The Phoenix

Friday, October 12, 2007

Spooky Story: The Linda Sherman Mystery

This is not an urban legend or simple folk tale. The following is a very real story - a true mystery that happened when I was in high school here in the St. Louis area. ..

In 1985, Don and Linda Sherman were struggling to keep their marrage intact. They had separated and reconciled several times, but it seems divorce was imminent. Don worked in a machine shop, and Linda worked nights at the U.S. Government Records Center. They lived in a modest house in Vinita Park, a manicipality in northwest St. Louis County. On April 11th, Linda filed for a dissolution of marriage. Despite this, Linda continued to live with Don and their 9 year-old daughter, Patty.

On April 22nd, Linda clocked out of work at 2:16 AM and went home to sleep on the couch. Don took their daughter to school that morning, and at 6 PM Don says he saw Linda leaving for work.

He would be the last person to see her alive.

Linda never reported to work that day. Eventually, the police got involved in the search for Linda Sherman. Linda's family knew from the beginning that something was very wrong. They said that there was no way Linda would just leave her daughter without a word. In fact, everytime Linda tried to leave her husband for good, she had always taken Patty with her.

Five days later, police found Linda's Volkswagon Beetle at Lambert Airport's short term parking lot. Other than a couple of personal items, there was no trace of Linda. Of course the husband was the prime suspect, but investigators could not find one shred of evidence to prove he was involved in his wife's disappearance.

All the leads were exhausted, all potential suspects were cleared. Police turned to the media for help. Without a break, they could not solve this mystery.

Five years later, on June 28th 1990, flight attendants having lunch at the Casa Gallardo in Bridgeton, Missouri saw something very strange in the bushes. On the other side of their large window, they saw a human skull facing them. They thought it was a joke, and the manager shut the blinds. When he went out to investigate, it was clear that the skull was REAL. Bridgeton police came and the skull was taken to the St. Louis County medical examiner's office. The unidentified skull was stored on a shelf at the county morgue.

Fourteen months later, a strange envelope was mailed to the Vinita Park police station. Inside was an orange flyer advertising a Super Bowl promotion that the Bridgeton Casa Gallardo had run months ago. On the back, written in purple ink was:


Lt. Michael Webb of the Vinita Park police department immediately contacted Bridgeton police, and they confirmed that a human skull was indeed found at the Casa Gallardo there. Lt. Webb sent Linda Sherman's dental records to the county morgue where forensic tests proved that they were in possession of Linda Sherman's skull.

The FBI tested the envelope and letter, and found nothing. The sender had been very careful. Vinita Park police now had a homicide investigation, but no where else to go now. They did have new questions, however:

Where is the rest of Linda Sherman's remains?
Who sent this letter after the unidentified skull had been found by Bridgeton police?
Why write the letter on the back of a Casa Gallardo promotion?
And finally:

Why would someone take just Linda's skull and place it in plain view of customers at the Casa Gallardo restaurant??? Someone had to have gone to where Linda's remains were buried, unearthed them, and just took the skull. The thought was horrifying.

In November of 2001, Linda Sherman's story was featured on the television program Unsolved Mysteries. After more advanced forensic years later, they are no closer to solving Linda Sherman's mystery. It's been 22 years now since Linda Sherman's initial disappearance, and 17 years since the gruesome discovery of her skull at the restaurant.

It remains an unsolved case to this day...

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Blogger delmer said...

When you hear about things like this you have to wonder what the h*ll is wrong with some people.

10/12/2007 11:11 AM  
Blogger BrianAlt said...

Interesting. As usual.

10/12/2007 11:23 AM  
Blogger KC said...

This is indeed a spooky story. I remember reading it in the papers when the skull was found. I hope someday that someone will figure this all out and the perpetrator will come to justice.

10/12/2007 12:05 PM  
Blogger grrrbear said...

Holy crap that's weird! But it gets me wondering if *I* were in a restaurant, and I saw a skull watching me eat, how good would the food have to be for me to keep eating?

That place must have some pretty good food!

10/12/2007 1:09 PM  
Blogger Etchen said...

What the...? You have the best spooky stories-ever!

10/12/2007 2:28 PM  
Blogger Mr. Shife said...

Spooky. I got chills reading that story.

10/12/2007 2:33 PM  
Anonymous the weirdgirl said...

That is freaky. And sad. How long will it be before they find another skull outside a restaurant from this sicko?

10/12/2007 3:04 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

In the late 1920s Lambert Field became the first airport with the an air-traffic control system. At that time the system consisted of waving flags to communicate with pilots. The first controller's name was Archie League. I doubt that he was a suspect.

I wonder who paid the 5-day parking charge on the VW.

the wordver is tudtyfle

10/12/2007 6:13 PM  
Blogger The Phoenix said...

Delmer, The husband is still the only suspect - but there's a total lack of evidence.

brianalt, Thanks!

KC, It's still open - and the Lt. is now chief of police of Vinita Park. They say he's still obsessed with solving this case.

grrrbar, I'm thinking they finished their quesadillas since the manager shut the blinds. Casa Gallardo has some awesome food.

etchen, Thanks to you too!

Mr. Shife, I get the heebee-jeebees thinking about some guy digging up her grave and sticking the skull under a yucca plant at Casa Gallardo.

WG, I have to check - but I don't think they've had anymore skulls since then.

