Cheryl Pitre Murder Mystery

Around 9 p.m. on Saturday, October 15, 1988, Cheryl Pitre, a 33-year-old woman, reached for a candy bar from the display within PJ’s Market. PJ’s Market was a small convenience store in Port Orchard, Washington, where Cheryl was the cashier. Without scanning the candy bar, Cheryl handed it to a female college student who had recently entered the store to converse with her. This student had temporarily relocated next door to PJ’s Market and, upon meeting Cheryl, had quickly formed a strong connection with her. Consequently, it became a regular occurrence for her to visit the Market virtually every evening and engage in extended conversations with Cheryl, sometimes lasting for hours.

During these interactions, the student would discuss her school day and personal life and share her problems and secrets with Cheryl. Cheryl had, in essence, become the student’s confidante, and astonishingly, she had a similar effect on many other people. Cheryl was renowned for her exceptional kindness, empathy, and ability to listen attentively without passing judgment or engaging in gossip. Additionally, Cheryl possessed a disarmingly quirky sense of humor that never failed to elicit laughter. Her propensity for finding humor in her jokes put people at ease around her, and they usually left their interactions with Cheryl in high spirits.

On this evening, as the students ventured into the Market, they told Cheryl they had discovered an apartment in Port Orchard where they planned to relocate. Consequently, they would be vacating their current residence at PJ’s. However, the student disclosed their financial constraints, acknowledging the challenge of furnishing this new apartment. Even acquiring groceries seemed like a daunting task.

Upon hearing this, Cheryl initially extended her congratulations to the student. Subsequently, she generously offered to share some of her furniture since she had excess, which would aid in furnishing the apartment. Additionally, Cheryl spontaneously picked up a chocolate bar from the shelf and gifted it to the students, symbolizing their first grocery item.

The student was deeply touched by Cheryl’s benevolence and attempted to decline, insisting they keep the furniture and the chocolate or pay for them. Nevertheless, Cheryl remained resolute, assuring the students that she would deliver the furniture the following day and encouraging them to accept the candy bar as a token of goodwill.

Finally, the student relented, expressing profuse gratitude towards Cheryl. Such acts of kindness were characteristic of Cheryl, who, despite being a single mother raising a nine-year-old girl and a baby boy, worked two jobs—weekends at PJ’s Market and weekdays at a Ford car dealership—to make ends meet. Despite her demanding schedule, Cheryl always found time to assist others, whether aiding a colleague with a resume or baking treats for an ailing friend from church. Cheryl’s commitment was rooted in her desire to help those around her.

The region of Port Orchard, where Cheryl resided, was just approximately an hour’s drive from the bustling metropolis of Seattle. However, to Cheryl, this particular section of Port Orchard appeared considerably more distant than that. She dwelled in a petite azure single-level dwelling that was discreetly nestled amidst the surrounding woods, enveloped by towering trees. The path leading to her abode was markedly rustic and meandering, contributing to seclusion in her living environment. It undeniably possessed scenic beauty, yet regrettably, it was also part of a less favorable neighborhood. A tragic incident occurred near Cheryl’s residence just a year earlier when a man was fatally shot. Nevertheless, this dwelling was all she could afford; Cheryl lived in poverty and possessed scarce belongings. Nonetheless, whatever she did have, she was more inclined to share with others than hoard for herself.

In due course, Cheryl conveyed to the college student that she genuinely needed to return to attending to other customers and fulfill her job duties instead of merely engaging in extended conversation. The student then expressed gratitude, saying, ‘Thank you once more for the candy and the generous offer of complimentary furniture.’ Subsequently, the student departed from the store. At this juncture, Cheryl reached into her pocket, retrieved some coins, and placed them in the cash register to cover the cost of the candy bar, despite being aware that she could have easily given away the candy without payment. Cheryl consistently upheld her commitment to honesty and intended to settle the candy’s cost.

Cheryl operated the cash register until 11 p.m. that evening, conversing with numerous loyal customers who entered and exited the store. Subsequently, at 11 p.m., Cheryl secured the front entrance, followed by a thorough audit of the cash register to ensure its balance and the presence of all the cash. By 11:15, she dialed her supervisor to provide a reassuring report on her successful shift and to notify them that she was concluding her work for the night.

Once Cheryl departed and secured the shop, she proceeded to her worn-out silver sedan parked outdoors. Subsequently, she initiated her journey homeward, fully aware that she’d return to PJ’s the following morning promptly at its 7 a.m. opening. Simultaneously, as Cheryl concluded her night and headed home, her former spouse, Roland Pitre, residing on the opposite end of town, brimmed with enthusiasm; tonight, she marked Roland’s opportunity to reclaim Cheryl’s heart.

