Megan Emerick and Sheryl Tillinghast

Megan Emerick and Sheryl Tillinghast had a lot in common. Both were rather pretty brunettes, and their photos both resonate with a 1970s aura. Both seem to have had a strong streak of independence. Megan was attending a boarding school some 450 miles from her hometown; Sheryl was working at a reform institution 250 miles from home. They were both about the same size. They both disappeared in 1973, at the age of seventeen.

I’m not suggesting the two cases are connected; the girls disappeared over 4,500 miles apart. But looking at them, I can’t help but be struck by how much alike they seem. Why Sheryl isn’t registered with the NCMEC I don’t know. And for Megan, I wonder how the NCMEC managed to take a very attractive young woman and age-progress her into frumpy-looking middle age.

Both girls are probably dead. Authorities have a strong suspect in Megan’s case, a confessed serial killer, but he hasn’t admitted to her disappearance. Details in Sheryl’s disappearance are few and murky. Perhaps one of the inmates or former inmates at the school harmed her. Perhaps she ran away. But in that case, why did she leave behind her paychecks? Why did she never contact her family again? And why would she need to run away, since she was already living outside the family home and supporting herself?

Thirty-five years they’ve been gone. At this point we’d be very lucky to find their bodies, never mind their killers. Nevertheless, I can’t stop hoping that their families will get answers and justice.