Jim, As far as Lambart history goes, the discovery of Linda's skull coincided with the building of MetroLink near the airport. They were unearthing a ton of remains near unmarked gravesites...they assumed the skull off of the Rock Rd. was just another of those remains.

10/12/2007 6:19 PM  
Blogger Big Pissy said...

I've never heard of this before....really spooky! :(

10/12/2007 7:40 PM  
Blogger Jamie Dawn said...

I hope to God that the rest of Linda wasn't served in tacos and burritos at the Casa Gallardo restaurant!!

Creepy story for sure!
The person who killed her just couldn't stand keeping all of it a secret. Sicko!!

10/13/2007 10:05 PM  
Anonymous kim said...

Wow, I vaguely recall hearing about this but never knew the details. VERY interesting. How sad for her family - they will likely never know what happened to their poor dear Linda.

10/14/2007 4:11 PM  
Blogger Phats said...

Wow great story, would make for an interesting movie I am sure! I wonder where the rest of her is?

10/14/2007 4:12 PM  
Blogger Nessa said...

Wow, very spooky.

10/14/2007 4:24 PM  
Blogger Rocketstar said...

ow spooks the hell out of me. hey do those stories where people just vanish. Bill went to work and nobody ever saw him again. Just his car by the side of the road untouched and no signs of trouble.

10/14/2007 6:58 PM  
Blogger Keshi said...

Mysteries as such intrigue me and freak me out at the same time!


10/15/2007 1:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I got chills reading this.

10/15/2007 2:39 AM  
Blogger :P fuzzbox said...

I wonder if the killer expired before he could post more clues. It seems he wanted to keep the police guessing.

10/15/2007 10:17 PM  
Blogger DaBich said...

Yikes, how very WEIRD!

10/16/2007 1:38 PM  
Blogger angel, jr. said...


10/17/2007 9:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have to ask why Casa's in Bridgeton was chosen as the location to put the skull? Could it be because that was Don Sherman's favorite bar to hang out, he was there almost every night. He was there the night the skull was found!

10/20/2007 10:18 AM  
Blogger Fated said...

That story creeps me out. People do odd things. It is too bad real life isn't like the movies. It would be interesting to know what really happened.

Side note: as soon as I saw the Unsolved Mysteries slogan I got chills. When I was young I couldn't even hear the music without getting nightmares.. :S

10/24/2007 2:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This story only gets better if you dig into what happen to Don Shermans Father!!! Could he have gotten away with 2 murders?

11/19/2007 1:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What happened to Don's dad?

11/28/2007 7:07 PM  
Blogger shanejm said...

I've read a little about this case and watched the "Unsolved Mysteries" episode and in my opinion...this is what happened. Linda cam home from work later (about 3am) and her husband openly admitted to having a fight with her...I think he either accidentally killed her during the fight or intentionally killed her because of his jealousy about her showing up home late.
The next morning Linda was "asleep" and facing towards the back of the couch according to Patti...Linda's daughter. Linda always took Patti to school but not on this particular morning. My feeling is that after Linda's husband killed her he left her on the couch so the daughter could be a witness to the fact that Linda was home on the morning that she came up missing.
I've never believed the husbands story and its such a coincidence that the scull showed up around the time that he was planning to marry someone else and there needed to be proof that she was dead so he could marry. In the interview Patti seems to believe that her father was the killer...but without any proof...she's left without answers.

3/19/2009 3:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don Sherman DID IT! Look at his eyes and the far-fetchedness of his story. I do not care if he was cleared. He was dry eyed through out the UM interview. And this is not how some people grieve. HE DID IT and got away with this and there is no one else who would have felt as hostile as he has with Linda. HE DID IT!

4/19/2010 5:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's what happened:

Don beat her up for the last time and placed her skull where he would be seen at the bar on the night that her skull was discovered; it was his perfect alibi so that he would play "Oh My Goodness in front of others." Arrest this SOB! Circumstantial evidence IS good evidence. Test the paper and the oils (from the finger prints ---as he worked in the auto industry) left on that note that he sent.

"It's a jungle out there, disorder and confusion every where. No one seems to care, well I do, hey who's in charge here....A. Monk

4/19/2010 5:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chief Webb was very much obsessed with this case until his death. He was without a doubt sure Don did it. The theory that she was dead on the couch that morning seems to be the best. Don's got an uncle with some rural property in missouri that seemed to be where they were hoping to find Linda's body but were never able to. Don Sherman is the only suspect for good reason...did Don's mom really kill his more into that encounter and you will learn that chances are Don is good at getting away with things....

5/30/2010 11:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I keep seeing comments like: "ooooo... spooky...freaky...weird!!" Huh? What is so spooky???
He killed his wife and when no one found her body proving she was dead, he couldn't remarry. So he put her skull where it would be found. And, because of the controlling freak that he is, he put it at one of HIS favorite hangouts thinking that the police would connect it. But they didn't so he had to send a note to them to tell them they had found Linda's skull. Now he will get the attention he craves and of course,never believing he'll be caught. To people like that, it's part of the fun....wriggling out of it. His own daughter believes he's guilty. Same thing with that moron, Ira Einhorn. He stashed his girlfriends body in HIS apt. where he knew it would be found and he would get the attention. But these people are so egotistical, they never think that they will be caught. End of story. As sad and tragic as it is.

8/03/2010 7:39 PM  

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