Roland glanced at his wristwatch and noticed it was just a little past 11 p.m., signaling that the moment was approaching. When he unveiled his grand surprise, he envisioned the joy that would light up Cheryl’s face. She would rush towards him, and he would embrace her, confessing the depth of his love for her, a love that had always been constant.

The intricacies of how Roland would convey his elaborate plan to reconcile with his former partner to his current girlfriend still eluded him, but he anticipated resolving that dilemma later. The paramount objective for Roland was to demonstrate to Cheryl how erroneous and foolish he had been, underscoring how much he yearned for her, just as much as she longed for him. Additionally, he knew their children would be overjoyed if their parents reunited.

During that weekend, Roland had taken on the responsibility of caring for their son and daughter, and he had firsthand observed the profound sadness in his daughter’s demeanor due to the unfortunate separation of her parents.

Roland and Cheryl shared an intricate past, yet Roland recognized that their separation largely stemmed from his actions. Their paths crossed approximately 12 years ago when Roland was on military leave. Back then, Roland held the rank of Marine sergeant and excelled as a Judo instructor. His appeal extended beyond his striking looks and charisma, as he grew up in a Cajun French family near New Orleans, possessing a charming Creole accent. Despite his captivating exterior, Roland proved to be a flawed romantic partner. He strayed and wove intricate falsehoods to conceal his infidelity in every relationship he had been in.

Nevertheless, Cheryl had fallen deeply in love with Roland. Part of this affection stemmed from her insecurities. With her lengthy brown locks, captivating blue eyes, and remarkable personality, Cheryl still viewed herself as unremarkable in appearance. She carried a perception of being slightly overweight and felt that men did not find her particularly attractive. When Roland, a man who had previously been involved with overtly glamorous and stunning women, showed genuine interest in her, it felt miraculous. Cheryl considered herself exceptionally fortunate.

So Roland and Cheryl entered into matrimony, bringing their daughter together. Almost immediately afterward, Roland commenced an affair, betraying Cheryl. Their marriage ended in divorce eight years prior, in 1980. It was at this juncture that Roland, quite recklessly, disrupted his life entirely. The woman with whom Roland had an affair was also wedded. Consequently, Roland concocted a scheme to eliminate her spouse. The husband met his tragic demise. However, during Roland’s trial, the prosecutors struggled to discern his precise involvement in the murder. It remained uncertain whether he was the actual perpetrator or

Oddly enough, it was during this period that Roland found himself incarcerated, and during this time, he and Cheryl somewhat reconciled. While Roland served his time behind bars, he experienced an epiphany, recognizing Cheryl as the most significant person in his life, and he deeply regretted his past mistakes. Consequently, he initiated a series of heartfelt letters, pouring out his love and remorse for his infidelity. He also tried to clarify that the charges he had been convicted of concerning the murder were unjustly wronged by the justice system.

Cheryl, in turn, began responding to Roland’s letters, confessing that she still loved him. Eventually, they rekindled their romance, remarrying while Roland was still incarcerated. Upon his release, Roland relocated to Port Orchard to live with Cheryl and their daughter, and later, they welcomed another child, their son. Additionally, Roland pursued a nursing education.

For a while, this reconstituted family thrived, and everything seemed harmonious. Unfortunately, Roland eventually reverted to his unfaithful behavior, causing the couple to separate once more and live apart. Fast-forward to the night of October 15, 1988, Roland impatiently awaited an opportunity to win Cheryl back. He checked his watch, which read 11:30 p.m., and realized it was time to move. Hastily rising from his seat, he suddenly felt lightheaded, leading to him collapsing onto the couch and losing consciousness.

Roland had a history of serious blood pressure problems, sometimes causing dizziness and fainting when he stood up too quickly. This episode was no exception. After regaining partial consciousness, he found himself in a mental haze. Instead of executing his grand plan to win Cheryl back, he wandered upstairs and, in his befuddled state, climbed into bed with his girlfriend, where he drifted into a deep slumber for the remainder of the night.

Cheryl was expected to return to PJ’s Market at 7 a.m. She was scheduled to commence store operations and deliver that furniture to the college students. Nevertheless, when the initial customers, which included the college students, reached PJ’s Market, they observed that the entrance was securely locked, and the interior lights remained extinguished. All of these patrons were quite familiar with Cheryl, and they held her in high regard. They were aware that she was supposed to have arrived by that time. This departure from her usual punctuality was entirely out of character for Cheryl. Consequently, it didn’t take long before these loyal customers started dialing Cheryl’s home number. Regrettably, Cheryl did not answer any of the calls. However, it’s important to note that this incident occurred in 1988 when cell phones were not prevalent; people relied on landlines. It was normal to make repeated calls to someone without them answering, as it simply meant they were not at home.

