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Old 10-17-2017, 05:07 AM   #1
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Default Linda Sherman

I donít recall ever seeing this one dis Jesse on here. Just curious what folks think on this one. This is the case where a young wife, Linda Sherman, went missing leaving behind her husband and daughter. Then, several years later, her skull was found prominently displayed in a wooded area outside of a restaurant and bar that her husband frequented.

I am not exactly sure what to think on this one. Personally, I think the husband probably killed her. But, it really doesnít make sense for him to leave the skull where it was, in a regular hang out of his. That just seems like ultimately a pretty dumb thing to do. At that point, if guilty, he had basically gotten away with it. The segment suggested that he wanted to remarry and needed to declare her dead. Well, another year or two and he could likely have declared her dead anyway without the skull. Just seems like a dumb move. Anyway, just curious what folks think about this one.
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Old 10-17-2017, 07:23 AM   #2
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I used to think Don Sherman was guilty as sin and found it pretty damning that even his own daughter thought he killed Linda. I have no doubt he was a jealous, abusive POS, but the more I think about it, the whole scenario with the skull makes zero sense. You're right, I have no idea why Don would do that since he had gotten away with the crime for five years at that point and since the rest of Linda's remains have never been found to this day, he really had nothing to worry about.

The explanation of Don wanting Linda to be legally declared dead so he could get remarried also doesn't ring true. That skull remained on the shelf of a police evidence room for over a year until they received an anonymous letter stating it belonged to "L.S.". If Don was so anxious to have her identified to get remarried, why would he wait so long to send the letter? I guess an alternative explanation would be that Don had an accomplice or someone else witnessed him getting rid of Linda's body and decided to dig up the skull to mess with him, but was their endgame? I'm also not so sure that Don would have been so brazen as to leave Linda's body on the couch when he took his daughter through the living room that morning. What if she tried to wake Linda up?

I guess the problem is that I have no idea what alternate suspects there might have been who could have killed Linda. If it wasn't for the reappearance of the skull and Linda was still a missing person, I'd have no trouble believing Don murdered her, but overall, I'd say I'm 50-50 on him being responsible.
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Old 10-18-2017, 06:01 PM   #3
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Iím about the same 50/50 on this one.

It does surprise me at the over all lack of apparent interest on the site for this one. I guess most probably assume he is just guilty. But like we have both said, it just doesnít make a lot of sense.

In most cases, I believe it takes about 7 years to have someone legally declared dead for insurance purposes. I know other things can factor in to that of course, but assuming that is relatively accurate, the skull in this case appears after 5 years and then sits for another year. So why the sudden urgency when only about a year remains?

Again, I realize that 7 years is not an absolute for the timeline. But even so, the skull being found where and how it was is also intriguing. It does seem more like someone had put it there to possibly taunt Don. At the very least it is obvious that the skull was placed there to make certain it was seen as absolutely no intent was made to hide it. I suppose if Don placed it there he might have been hoping that would direct suspicion away from himself.

I wonder how much forensic work was done to the skull. I mean, if it had been buried, did they test any soil left on it? Or was testing done for pollens or other material? This could all help to determine where and how the skull was kept and possibly even indicate a potential location for the rest of the remains.

I donít know. Just thinking.
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Old 10-19-2017, 12:37 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guardian
I wonder how much forensic work was done to the skull. I mean, if it had been buried, did they test any soil left on it? Or was testing done for pollens or other material? This could all help to determine where and how the skull was kept and possibly even indicate a potential location for the rest of the remains.
Found this extensive article which has a lot more details about this case. It says that soil tests were performed on the skull, but they were unable to come up with anything useful. They were also planning to do more forensic testing on the skull in the future, but given that this article was written in 1999, I can only assume it didn't lead anywhere:
https://www.riverfronttimes.com/stlo...nt?oid=2475396

The article also goes into more detail about Don's attempts to obtain an uncontested from Linda in her absence, but a judge dismissed the case. So Don definitely would've had motive to have her legally declared dead, but the dismissal took place in June 1989, one year before the skull was found. I see no reason for Don to plant the skull himself in order to take suspicion off himself since the case had been cold five years at this point and he didn't seem to be in any danger of being charged.

