Left and Center: Cheryl circa, 1974
Right: Age Progressed to age 35
Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance
Missing Since: May 31, 1974
Missing From: Aurora, Ontario, Canada
Classification: Non-Family Abduction
Date Of Birth: July 25, 1966
Age: 7 years old
Height and Weight: 4’0″ and 51 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian Female, Blonde hair, Blue eyes, Cheryl was described as having a medium build at the time of her 1974 disappearance, her hair was said to be wavy and was approximately shoulder length, she had a fair complexion
Clothing/Jewelry Description: A red nylon coat, a dark brown check sweater, a pair of dark brown check pants, a pair of white leather shoes, Cheryl was wearing a gold chain necklace with a medallion on it, she was carrying a brown paper bag with a pair of white pajamas with a red floral design at the time of her disappearance
NCMEC Number: RCMP0100680
Details of Disappearance
Cheryl was last seen in Aurora, Ontario on May 31st 1974. She had dinner and then at 6:30 pm, she asked her mother, Patricia Hanson, if she could go to her cousin, Linda Van Hornes residence for a sleepover. At first, Patricia said no to her daughter but Cheryl was adamant about going and continued to ask for permission until her mother relented and allowed her to go. Cheryl packed her pajamas a brown paper bag and prepared for the sleepover before leaving her residence located on Bloomington Road near Blue Hills Academy.
The walk to Linda’s house was approximately ten minutes long but Cheryl never made it to the house. Patricia stated she became worried when she found out that her daughter never arrived when she called the cousins house. She feared that she might’ve been hit by a car. She went outside to looked for her but was unable to locate her. She reported Cheryl as missing when she couldn’t find her. She has never been seen or heard from since.
Cheryl’s disappearance prompted a very large and extensive search for her. Over 1,000 people were a part of the efforts to locate her. They sent out 58 teams of people to search for the child and posted a rewards of $10,000 for her safe return. In total, the police, thousands of volunteers, CB radio operators, aircrafts, and Queens York Militia units participated in the search efforts. Those involved in the case searched the areas near her home and surrounding areas but they were unable to locate any evidence of her whereabouts. Investigators believe Cheryl was abducted by a non family member. After days of searching, they concluded that she likely got into a car and was taken out of the area.
For quite some years, investigators had little to no leads in Cheryl’s disappearance and they had no suspects in her disappearance. In 1976, convicted rapist Donald Harry Everingham confessed to being responsible for Cheryl’s abduction and murder. Everingham is believed to be responsible for various assaults, murders, and disappearances in Ontario during the 1970s.
He was charged with the indecent assault causing bodily harm to an 18 year old woman who was a student in high school in Etobicoke. The assault occurred on July 10th 1974. The woman was riding her bike at approximately 11:15 pm when Donald jumped from his car and knocked her down. He threatened to slit her throat if she didn’t follow him to his car but she managed to punch him in the face and escape.
On August 26th 1974. an eight year old girl was riding her bicycle towards her residence along a lane off Highway 26 near Craigleith when a car drove past her. The car then turned around and stopped right beside her before a man emerged from the vehicle and struck her over the head. He dragged her into the car and sped off. While driving down the highway, the man undressed and forced the girl to do so as well.
He forced the girl to do indecent acts of sexual nature. When they were 20 miles away in the rural countryside, he threatened her with a knife and then performed more disgusting acts upon this girl. She stated that he gave her a choice of submitting to him or he would kill her. The girl stated she submitted to him “because I did not want to die.” When the man finished abusing her, he knotted a stocking around her neck. This caused her to faint. The man believed she was dead and threw her by one arm into the forest before driving off.
The girl said she walked to the road and tried to flag someone down so they could help her. Doris McGowan said she saw the girl but didn’t stop because she assumed the child was just “a camper streaking.” After several hours, the girl was found by Constable James Jenkins of the Ontario Provincial Police. He said he called repeatedly to the girl boy she wouldn’t respond and he assumed she was dead. When he picked her up, the girl woke up and said “I’ve been asleep.”