At the outset, individuals in Port Orchard initially presumed that a logical justification must exist for Cheryl’s absence from work. Perhaps there was a familial crisis, and her vehicle failed to commence, but there had to be a plausible explanation for her non-attendance.

That evening, Cheryl failed to arrive at Roland and his girlfriend’s residence to retrieve her daughter and son. Roland remained unaware that Cheryl had been absent from work throughout the day, leading him to assume that Cheryl might simply be running behind schedule. However, as 6:30 p.m. approached, Cheryl’s absence persisted without any communication from her. Roland eventually dialed Cheryl’s number, but she did not respond. Consequently, Roland left a cheerful message on Cheryl’s answering machine and patiently awaited her return call.

However, despite the upbeat tone of Roland’s message, it somewhat revealed his genuine emotions. Roland was far from content that morning when he awoke and realized he had overslept, missing the crucial opportunity to win Cheryl back. He felt profoundly foolish; he had been given this chance to reclaim and squandered her heart. As the next few hours passed without any response from Cheryl, Roland shifted from his missed opportunity to reunite with his ex-wife to growing concern about her whereabouts and well-being. Where could she be? What could be happening?

On that fateful night, Roland belatedly made a distress call to the authorities, expressing his concern over Cheryl’s sudden absence. Responding to the ring, a sheriff’s deputy arrived at Roland’s residence to document the situation, after which Roland willingly handed over a spare key to Cheryl’s domicile. With the deputy equipped with the key, he proceeded to Cheryl’s abode, where an eerie silence pervaded the surroundings. He knocked on the door, receiving no response, prompting him to employ the spare key for entry.

Upon gaining access, the deputy observed that the interior of Cheryl’s home remained impeccably orderly, devoid of any signs of turmoil or disruption. Undeterred, the deputy ventured towards Cheryl’s answering machine, where he noticed a blinking indicator indicative of unheard messages. He pressed the playback button, and the initial letter emanated from Cheryl’s daughter, offering warm wishes for the night and professing her affection. Subsequently, a series of letters from PJ’s Market customers inquired about Cheryl’s absence from work and her well-being.

Cheryl’s employer also left a message inquiring about her unexplained absence from her job. A poignant message from Roland followed, expressing his concern as Cheryl had not arrived to collect their children. As the deputy listened to the final note, an unsettling feeling washed over him, signaling that something of grave significance had transpired.

The final communication came from an unfamiliar individual reaching out to Cheryl. They informed her, “Hello, I came across your handbag adrift in Lake Union, close to Seattle. It’s uncertain whether it was taken and discarded here or if you happened to be in the vicinity and accidentally left it in the water. Nevertheless, I’m eager to return the handbag to you.” The anonymous person included a contact number for Cheryl to reach out and arrange the retrieval of her handbag.

Port Orchard was merely an hour from Lake Union, Cheryl’s residence. However, there existed no compelling rationale for her presence near Lake Union. Due to her schedule and financial constraints, Cheryl refrained from embarking on excursions, rendering even brief trips, such as the one-hour journey to Lake Union, unfeasible. Cheryl’s entire existence revolved around Port Orchard, where her priorities encompassed her children, her employment, and her involvement in the church. Consequently, the presence of Cheryl’s handbag in Lake Union defied logical explanation. Nevertheless, investigators from Port Orchard, in collaboration with the Seattle police force, joined forces to venture to Lake Union and initiate a search for Cheryl’s vehicle. She possibly had made the trip and accidentally misplaced her purse in the water, raising the prospect that she might still be nearby.

Lake Union teems with activity, teeming with numerous individuals and enterprises residing right along the water’s edge. Additionally, even more people live directly on the water in floating homes. Consequently, there were countless vehicles scattered throughout Lake Union. The search for Cheryl’s inconspicuous silver sedan proved time-consuming. However, on the night of October 19, three days after Cheryl had failed to appear at PJ’s Market for its 7 a.m. opening, the police located her vehicle near Lake Union. Initially, it appeared that Cheryl had driven there and abandoned her car for some inexplicable reason, as there were no indications of a struggle either inside or outside the vehicle. The car was not unusual; it was merely parked in a lot. Yet, when authorities circled to the car’s vehicle and employed a screwdriver to open the trunk, they promptly realized this couldn’t have been the case. Cheryl was lifeless and subjected to a fatal beating inside the trunk.