It's also worth noting that Linda was having an affair with a co-worker at the time she went missing, but he had an alibi and was ruled out as a suspect.
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Old 10-19-2017, 02:45 PM   #5
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Thanks for the article link. That was a small gold mine of info.

I have to admit though, as much info as it gives against Don, I came out of the article leaning more towards him possibly being innocent. The main thing that stood out to me is that he was trying to file for divorce after his wife disappeared. Surely that would remove any chance he had to collect insurance benefits from Linda if and when she was declared dead. Which to me points more towards him being innocent.

Of course he could have killed her in a fit of rage and money may not have been a motive. But if that was the case, why would he then plant the skull at all? That would just as likely grab more attention and risk him being prosecuted.

I can’t think of any motive anyone else might have though given the info available. So that basically brings us back to Don. And he is still likely statistically.

I wonder if this might be the scenario:
-Don kills Linda.
-After taking his daughter to school, he enlists the help of a friend or girlfriend to dispose of the body.
-After several years, there is some sort of falling out between Don and the accomplice.
-The accomplice hears of Dons attempts to file for a divorce and when they were denied, they dig up the skull and plant it at Dons favorite hang out hoping to implicate him in the crime.
-After a year with nothing happening, they send the note to the police.
-With still no arrest or conviction, perhaps the accomplice has given up for fear if they make too many attempts, they too might be implicated.

Just a thought, but it fits the facts so far as I can tell. Especially the one about the ex-girlfriend saying he had confessed.
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Old 10-19-2017, 03:37 PM   #6
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Perhaps his alleged sighting of her in a van, to attempt to eliminate himself as a suspect, would have worked against having her declared dead?

I could go either way. He's a scumbag for the abuse, but I'm not 100% on him being innocent or guilty. It's such a strange case and a lot of the events work against each other.

Digging it up, after seemingly getting away with the "perfect" murder, and then leaving it at his regular hang out? It's dumb. But he also could have done it for the reasons mentioned about getting a divorce and wanting to insert himself into the action, there's a reason there used to be a show called Americas Dumbest Criminals.
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Old 10-19-2017, 04:22 PM   #7
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Good point regarding the dumbest criminals. But as far as the van ďsightingĒ if it was invented, it was probably to take any heat off of him actually committing a crime. It was supposedly within a few days of the disappearance, which to me suggests he was getting scared with police questioning.

Some things I wonder about this case though would be first, did Linda literally always take Patty to school in the morning? Or was it just she usually did. Patty says ďalwaysĒ in the segment, but it may or may not be literally every time. If Don took her once in a while, that makes that particular point stand out less.

Is it possible that Don himself had any enemies? If so could they be responsible in trying to set him up? This theory seems far fetched but not impossible.

If the insurance angle can be taken out of it (which I keep bringing up as it seems the only plausible reason to me for Don to have placed the skull himself), then what was the real motive for him leaving the skull (if he did)? Just so he could get married again? I canít think of any guy that wants to get married that bad. And besides, if it was his fiancť pushing to get married, thatís a pretty flimsy excuse to risk a murder charge for.

I do wonder what Don and Pattyís relationship was like prior to the skull being found. In the UM segment she clearly feels he is likely responsible. I canít imagine thanksgiving dinner going smoothly after she said that on national tv, so I think itís safe to say they currently donít get along. But my point is if they had a good relationship prior to the skull being found, itís pretty cold hearted to plant the skull the way it was to bring all of it up again for Patty in such a crude way.

Over all I still think Don is guilty here, but the more I think about it, I have my doubts.
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Old 10-19-2017, 04:30 PM   #8
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I think the defense of "why would I leave a skull at a place where I hang out regularly?" was clever but I find it unconvincing.

If there is a motive for anyone other than Don Sherman to leave the skull there, I'm not seeing what that motive would be, other than to frame Don Sherman. I suppose it's possible.
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Old 10-19-2017, 05:40 PM   #9
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Yeah, I've never been convinced by Don's sighting of Linda with another man in a van a few days after she went missing. It says that Linda had already tried to leave him a couple times, but in those cases, she always took Patty with her, and I seriously doubt she would have taken off and left Patty alone with Don, considering his violent temper. The only explanation would be if this man was holding Linda against her will, but Don made it sound like she was making an effort to hide .

