New lead in unsolved 1998 Portageville double murder

Friday, May 26, 2017

PORTAGEVILLE, Mo. -- A DNA hit has led to new leads in the 1998 murder of Sherri Scherer and her 12-year-old daughter Megan, who were shot and killed in their home in Portageville.

According to a release from New Madrid County Sheriff Terry Stevens, on May 3, the New Madrid County Sheriff's Office received an alert that the unknown suspect's DNA matched an unknown suspect's DNA recovered from an unsolved rape case in Memphis, Tenn., that occurred in 1997.

Investigators from the New Madrid County Sheriff's Office along with investigators from the Missouri State Highway Patrol met with detectives from Memphis along with detectives from Greenville, S.C.

Investigators learned that on May 11, 1997, a little over nine months before the Scherer murders, three women and a female juvenile were assaulted after an unknown white male knocked at the front door of their residence in Memphis. The suspect used a ploy before displaying a revolver and forcing his way inside the residence. The suspect bound the females before he sexually assaulted the juvenile.

The new lead brings hope to a community that was rocked by the double murder on March 28, 1998. On that day, Tony Scherer came home to discover the bodies of his wife and daughter in the living room of their rural home, located just of Interstate 55 north of Portageville. They had been shot with a revolver.

Two hours after the discovery, a woman and her children were approached at their home in Dyersburg, Tenn., by an unknown white male asking for directions. The suspect drew a revolver and shot her after he tried to gain entry into her home. The suspect is reported to have fled in a dark-colored van (possibly maroon) after he shot her. The case along with the Scherer double murder was linked by ballistics.

Then in 2006, investigators received an alert through the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), that the suspect's DNA found during the Sherer investigation matched an unknown suspect's DNA entered into CODIS by Greenville, S.C., detectives.

Investigators from the New Madrid County Sheriff's Department and Missouri State Highway Patrol went to Greenville and met with detectives. They learned that on April 4, 1990, Genevieve Zitricki was attacked while she slept in her apartment in Greenville. Autopsy results revealed she had been sexually assaulted and the cause of death was blunt force trauma.

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