Closure for family of 1989 cold case murder victim

PHILADELPHIA - March 19, 2014

"We said. 'We love you and have a good time,' and that was all. That's the last time we saw her," said Lavinia Hanible, sister.

Lavinia remembers that day in April of 1989 like it was yesterday. It was Cheryl's 33rd birthday.

She was going out to celebrate and she asked her niece to curl her hair.

"I curled my aunt's hair on her birthday and I know she was going to go meet somebody on the day of her birthday. Fifteen days later she was found murdered," said Kishia Hanible.

Cheryl had been strangled.

A month earlier police found the body of 19-year-old Ruby Ellis in a car in North Philadelphia.

A recent computer analysis matched up DNA samples from both crime scenes.

On Wednesday, police arrested 51-year-old Rudolph Churchill and charged him with both murders.

"I am so thankful that we can have some closure and get some justice and maybe she can rest in peace," said Lavinia.

And, finally, Cheryl's family is able to find some peace of their own.

Her niece, Kishia, says, when she heard Churchill had been arrested, she cried for 25 minutes and stared at his mug shot for an hour.

"Every day I looked at my aunt's picture and I wondered, 'Who did this to her? How can they get away with this? Who is this person?'" she said.

Now, she and Cheryl's two sons have the answer to the question that has haunted them for 25 years.

"I have an answer and her sons have an answer. Her sons were eight and four when she passed away," said Kishia.

Cheryl's two sons are grown men now and have children of their own. Four grand kids who never had a chance to be spoiled by their grandmother.

As for Churchill, he was arraigned Thursday morning on two counts of murder and is being held without bail.

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