ERIC MEADOWS (WCAN Co-host): Good evening. We want to welcome you to another episode of Missing Pieces hosted by Todd Matthews and myself Eric Meadows. This is really first of a new year in 2007, the first show of 2007 and we hope all of our listeners out there have really enjoyed themselves the times that they have heard us. Todd I want to say good evening tonight. How are you?
TODD MATTHEWS (Missing Pieces Host): I’m great. Happy New Year and happy 18th episode.
ERIC: Great, great, great. Now listen, I’ve been telling the audience prior to bringing you on the air that you got a guest with you tonight. Why don’t you introduce her?
TODD: I’ve got Sherry Smith a good very friend in Kentucky. She’s the mother of a murdered son and welcome Sherry.
SHERRY SMITH (Guest): Thank you very much and I appreciate you all having me on tonight and hopefully I can get answers for justice, I long for.
TODD: Well hopefully give you an entire hour to say whatever you feel you need to talk about.
SHERRY: Ok thank you.
TODD: It was February 1, 2002, five years now.
TODD: Bo Upton and Ryan Shangraw were murdered. What happened that night? The story, how were they killed?
TODD: And Bo’s your son?
SHERRY: Yes my son was Bo Upton and he was 18. He was my only child. And he was a senior in high school with a 3.85 grade point average who loved baseball. He was the intended pitcher and he had several scholarships all in place for college and hadn’t even got to play his senior year yet because this happened in February of his senior year. He tried hard to reach his goals with a scholarship for college and he was loved by all who knew him and Ryan was only 20 and he was Bo’s friend and that night was on a Friday night and they were having a home coming basketball game and the baseball parents were having a big chili supper at the basket game, the home coming basketball game there where they sell concessions to raise money to take the boys back to a tournament in Florida. And Bo had got to play in that tournament the year before and pitched a one hitter and they had done a big article on him down there and I felt like a lot of the scouts that were at there, that’s were probably some of the scholarship offers came from. But the reason for the fundraiser was some of the boys didn’t have the finances to go and we wanted to make sure that every team member could go and we were having this fundraiser, having this chili supper at the basketball game so that all the boys could go and then after the basketball game was the homecoming dance with about 30 minutes in between. And Bo was 18 and wanted to stay for the dance and so I said ok and thought that was the homecoming dance and I knew he wanted to stay and so I left after the chili supper and it was about 8:00 and Bo was still at the school and they had about 30 minutes in between before the dance started and a lot of the kids were running and getting ready and Bo and 2 girls started to leave and his friend hollered at him, so I’ve been told, and said “we thought you were staying for the dance”? And he said “oh, we’ll be right back”. And later I heard that he was going to go get Ryan who had been out of school for 2 years who in fact had been invited to the homecoming dance and he knew that Ryan was back in church and trying to get his life straightened out and so he thought that if he and the 2 girls went there; meet them there, that they would go. But my son was killed instantly so I’ll never know really. So what happened was him and these two girls went to this boy’s mobile home…
TODD: In Hubble, in Lincoln County.
SHERRY: Yes in Hubble community; a very small community in Lincoln County and the high school is in Stanford in Lincoln County and it takes about 20 minutes to get to Ryan’s house from this school. And so he was still there when I left so he couldn’t have left before then so if he left at 8:00 and it took 20 minutes to get there so at 8:20 the call came in at 8:33 so the most he could have been there was 10, 15 minutes when the call came in to 911. And what had happened is though when the two girls arrived at Ryan’s and within this 10 or 15 minutes 4, and according to what the girls say that they were four black people, and we are absolutely not prejudice. One of my son’s best friends was black and stayed at our house so much he had his own dresser drawer there but Ryan; the other boy was not prejudiced either. But 4 black guys, I don’t know if it was boys or men, 4 black guys came in, just busted in Ryan’s trailer where my son went and had blue bandannas over their faces, I don’t know if that is suppose to represent some sort of type of gang, I heard it has but they had blue bandannas over their faces and they had toboggans over their heads that their eyes were exposed. And they came in and pointed their guns at Ryan and he got up and it was a little small trailer with a kitchen/living room combined and he got up to get out of the living room to go to the kitchen even though its only just one room, I always thought to maybe get harm away from my son Bo and the two girls. So he walked in front of him according to what I’ve been told by the girls and walked to the little kitchen area and said I’ll give you whatever you want and they shot Ryan anyway. And according to the girls my son got up and go in front of the two girls and told them to get down and get behind him and my son Bo handed the murderers his billfold and said here take my wallet and the wallet was found right there on the floor at the crime scene and they said he had like $14.00 on him but he got in front of the girls and said told the murderers he said here take my wallet just don’t hurt anyone and looked back at them and said stay down and stay behind me but as he was doing that they shot and killed my son multiple times and he was killed instantly and died right there. Ryan died in the helicopter on the way to the hospital and the girls ran to the…one ran to the neighbors and the other one stayed there. One ran frantically to the neighbors and the other one stayed right there and called 911. And I heard that…someone called me and said where’s Bo and I said he’s at the dance. And they said no he’s not his car is not there, he’s not there, and there has been a shooting at Hubble. And I knew Bo had a friend at Hubble and it scared me and so I started heading that way and when I got there, there was his car inside the crime scene tape which I just raised it up to go under and a policeman grabbed me by both arms facing him, face to face, had me by both arms and said who are you? And I said I am Bo’s mom and I’m afraid that he’s hurt, let go of me. And he wouldn’t let go of my arms and he said are you his biological mother? And I said yes let go of me. And he said I don’t know who to tell you this and I’m standing in the middle of the little of the road, the little street, just a little driveway in a very small community in Lincoln County and he says I don’t know how to tell you this but your son is dead. He’s been shot. Oh my gosh. I just fell to the ground in the road.