The examination regarding Cheryl’s homicide would span over a decade. Law enforcement commenced their inquiry with Roland for two primary reasons: firstly, he stood as Cheryl’s former spouse, and secondly, owing to Roland’s prior conviction related to a homicide, albeit the precise nature of his involvement remained shrouded in uncertainty. Nevertheless, Roland possessed an unassailable alibi. Multiple witnesses could attest to his absence from Lake Union or proximity to Cheryl on the fateful night of her demise. Upon discovering the fate of his former spouse, Roland demonstrated significant cooperation with the authorities, exhibiting profound distress and agitation.

So, Roland swiftly authorized the necessary documents for detectives to enter his residence and thoroughly search his belongings. Concurrently, he initiated regular communication with the police, offering any information he could recall. Among his statements was an unusual anecdote about a young man shadowing Cheryl in the days leading up to her tragic demise. Although Roland lacked extensive details, he sensed an unsettling presence around this individual.

Unfortunately, Roland’s account primarily centered around the suspicion of someone tailing Cheryl, making it challenging for the police to pursue this lead comprehensively. Nonetheless, law enforcement diligently interviewed virtually every person in Cheryl’s life, including her friends, family, coworkers at the Ford dealership, and patrons of PJ’s Market. They also consulted with individuals from her church who were acquainted with her. Surprisingly, no one emerged as a highly suspicious figure.

Everyone concurred that Cheryl was exceptional and cherished by virtually everyone who knew her. It remained incomprehensible why anyone would harbor ill intentions towards her.

However, a year following Cheryl’s demise, law enforcement finally received a pivotal lead in this investigation. A newspaper reporter contacted the authorities, disclosing that an unidentified young man had reached him, admitting to Cheryl’s murder before abruptly disconnecting without revealing his identity, whereabouts, or any means of reestablishing contact. This individual appeared to have only called to unburden themselves of this enormous secret, albeit somewhat anonymously. The police managed to persuade the journalist to compose a news article recounting the peculiar call, hoping it might lure out the young man who had confessed. Subsequently, when this piece was published in the newspaper, one of Cheryl’s former colleagues at the car dealership contacted the police, saying, “There was a young man who used to work at our dealership alongside Cheryl, and he was undeniably unsettling and seemed infatuated with her.”

The colleague mentioned that this individual’s name was Allby Broughtsweller, and he was employed in the garage. He had gained a reputation as an eccentric person with a short fuse, which made all the female coworkers uncomfortable. This coworker informed the authorities that Cheryl had assisted Allby Broughtsweller with his CV before her tragic demise. During their collaboration, Allby Broughtsweller developed an unusual fixation on Cheryl. Subsequently, when the police started investigating Allby Broughtsweller, they uncovered that he had resigned from his position at the dealership one day before Cheryl disappeared. A few days later, Cheryl was discovered murdered. A coworker of Cheryl reported witnessing Allby Broughtsweller with a significant laceration on his hand, which he had covered with a large bandage.

Investigators also revealed that Allby’s father resided close to PJ’s Market, while Allby’s mother lived near where Cheryl’s car had been discovered near Lake Union. Suddenly, Roland’s previously peculiar account of an unknown young man shadowing Cheryl before her murder began to make perfect sense. It appeared that Allby was the enigmatic youth Roland had referenced. When detectives located Allby, he displayed a surly and entirely uncooperative demeanor. However, with persistence, law enforcement managed to coax him into speaking, and he eventually revealed that he had injured his hand while fishing. Consequently, the police gathered all the individuals Allby claimed he had been fishing with during his hand injury. In separate interviews, each individual corroborated Allby’s account as truthful.

Additionally, law enforcement was aware that despite the detailed appearance of Allby appearing highly suspicious, there was not a solitary trace of concrete evidence connecting him to Cheryl’s demise. Consequently, Allby was promptly released, and the police were at an impasse in this investigation. In reality, the case became entirely stagnant at this juncture. Then, in 2002, a remarkable turn of events occurred. Fourteen years after Cheryl’s tragic death, an inmate in prison managed to convey information to the police, revealing that he knew precisely about Cheryl’s murderer. He identified the culprit as Frederick J. McKee, incarcerated for involvement in methamphetamine production.

