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MCSO solves 30-year-old murder

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Press release

Marion County Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes detectives have closed the missing person case of Sherry Yon Petersen, Feb. 22, 1950, who was last seen on Christmas Eve, 1992.

Petersen was reported missing by her daughter Jan. 3, 1993 after she failed to show up for Christmas dinner and could not be contacted by her family. She was never found, and her case has been thoroughly reviewed by MCSO detectives multiple times throughout the last 26 years. However, recent contact from Sherry’s remaining family spurred an effort by detectives to obtain a full confession from Sherry’s killer.

In July 2018, Sergeant Donald Buie of the MCSO Major Crimes Unit received a phone call from Sherry’s sister, Linda Hicks, during which she introduced herself as the

updated point of contact for her family. After their phone call, Sgt. Buie became curious about Petersen’s disappearance and started to review the case files and follow up on potential leads. His investigation led him to a man named Frank Crow, Dec. 22, 1949, who is currently serving a 30-year sentence in Zephyrhills Correctional Institution for the murder of his former roommate, who Crow bludgeoned to death with a sledgehammer.

Sgt. Buie and Sgt. Michael Mongeluzzo traveled to Zephyrhills to interview Crow about

Sherry’s disappearance, during which he made several incriminating statements.

However, Crow refused to divulge further details of the crime without documentation granting him with immunity from prosecution.

Sgt. Buie conferred with Hicks and prosecutors with the State Attorney’s Office on how to proceed with Sherry’s case. Crow is currently 68-years old and will not be eligible for release until 2033. Due to Crow’s deteriorating health and the fact that he would be 84-years old if released, detectives and prosecutors agreed that prosecuting Crow for Sherry’s murder would be costly and somewhat futile. Sgt. Buie then spoke with Hicks and asked of the family’s wishes.

After much consideration, Sherry’s family gave detectives and prosecutors consent to not press criminal charges against Crow if he would provide them with answers so the family could have closure.

Sgt. Buie and Sgt. Mongeluzzo provided Crow with a letter of immunity and Crow agreed to disclose his account of Sherry’s murder.

On Christmas Eve, 1992, Crow said he ran into Sherry at a convenience store at the corner of East Highway 40 and County Road 314A. He said Sherry went with him to the “White Forest Tavern,” where they had a few drinks. Crow then convinced Sherry to go down to Lake Catherine with him, where they continued to drink and engage in conversation. It was at this time when Crow said he killed Sherry because she was a “snitch,” however, detectives believe he made sexual advances on Sherry and she denied them.

Crow also told detectives that he had premeditated intent to kill Sherry that evening.

After Crow killed Sherry, he stated that he dismembered her and disposed of her body parts in multiple lakes in the Ocala National Forest.

Because Crow made statements during his testimony that only the killer could have known, detectives believe Crow murdered Sherry Yon Petersen and disposed of her body, which was not recovered.

“There are always missing pieces to these cases that we need to put together,” said Sgt. Donald Buie. “We never stopped searching for that missing piece, and in this case, a key decision had to be made by prosecutors and Sherry’s family so we could get answers for all of our questions developed throughout the years. We hope this resolution brings closure to the family, and that Sherry’s soul can now be at peace.”

Sherry’s sisters, Linda Hicks and Mary Curry said in a statement, “We would like to say how thankful we are that with God’s help and with the caring work of Sgt. Buie that we were finally able to find out what happened to our sister, Sherry. She died in such a horrific manner, but we are just thankful that our Mother was in heaven with God and not here on earth when she found out how truly horrible it was for her. We will have to live with this news for the rest of our lives, but maybe now we can start to heal. There truly is no more hope.”