Cold Cases of Indiana: The Murder of Cheryl Bolin

March 31, 2022

On Tuesday, August 19, 1975, trauma struck eleven-year-old Cheryl Bolin as she was riding her bike home from her friend’s house. Little did Cheryl know that this bike ride would later result in a mysterious cold case.

It was a Monday night, forty-seven years ago, in a small town Monrovia, Indiana. Cheryl went to her friend’s house for a sleepover. Shelly, the friend, and Cheryl were only a mile down the road from each other with Cheryl living on Lake Valley Road. The girls’ parents had a system set up for the two; both parents would walk the girls to a certain point between the distance of the two houses, and make sure they got out of sight safely for the other parent to see them coming home. However, on this day, Shelly’s mom was in the hospital and Cheryl’s dad was feeling sick. The two parents both decided to trust the girls and let Shelly walk Cheryl some of the way home, and then let Cheryl ride her bike for the remainder of the trip back. 

When Cheryl did not arrive at her house on time, her father knew something had happened to her. Cheryl was always home on time, so her not coming home was extremely skeptical. Jim, her father, contacted the police and informed them about his daughter not arriving  home. The police presumed that it was a potential runaway, so they gave Jim the advice to just wait for his daughter to return. 

When Jim informed the family about the police’s input, her aunt and uncle instantly knew Cheryl was known as a daddy’s girl and would never run away. Cheryl’s aunt contacted people she knew in the law enforcement and told them that it was nothing close to a runaway. On August 19, police began to launch the investigation of the disappearance of Cheryl Bolin. 

On the first night of the investigation, they found Cheryl’s bicycle. This made many think that they were hot on the trail to find her. Little did they know, it would not be that easy. The sheriff’s office began searching the woods that lined the road from which Cheryl had been abducted. Search parties were then going out and looking for Cheryl. Everyone was searching in every possible place, frantically looking for signs of Cheryl’s mysterious disappearance.

On March 2, 1976, nearly seven months later, Jim and Loretta Bolin finally got the call that Cheryl’s body had been found. Her body was discovered in Vigo County, Terre Haute, which is fifty-four miles away from Monrovia. A couple of kids who lived in the area were riding horses and found Cheryl’s body by a pond. They immediately contacted law enforcement. 

Law enforcement then started their next step in the investigation, finding who abducted and killed Cheryl Bolin. The first people who were brought in for questioning were a logging crew. The crew gave the police some suspects who lived very close to the scene of the abduction and were brought in for interrogation. 

The main suspect had lived behind Shelly’s house and was rumored around the community to have harbored runaway girls. Unfortunately, there was no evidence to support that they did commit this abduction and murder. Since then, everyone that provided promising leads has died. 

Deputy Terry Keith has been working on this case since 1996. In those twenty-six years, he has used all the information since the start of the investigation to continue searching for the murderer on this case. There have been many detectives over the years on this case, but Keith has still been actively working on this case ever since he became a part of the Morgan County police Department.“I am still looking into this case. Believe it or not, I do still get calls about it. The calls usually regard to people hearing something rather strange when talking about the murder,” he said. Keith will continue working on this case to hopefully find an answer on who abducted and murdered Cheryl Bolin.

The Bolin family is still actively waiting for answers leading up to Cheryl’s case. If you have any information about this case you are encouraged to contact Terry Keith at the Morgan County Police Department, 765-342-5544.

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