In June 1977, three young girls were the victims of a brutal murder at a campsite in Oklahoma. Lori Farmer, Doris Milner, and Michele Guse were found dead close to their tent in their sleeping bags. The investigation led to Gene Leroy “Sonny” Hart, but he was ultimately acquitted of the triple murder. Hulu’s ‘Keeper of the Ashes: The Oklahoma Girl Scout Murders’ delves into the tragic case through the eyes of those closest to it. One of them is Sheryl Stokes, a childhood friend of Lori, whose life was heavily influenced by what happened at the campsite. Let’s find out where she is today, shall we?
Who is Sheryl Stokes?
Sheryl Stokes grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, just one street away from Lori’s home. The girls were good friends and classmates back in school. At the time of the incident, Sheryl was only 8-years-old and remembered the first time she heard about it. Sheryl added, “I remember hearing Lori’s name over and over and thinking to myself, ‘this can’t be our Lori.’ My heart ached for all the families.”
Lori, Doris, and Michele were killed in the dead of night on June 13, 1977. They were left outside their tent in their sleeping bags, and the bloody scene had a lot of evidence left behind by the killer. The authorities eventually focused on Sonny, a convicted rapist whose mother lived close to the campsite. While the investigators were sure of his guilt, the jury saw differently, acquitting him of the three murders.
The loss of Lori deeply affected Sheryl. She said, “I saw the devastation it caused the families and the community. Back then, there was nobody to help us through that. We just had to figure it out on our own.” However, the case remained in the spotlight thanks to the victims’ families. In 2018, Sheryl wondered whether people would ever know who was responsible for the murders. Her questions were answered when DNA testing results earlier were released in May 2022, showing that Sonny was indeed connected to the slayings and could not be ruled out.
Where is Sheryl Stokes Now?
Losing Lori at a young age and seeing how it affected everyone around her, Sheryl decided at a young age that she wanted to pursue being an advocate for victims and their families. She said, “I wanted to make sure families would not be alone … through one of the most difficult and isolating times in their lives.”After obtaining a Master’s and Educational Specialist degree in Professional Counseling and Traumatology in 2006, she worked as a Forensic Interviewer and Psychotherapist at a child advocacy center in Georgia.
For the past 12 years, Sheryl has been employed as a Senior Family Advocacy Specialist at the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children in Alexandria, Virginia. Her job involves working with law enforcement to provide crisis intervention, emotional support, and other forms of assistance for kids who are missing and sexually exploited and their families. Apart from that, Sheryl has volunteered for the Red Cross and been on church missions in the past. She also helped with the evidence in the Girl Scout murders getting re-tested.
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