On August 23, 1990, 22-year-old Cheryl Henry and her 21-year-old boyfriend, Andy Atkinson, were brutally murdered in an undeveloped, wooded area of western Harris County in Houston, Texas. Both victims had been tied with a rope and their throats slashed. Cheryl had also been raped.
I wanted to write a blog post about this case that would help capture the emotional trauma inflicted on these two families by some unknown monster. But when I read the paragraphs below, I knew there was nothing I could say that would be as powerful as the words of Cheryl’s sister Arielle and father Bob, and Andy’s mother, Ann Fowler. They graciously gave me permission to share their thoughts with you.
Cheryl Lynn Henry
By: Her Sister, Arielle and
Her Father, Bob Henry
Who Is My Sister?
"They told me her name was Cheryl; well, I guess it still is. Anyway, they said she was kinda like a leader when she was a little girl. You know, the kind of person that just takes over when something needs to be done and helps everyone to be happy. They said she was nice and had lots and lots of friends and boyfriends. They said the funeral was huge - standing room only - so they must have all been there.
Her mother told me once that Cheryl was jumping up and down on the trash can outside and fell. (I think it was a trash can.) She got hurt real bad. She went to the doctor and was better real soon. Cheryl's dad (he's my dad, too) told me she was jumping on something and her hoop earring caught on something and ripped right out of her ear! I haven't heard any other stories about Cheryl jumping, falling and getting hurt, so she must have gotten better as she grew up. She was 22 when she died.
I've seen pictures of Cheryl and she was really, really pretty. Her hair was naturally blonde - not just blonde, but kinda whitish blonde. And her eyes were dark brown. And she was always smiling and laughing - even in videos. I don't look like her much. I look more like my mom and Shane mixed together. Shane is Cheryl's sister, who is still very mad that no one has been caught yet.
I don't remember anything about Cheryl, so other people have told me things. That helps, but they can't talk like her, or walk or laugh like her. I kinda always ask myself, "Who is my sister?"...because I never got to play or shop with her. I never got to go camping or jumping with her. You have to do stuff together to get to know someone.
But, I was only 6 months old when Cheryl died...twenty years ago. There's just one picture of her and me; she's holding me after I was born. I have it in a silver frame on the dresser. I wish there were more to put there or on the walls. There should have been more. There really should have been more."
Houston, August 23, 1990 - someone walked into my daughter's life, pulled her out of the car, took her into the woods, tortured her, tied her hands behind her back, cut her jaw and throat ...then sexually assaulted her. He covered her lifeless body with old boards ...then ran away as fast as he could. Coward!
She was my "blonde bombshell", (a term of endearment from the time she was a little girl) my oldest. She was happy in the days leading up to her last one. Cheryl and my daughter, Shane, were set to move into an apartment together that weekend.
She had a new boyfriend that some considered to be "the one". His name was Andy Atkinson...and he was her date that night. The coward who walked into Cheryl's life ended Andy's, too. He pulled Andy into the woods, tied him to a tree, viciously slashed his throat, and then ran away as fast as he could. Coward!
Houston's media pegged their double murder as the "Lover's Lane Killings". I go numb when I see those words. My heart starts racing and my mouth gets dry. The tears of grief quickly turn into outrage and madness. I hide my pain alone by verbal outbursts. Then I calm myself down by focusing on one thing...one thing only: He'll get his. His day is coming. He will pay for what he did to these young people. He will pay.
I am Cheryl's father. I should have been there to protect my "blonde bombshell". I will never get over the fact that I wasn't. That is the worst part; I wasn't there for my daughter. I wasn't there.
Cheryl Lynn Henry is Arielle's sister. She always will be. They would have been great pals.
If anyone has information about the murders of my daughter, Cheryl and her boyfriend, Andy, please contact Detective Mike Miller - Houston Police Department at (713) 308-3946 or (713) 222-TIPS.
America's Most Wanted will be featuring Cheryl and Andy's story sometime during the month of October. Citizens Against Homicide will provide updates regarding an airing date on their website.
Garland Andrew “Andy” Atkinson
By: His Mother, Ann Fowler
Twenty years ago on Friday, August 24, 1990, I felt like my life had ended. My father called me and said he had terrible news. I said..."It's not about Andy!" He said, "Yes". I asked my father if Andy was okay; he responded, "No. He is dead." I was at work and dropped the phone. Moments later, I called my best friend to pick me up. After finding out what had happened, my life, and the lives of many others, changed forever.
Andy was born on September 6, 1968, in Fayetteville, North Carolina. He was a very happy baby; he hardly ever cried. He loved his baths in his tiny baby bathtub. We would put him in his jumper and he would hop on one leg forever, smiling the whole time. One Christmas, he was so excited, because Santa brought him magic tricks. He really liked magic.
As Andy grew older, he excelled in sports; baseball, football and golf. He had great athletic abilities. Music was another one of his favorite things.
Andy had the desire to be a model. He had beautiful blonde hair, green eyes and a smile you could never forget. The summer before he died, he and a group of his friends went to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and started a portfolio of pictures with Andy on the beach. The ocean was a beautiful background. When he died, the photographer presented us (Andy's father, Garland, his grandmother and I) with a photo album of these pictures. That album is my most precious possession. He was very handsome.
Andy loved the beach. Once, when he was about ten years old, he went to Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina and, under close supervision and a life preserver, was able to go out in the ocean on a hobi-kat. He thought this was the greatest thing he had ever done.
Andy was an only child, but he had a very special first cousin, Timmy Godwin, who was like a brother to him. They grew up together. Timmy named his first son after Andy; Tucker Andrew.
My son was very easy to love; he was compassionate, easy going and loved by many. He will be forever missed. I think of him every day. I have had great difficulty seeing what others have, what I will never have, children and grandchildren.
I am so grateful for Citizens Against Homicide and Cheryl Henry's father, Bob, for bringing public attention to our case. Someone once wrote, "Justice may be delayed, but not denied". It is time to find the monster that ended two beautiful, innocent, young lives. They were just beginning the journey.
Again, if anyone has information that could help us find answers and justice, please contact Detective Mike Miller - Houston Police Department at (713) 308-3946 or (713) 222-TIPS.