The 1984 disappearance of Sherry Lynn Marler

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GREENVILLE, Ala. — Greenville is a typical small southern town with southern charm. Known as the “Camellia City,” it sits between Montgomery and Mobile, along Interstate 65, in an area known as the “Lost Highway,” in honor of Country Singer Hank Williams, Sr.

Greenville is home to approximately 8,000 residents and is one of the last places you would ever expect a crime to occur.

But that’s precisely what happened on June 6, 1984.

Sherry Lynn Marler, 12, loved to go anywhere her stepfather, Raymond Stringfellow, went. At around 9:30 a.m., the duo stopped at First National Bank in downtown Greenville so that Stringfellow could sign some papers. He parked his red truck behind a furniture store before entering the bank.

Sherry wanted something to drink, so Raymond gave her $1, and she headed to the gas station across the street. He told her to meet him back at the truck in about 15 minutes.

When he got back to the truck, Sherry was not there. He waited another 15 minutes. He knew something was wrong when she had not returned after another 10 minutes.

First, Raymond called his wife, Betty, to see if Sherry was visiting her at work, but Betty told him she had not seen her daughter.

Sherry Marler’s family reported her missing to the police at 11:46 a.m. Authorities initiated a search, but they never found her.

Raymond was the first person questioned, and police requested a polygraph test, but he declined. Police have stated he is not a suspect or person of interest.

There were reported sightings of Sherry after her disappearance.

Sherry was reportedly seen with a truck driver. One was at a truck stop in Conley, GA. Another occurred at a mall in New Orleans. Sherry appeared upset, dazed, and disheveled in the sightings, and with a man about 50 years old, 5’8″, husky build, weathered complexion, and crow’s feet around the eyes. One witness heard Sherry call him B.J.

The sightings were not confirmed, and police dismissed them due to insufficient evidence.

Thirty years later, Sherry is still missing, and her mom continues the search for her daughter.

Sherry’s stepfather died in 2003.

Update: The Berkeley County, South Carolina Sheriff’s Office said investigators have learned Marler was in the St. Stephen area near Betaw Road in the summer of 1983. She may have been spotted in the same area after she was reported missing in 1984, the sheriff’s office said in a Facebook post (Beahm, 2018).

Beahm, Anna. 2018. “South Carolina Officials Aiding in Search of AL Woman Who Went Missing in ’84”. AL.com, September 1. https://www.al.com/news/2018/08/south_carolina_officials_aidin.html (accessed September 2018).

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