We lack precise knowledge about how this inmate became aware that Frederick was the perpetrator, but this incarcerated individual who contacted the authorities shared a cell with Frederick McKee. Consequently, he probably overheard Frederick making incriminating remarks. Subsequently, this inmate notified the police, leading to the collection of a DNA sample from McKee. This sample was then compared to the skin cells discovered on the duct tape utilized to restrain Cheryl’s hands during her murder. Astonishingly, it was a perfect match, conclusively identifying Frederick as the murderer. However, as the police delved deeper into the case, they swiftly realized that Frederick’s gruesome killing of Cheryl was not the most shocking aspect of the narrative. The valid account of what transpired with Cheryl Pitre was so unbelievably absurd that newspapers nationwide immediately began reporting on it. It was adapted into a documentary on true crime; even a renowned author penned a book on the subject.

I must emphasize this narrative indeed possessed an utterly gripping quality. Initially, I’ll present you with the details of Cheryl’s ordeal, and subsequently, I’ll unveil the bewildering and sorrowful rationale behind these events that occurred to Cheryl. In the late hours of October 15, 1988, the fateful evening Cheryl vanished, Frederick J. McKee, a methamphetamine producer, launched a surprise attack on Cheryl as she returned home from PJ’s Market. The precise location of this ambush remains uncertain, but it is presumed to have occurred right outside Cheryl’s residence. Following the trap, he compelled her into the trunk of her vehicle, restraining her hands before subjecting her to a brutal assault. Judging from her injuries, Cheryl mounted a fierce resistance, vigorously kicking and striking in a valiant effort to escape the confines of the trunk. Nonetheless, Frederick eventually resorted to using the metallic structure of the box to attack Cheryl’s face relentlessly, finally subduing her and tragically leading to her demise.

After her demise, he sealed the trunk with Cheryl trapped inside her vehicle. Subsequently, he piloted her car to Lake Union, eventually deserting the vehicle with Cheryl still imprisoned, tossing her purse into the water. Nevertheless, this dreadful night was not meant to unfold in this manner. Concurrently, while Cheryl was concluding her duties at PJ’s Market and embarking on her journey home, an entirely different scenario unfolded in the background. Her former spouse, Roland, situated on the opposite side of the city, nervously glanced at his wristwatch, anticipating the opportune moment to execute the grand scheme intended to win Cheryl back.

Roland’s grand scheme involved the rescue of Cheryl’s life. He had enlisted the help of his friend, Frederick J. McKee, the individual he had encountered while incarcerated and known for his meth-cooking skills. Roland had provided Frederick with an extra key to Cheryl’s residence. Roland’s plan required Frederick to covertly enter Cheryl’s home before 11 p.m., anticipating her return from work. Upon her arrival, Frederick was tasked with surprising her, restraining her, and carrying out an abduction. Roland had accompanied Frederick to a hardware store to procure the rope and duct tape necessary for Cheryl’s binding.

However, when Frederick reached the crucial moment of physically removing Cheryl from her home to an undisclosed location, Roland intended to intervene heroically and save the day.

Roland had meticulously contemplated how this moment would unfold. He intended to forcefully open the front door, swiftly enter, and vehemently confront McKee, declaring, “You cannot proceed with this!” He would then employ his Judo expertise to subdue McKee, forcing him to retreat in fear. At that juncture, Roland would liberate Cheryl, and she would tightly embrace him, exclaiming, “Oh, my goodness, you rescued me. I love you. I need you.” Subsequently, Roland was confident they would reconcile and embark on a happily-ever-after journey.

Nevertheless, on the night of October 15 at 11:30, as Roland checked his watch and realized it was time to rescue his former wife, he sprang up from the couch with such enthusiasm that he experienced one of his recurring episodes of low blood pressure, causing him to lose consciousness. When he regained his senses sometime later, instead of heading out to definitively thwart the abduction, Roland trudged upstairs and went to sleep.

And this presented a genuinely significant issue as Frederick J. McKee, the meth producer, was recruited to kidnap Cheryl. He remained oblivious to the fact that this was, in fact, a ruse for Roland to intervene and rescue the situation. McKee genuinely believed that Roland desired him to abduct his spouse, and he refrained from seeking any clarifications. He responded, ‘Sure, I’ll proceed with that.’ Consequently, when Roland failed to make an appearance, Frederick carried out the actual abduction of Cheryl. During this abduction, matters spiraled out of control, ultimately leading to Frederick fatally assaulting Cheryl.

Roland and McKee both faced convictions in the Cheryl Pitre murder case. When the authorities eventually cracked this long-standing mystery, Roland was already incarcerated for attempting to abduct the child of a former spouse in a misguided attempt to win her over. Unfortunately, his plan had failed. Roland was subsequently handed a 40-year sentence in addition to the 25 years he was already serving, while McKee received a 20-year sentence.

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