The girl was taken to the police detachment where the stocking around her neck was photographed. She was then taken to the hospital where the stocking was removed with surgical scissors. The girl was bleeding from the brutal rape and while she did receive corrective surgery the day after the attack, doctors said she would need more surgery as an adult before she could have any sexual relations or even give birth to a child.
When police were tasked with identifying the kidnapper and rapist, the girl was able to remember that she was raped on a blue towel and that after the man tied the stocking around her neck, she saw him shake out the towel. Police found a blue terrycloth towel near the girls clothing which were scattered along a countryside road approximately four miles away from where her attacker dumped her.
A Woodbridge woman, Lillian Young, was able to identify the towel as belonging to Donald who was 28 years old at the time of the crime and based in Toronto. He was arrested and charged with rape, forcible seizure, and attempted murder in the girls abduction. Lillian later testified that Donald told her he wanted to kill three people by November 1974 and it made her very uncomfortable.
Donald was eventually convicted of both crimes and would’ve faced a life sentence in prison if found guilty but he was found not guilty by reasons of insanity on the charges. He was committed to the Penetanguishene Mental Health Care Centre. If he is too ever be released, he could serve a life sentence for the crimes. In March of 1975, Everingham was officially named as a possible suspect in Cheryl’s disappearance and authorities sought to question him.
He confessed that he picked Cheryl up on the street she was walking on at approximately the same time she disappeared which was 6:30 pm and asked her if she believed in god before he murdered her. He was apparently intoxicated at the time he allegedly killed Cheryl. Donald stated he had thrown Cheryl’s body over a split rail fence and into a 200-acre field. He was also able to describe what Cheryl was wearing when she was abducted.
Everingham drew a crude map of the are where he allegedly dumped her remains but an extensive search of the land uncovered no evidence relating to her disappearance. He also allegedly recanted his confession to killing Cheryl. Her alleged murder wasn’t the only one he had confessed to. He also admitted to being responsible for the brutal murder of 23 year old Monique Vallet who was a French tourist.
Monique was found partially nude and strangled to death in a ditch on July 30th 1974 by berry pickers near Collingwood. A mans sock was found tied around her neck. He admitted that on the day of Monique’s death, he was driving with a friend when he felt the impulse to kill someone. He dropped his friend off and then picked up Monique who was hitchhiking at the time of her murder. He killed her and then dumped her in the ditch afterwards.
Everingham also allegedly admitted to being responsible for the killings of a Toronto prostitute and a man but his statements regarding those crimes were inconsistent. According to the William Parker, a lawyer for the Ontario attorney generals department, Donald would not be prosecuted for the four murders he confessed to. It’s possible he was involved in the 1972 disappearance of Ingrid Bauer. She disappeared from Kleinburg, Ontario on August 16th 1972 while attempting to travel to her boyfriends home and hasn’t been seen since.
Authorities who are investigating Cheryl’s disappearance are unsure if he was truly involved in the case or not. They have maintained that he remains a person of interest in the case and he was unable to provide an alibi for the time she went missing. He is currently in his 70s and is located in a mental facility somewhere in Canada. He has never been criminally held accountable for any other crimes besides the two assaults he committed after Cheryl’s disappearance.
At the time of her disappearance, Cheryl was said to live her dolls and reading books. She enjoyed hanging out with her cousins as well. She lived on a farm with her two brothers as well as her parents in 1974. Her disappearance had a heavy impact on her family and her parents ￼became nervous to even let their remaining children outside or to school. They later moved to Nova Scotia. Cheryl’s family hold out hope that she will be located and the person responsible for taking her will be brought to justice. Her abduction remains unsolved and foul play is suspected.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
York Regional Police 905-830-0303
PorchlightCanada for the Missing and Unidentified
Cold Comfort – Toronto Sun 09/2002
Nicoll Investigations – Ontario Cold Cases