Don enlisting an accomplice to help him get rid of Linda's body or leave her car at the airport would make sense, but this person would be taking a huge risk of implicating themselves by digging up the skull years later. I guess a possible motive for this would be an attempt to blackmail Don into paying them off to keep quiet, but why send a letter to the police revealing the skull's identity a full year later?
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Old 10-19-2017, 07:15 PM   #10
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Quote:
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Yeah, I've never been convinced by Don's sighting of Linda with another man in a van a few days after she went missing.

Oh, I'm not either. What I mean though is it has to be pretty hard to get someone declared dead you claim you saw driving off with another man. There has to be more criteria than just "I haven't seen her for a long time", and if you really did see her driving away then how can you turn around and assume she's dead and get a court to agree? So there's motive to dig her up to try and end that limbo, especially if the divorce in absentia was denied, even if it could have ended his freedom. But it would be incredibly stupid (which me might just be)


I wonder if maybe the motive in the note and the skull is a third party feeling guilty, but not enough to want to be incarcerated, maybe wanting to provide some closure?
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Old 10-20-2017, 01:58 AM   #11
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I like the blackmail angle. That would make some sense.

I donít mean to imply I think the van sighting was real. I donít think it was. Just looking at it from all angles. Some things cause some doubt in my mind for this one is all. But realistically, Don probably did it. Just some oddities to consider in this one is all.
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Old 10-20-2017, 07:16 AM   #12
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I can't get over the skull and the note. On the one hand, it could be some clever ruse by Don to try and fool the investigators (and obviously, it's worked because he's never been charged). But Don would have no way of knowing that by planting the skull and then writing the note would shift the blame away from him. And if it was an accomplice, or someone who knew where Linda's remains were, why not write a note simply saying that Don killed her and that her remains were at a certain location? Someone, if it wasn't Don, had to go to where she was buried, dig up the grave, grab the skull, rebury the remains, and then plant the skull at the restaurant Don frequented. And then when that went nowhere, they wrote the note. I don't think an accomplice, or someone who knew what Don did, would go through all of that effort to tip the police. I think whoever planted the skull and wrote the note was involved in Linda's murder. And I honestly don't know whether it was Don or not.
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Old 08-15-2018, 09:10 AM   #13
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Don called her Linda Sherman not Linda or my wife when denying he had anything to do with her murder-not the sign of a man who has any regard or love for her. I think the daughter sadly saw her mother's corpse that morning-he had likely strangled her to death during their argument/discussion as he called it early that morning & he disposed of her body after taking her to school. The skull was his ego taunting the police by leaving it as his favourite eating place.
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Old 08-15-2018, 04:12 PM   #14
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Don called her Linda Sherman not Linda or my wife when denying he had anything to do with her murder-not the sign of a man who has any regard or love for her. I think the daughter sadly saw her mother's corpse that morning-he had likely strangled her to death during their argument/discussion as he called it early that morning & he disposed of her body after taking her to school. The skull was his ego taunting the police by leaving it as his favourite eating place.
Yeah but look at it from his point of view...it had been 5 or 6 years. He moved on. Life goes on. His ex wife was probably a non factor in his life, and had been for a long time.

If I was dragged into a conversation about an ex gf or something from years back I would probably call her by her full name with little emotion too.

This is the hardest case in that I am on the fence 50/50...hard to say if he did it. He also could easily have had a buddy do it for him, and that same buddy was tormenting him due to a fallout or something.
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Old 08-15-2018, 04:41 PM   #15
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Yeah but look at it from his point of view...it had been 5 or 6 years. He moved on. Life goes on. His ex wife was probably a non factor in his life, and had been for a long time.

If I was dragged into a conversation about an ex gf or something from years back I would probably call her by her full name with little emotion too.

This is the hardest case in that I am on the fence 50/50...hard to say if he did it. He also could easily have had a buddy do it for him, and that same buddy was tormenting him due to a fallout or something.
Even so she was still the mother of his child, to call her Linda Sherman rather than say I had nothing to do with the death of Linda or my wife is bizarre.

I doubt it, that person could have created a lot more problems for him. I cannot see it being anybody other than him & him alone. The evidence of the child is telling-her mother who always took her to school wasn't moving, he had killed her in the early hours & dismembered & disposed of the body once their daughter was out of the way. That their daughter didn't even list herself in his obituary or create one of her own speaks volumes of what she thought of him.
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