Family & police struggle with lack of clues in cold case

Published 08/06 2013 03:33PM

Updated 08/06 2013 03:38PM

DECATUR -- It's been 19-years since a woman was murdered. Now a reward is breathing new life into her cold case. The Macon County Sheriff's Department is offering $10,000 to anyone with information about Sherry Lewis' murder.

It's a step the Lewis family says they've waited too long to see. WCIA-3's Amanda Porterfield spoke to her twin sister who says she won't go another year with the case unsolved.

The only thing which would help Terry Lewis heal is justice for the murder of her identical twin.

"Sherry was half of my soul. I feel like half my soul was murdered and I will never get that back."

Sherry Lewis was supposed to meet her sister at the Decatur Celebration. They went together every year, but on August 5, 1994, she never showed up.

"I was down here looking for her all evening and then, when I got home later, I found out she was dead."

Sherry was a well-known real estate agent. Her sister says, that evening, she had one last appointment on Finch Drive.

Her body was found inside the house she was showing. Investigators say someone beat and strangled her to death.

"Sleep was the only thing that took away the pain. That's when you wake up, you think about how miserable you feel because you are suffering the loss of your twin."

As initial leads dried up, investigators say the case went cold. But, over the years, Terry Lewis says she's fought to keep her sister's murder on the minds of everyone, including police.

"I blame Holsapple's administration for this case going so long unsolved. He kept saying he was optimistic the case was going to be solved. Well, here we are 19-years later."

But, Jon Butts was part of that administration. In fact, he, along with current Sheriff Jerry Schneider, responded to the scene that night and investigated the case. Lewis' family says, at the time, they made mistakes and didn't investigate enough.

"At that time, detectives and responding deputies and crime scene technicians did the best we could based on what we had."

Butts says this case is personal. He's a Lieutenant now, and even though he's assigned other detectives to work on this crime, he still combs through the files hoping to catch something he missed.

"There are some days I come in here and wish there was a voice-mail on my phone saying, 'I would like to speak with you on this case.' We do not have a suspect. We have some ideas and some names that we hold close to us because we feel that those names are very important to this case."

In 2012, detectives were able to identify pieces of evidence from the scene. They analyzed it to identify someone who'd been in the house. Now, because of a $10,0000 reward from an anonymous donor, they've got another name and are doing interviews this week.

"I'm hoping it could be solved before the 20th anniversary."

"I can tell you, in the next year, our office, the Illinois State Police, are going to try to make that request come true."

With half a soul, the only option for Terry Lewis is hope that promise is kept. Lt. Butts says no piece of information is too small to call in and hopes people find the courage to come forward.

In order for someone to get the reward money, the tip has to lead to an arrest or charge. People have until August 31 to call with a lead.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers. You can remain anonymous and may earn a cash reward.

Decatur & Macon County Crime Stoppers
(217) 423 - TIPS
Text: DPD333 + info to CRIMES (274637)

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