NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (Aug. 23, 22022) – Friends and relatives of 38-year-old Amber Sherell packed into the Tuscarawas County Courthouse this morning to learn the fate of the woman who dumped her body.
26-year-old Cekoyia Riechers appeared before Common Pleas Court Judge Michael Ernest to be sentenced for failing to report Sherell’s death, abusing her corpse, and tampering with evidence. Assistant County Prosecutor Scott Deedrick called Riechers’ actions after finding Sherell dead from an apparent drug overdose “incomprehensible.”
“Not only had she cleaned up the drugs that were in the house, but she also cleaned up the scene, threw away a cell phone, disposed of clothing, basically eliminated any potential evidence that she thought could tie it back to her.”
Investigators say Riechers and her codefendant, 39-year-old Daniel Fitzgerald, used an SUV and dolly to move Sherell’s body to an area along White Bridge Road where a passerby found it the following morning. Her sister described the trauma and uncertainty she and her family have endured since the discovery.
“I’m haunted by the fact that my three youngest children will never remember their Aunt Amber. My nephew Louis, Amber’s son, is seeking counseling through the school to help him through this nightmare. My mother, somehow, some way, is powering through. I know she is hurting in a way I hope I never have to experience, and she didn’t even get a chance to say goodbye.”
Ernest ultimately imposed the three-year prison term Deedrick recommended and ordered Riechers to begin serving it immediately, denying her request for a weeklong furlough to make childcare arrangements.
“At any felony sentencing, I expect individuals to come prepared knowing that they will be going to jail that day, particularly on a felony of the third degree, so I am going to have you taken from the courtroom to the jail where you will be transported to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections.”
Fitzgerald has pleaded not guilty to nearly identical charges. He remains in the Tuscarawas County Jail ahead of his trial, which got pushed back from August to October.