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Kimberly's close friend and former employer, Cheryl, was one of the people who found her body

Cheryl Marie Weston was born to Joan and Benjamin Weston, on September 17, 1972, in Urbana, Illinois. Her parents, high school sweethearts, married at age eighteen and divorced by the time they were twenty. Though Joan tried to raise Cheryl on her own, she found she was ill-equipped for the responsibility of motherhood and left Cheryl in the care of her Aunt Margaret when Cheryl was barely two years old.

Cheryl, too young to remember Joan, didn't find out until her eighteenth birthday that Margaret was not her biological mother. Her optimistic disposition helped her adapt to the news, but the impact of that discovery has stayed with her all her life. She vowed if she ever had children, she would never give them up to anyone, no matter what she might have to do to care for them.

Upon graduation from Urbana High School, Cheryl decided rather than college, she would set out on an adventure to become a free-spirited individual who knew the ways of the world. She hit the road, but the experience proved to be trying and very lonely. After just three months of working day jobs and living out of her van, she'd had enough.

She was too proud to return home, where her aunt and friends would surely say "I told you so." Instead, she picked a random spot on a map — Oxford, Mississippi — to be the place she would carve out a life. Like the Midwest, she found the South easy-paced and filled with people who tried to work with what life gave them rather than complain about it all the time.

Cheryl got work in a local diner and rented a room in a boarding house outside of town, but her life lacked challenge. She needed a plan. Her boss, Red Warner, said if she learned bookkeeping, he would give her more responsibility. She took some accounting classes, and Red was true to his word. Within a few months, she was waiting tables, doing the books, and pretty much running the place.

In 2001, Red became ill suddenly and was diagnosed with colon cancer. His wife had died the year before, and he had no children, but Cheryl stepped up to handle everything. She worked tirelessly at the café and cared for Red until his death six months later. She was shocked to learn that he had left her his business as well as a small life insurance policy.

Though Cheryl had always run things successfully, Red's death took its toll, and she worried that she wouldn't be able to keep things afloat. She seriously considered selling the café and leaving Oxford, perhaps returning to Urbana for an extended visit.

As though God had been listening to her prayers, an angel by the name of Richard Dean walked into the diner one day. He was handsome, strong, and reassuring. They started talking, and the next thing Cheryl knew, he was a permanent fixture in her life.

After a short courtship, they married in March of 2002. Richard quit his job as an insurance salesman to work at the café with Cheryl. All was bliss for the first few years. Cheryl thought she was the luckiest woman in the world.

During this time, she hired Kimberly Pace, then a young college student who wanted to be a teacher. The two became fast friends despite their age difference and came to rely upon one another help and advice.

In 2005, Cheryl gave birth to her first child, Richard "Buck" Alan Dean, Jr., on November 1st. Almost immediately, her husband began to distance himself from Cheryl, complaining that between the baby and the café, she didn't have time for him. She tried harder to give him more attention, but there were only so many hours in the day.

When Buck was still in diapers, Cheryl learned she was pregnant again. She hoped this second child would bring her and Richard back together. Unfortunately, it had the opposite effect.

Richard announced he was returning to sales, saying they would need the income with another mouth to feed. He spent more and more time on the road, and when he did return, he barely spoke to her or the children.

On Christmas Day 2008, Richard called from Seattle and said he wasn't coming home. There was another woman, and he hoped there would be no hard feelings. Cheryl simply disconnected the call and never spoke to him again.

Kimberly, by now a close friend and occasional employee when she needed fast cash, stuck by Cheryl and welcomed her into her extended family. Cheryl believes she never would've made it through that dark time without Kim and her sister, Becky.

Currently, Cheryl still owns and operates the Lucky Café and raises her children, Buck and Annie. She helps to coach Annie's soccer team and is one of the Den Mothers for Buck's Boy Scout troop. Cheryl is well-liked and respected in the community and is considered a warm and caring person. In her spare time, she haunts area antique shops and putters in her garden.

 

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