel Mountain, Tennessee, north of Chattanooga. For years, they ran a combination gas station and convenience store. It was the only place to buy gas and groceries for miles around. According to Joe's brother Ed, it was common knowledge that they kept cash receipts in the store. Ed suggested that they keep the money elsewhere, to prevent robberies. However, they trusted the community members and did not feel they needed to protect their money.
On March 4, 1991, a local sheriff was called to the Harvey house because their store was not opened as scheduled. The sheriff found that the entire place had been damaged by fire. There was no trace of either Joe or Mattie inside. Blood spots were found outside of the home. Agents from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation were brought in to investigate the case. A 2 gallon gasoline can was found on the kitchen counter. More blood spots were found throughout the home.
Investigators believed that the couple had been attacked and kidnapped from their home, with robbery being the motive. They believe the fire was deliberately set to cover up the crime. The Harvey's 27-year-old niece, Cheryl Holland, vanished just a few days later. The Harveys did not have children of their own, but they were close to their extended family. They were especially close to Cheryl and her daughter.
One week after the Harveys vanished, Cheryl's pickup truck was found abandoned at a truck stop two hours from home. Investigators found that the keys were still in the truck, which was unlocked. Next to the truck, they also found a necklace belonging to her. Her pocketbook was found in the truck as well. This led investigators to believe that she may have also been abducted.
Investigators next questioned Cheryl's common-law husband, Eddie Wooten. He said that before she vanished, she took him to Newport News, Virginia. He claimed that they stopped somewhere along the way to sleep, but he could not remember where. Other inconsistencies in his story made investigators suspicious. They suspected that he and Cheryl may have been involved in the Harvey's disappearance. However, her family could not believe this.
On March 10, Eddie was questioned again. He claimed that in late February, he had taken Cheryl to a hospital in Knoxville, for a week-long treatment for stomach cancer. He claimed that he could not remember the name of the hospital. Family members had told investigators that she had borrowed money from them to use for "cancer treatments". Investigators determined that she used the money for other things.
On the day Eddie claimed that he took her to Knoxville, investigators confirmed that she was actually working in Chattanooga. Confronted with the many inconsistencies, he decided to confess to the truth. He would give the same confession three different times. In his confession, he stated that on March 2, Cheryl came home from work, stating that she needed more money. They planned on going to her mother's home to pick up a paycheck. Along the way, they went to a gas station and purchased a gas can, which they filled up.
After visiting her parents, the two went to the home of Joe and Mattie Harvey to rob them. He claimed that when they went inside, they left Cheryl's five-year-old daughter and their six-week-old son in their truck. As they were about to go inside, Cheryl told Eddie that they had to kill them. He was unwilling to do so, but she persuaded him. After entering, she talked to Joe briefly and then went to get Mattie. A few seconds later, Eddie came in and shot Joe while he was watching TV. Mattie ran to the living room and was also shot.
Eddie and Cheryl then took the couple's bodies and placed them in the trunk of their own car. Eddie followed Cheryl as she drove the Harvey's car over the Alabama state line. She drove the car into the Tennessee River, near the Bridgeport Ferry. Later, she returned to the Harvey home and stole $150,000 in cash. After stealing the money, she set the home on fire.
Investigators found a bloody fingerprint on the bottom the gas can found in the Harvey home. This print was matched to Cheryl's known thumbprint. Searchers began dragging the river near the Bridgeport Ferry. On April 17, 1991, the Harvey's car was found in the river, with their bodies inside. Both had been shot in the head, just as Eddie described. Eddie Wooten was charged with the murders. A warrant was issued for Cheryl's arrest.
Investigators began tracking her movements following the murders. They learned that she left her children with her mother. They also learned that an unidentified man appeared to be following her. At around 9:30 pm on March 7, five days after the murders, she arrived at a service station in Greenville, Tennessee. Just seconds after entering the store, she told the clerk that she had to leave. As she went back to her truck, a bearded man wearing a leather jacket tried to talk to her. She left the station and the man, driving a red truck, followed her.
About an hour later, she was spotted using a pay phone at a truck stop twelve miles from the previous station. She told her family that she was two hours from home. Later, another witness spotted two people talking in her pickup truck. The unidentified man was apparently seen at Cheryl's workplace on the day before the murders. She was seen writing this man a check.
Investigators are uncertain how this man is connected to the case. Cheryl was last seen at the truck stop at around 11:30 pm on the night of March 7. Her family believes that the unidentified man was responsible for her disappearance. However, investigators are certain that she is alive and still on the run.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the February 26, 1992 episode.
Results: Captured. Thanks to a viewer's tip, just forty-five minutes after her story aired, Cheryl Holland was arrested in Rollingwood, Texas, at the convenience store where she had worked for six months. She was living under the assumed name Amy Elizabeth Forrester. Her colleagues were shocked about her double life.
Four days later, she was returned to Tennessee to face the murder charges. Cheryl pleaded guilty and was spared the death sentence. She and Eddie are now serving life sentences for the murders. Cheryl Holland will not be eligible for parole until November 2021. Eddie Wooten will not be eligible for parole until April 2020.
- Tv Show Leads To Arrest Of Suspect In 2 Slayings
- Niece gets life in double murder
- Tennessee v. Wooten
- Joe and Mattie Harvey on Find A Grave