TODD: Now Sherry I know how hard this has been for you.
TODD: When we first heard your voice tonight and I talked to you at great length last night I didn’t even know how to begin this interview because I know that it is so hard.
SHERRY: Well it is but you know it let’s people understand how terrible, how horrific, which anyone that’s lost a child it’s absolutely painful and the only help is with God and I for them to have a little bit of what happened. And so then it was awful because they told me…
TODD: This wasn’t robbery. Obviously there wasn’t money.
SHERRY: Yes they came in to get money and robbery and the police thought it might be drug related but if that’s the case why isn’t it solved. You know they thought that Ryan since he was back in church and getting his life straightened out that he was getting out of that mess that he was in and Bo knew that Ryan was back in church and the policeman told me follow me to the funeral home. Can you imagine being told that your son has just been murdered, that he has been shot and to follow him to the funeral home? And I mean, it’s my only child. Now if you let me go in ’cause I thought I could save him and he said no, he’s dead. You have to follow me to the funeral home. So I thought he meant that’s where Bo was so I got in the car and he said I’ll be behind you, I’ll be right behind you. So I went to the funeral home and no one was there and the police didn’t follow me. So then I went to the hospital and said somebody has to know where he is. And they didn’t have him or know where he was so I went back to the funeral home and no one was there and back to the hospital again and thinking where is he, where is my son? And there was a gentleman that was standing there that let me out the door that said if your son has been murdered I’ll tell you where he’s at, he’s in having an autopsy. Oh my gosh. And so then I can just vividly see those things being done and to me its what hit me real because I hadn’t seen him and it was just so terrible and he was a normal child, he was loved by so many kids at the school and family and friends, he was just a type of child that one little boy wasn’t going to get to be on the team because he was two years younger than Bo but couldn’t get on the team because his family just didn’t have the finances to get him to practice so Bo went from the end of the county to get him and take him to practice and if he didn’t have time to take him home he would just hang out with us and wear Bo’s clothes. It was just the kind of young man that my son was. And then later I found out that evidence that it was 4 black people, that they came in to rob, they had bandannas, blue ones over their faces and toboggans on, and Ryan told them he would give them whatever they wanted but they killed him and when my son brought up and got in front of the girls and said her take my wallet they killed him instantly and so at first I was in nothing but shock. I couldn’t do anything.
TODD: This is a big city crime that you normally see on television and suddenly your right in the middle of it.
SHERRY: Yes and then suddenly it’s on TV and I’m just laying there crying and going to those graves. Crying and then seemingly at that it went by that they said that they had found a gun, they said they found bandannas, this kind of stuff is in the paper, and I’m thinking it meant confidential information. And I felt like that due to lack budget there wasn’t enough man power on it because when I would call why isn’t there more hours, well we have to deal with the manpower that we have with this budget.
TODD: It’s a year later…
SHERRY: I couldn’t do anything buy lay on Bo’s grave but one day when I got up from the grave, I just got up with Bo’s fist up; so to speak and said to my son I will, I will stay on this until it is solved and justice is served.
TODD: And that’s what I read nearly a year later.
TODD: My father-in-law lived there.
SHERRY: This is a little copy of a letter that I had written saying that I am Sherry Smith Bo Upton’s mom and he is my only child. He and Ryan Shangraw were brutally murdered on February the 1st in 2002. And Bo was my only child and then I told about what I just spoke earlier about his scholarships for college and his love for sports and did excellent in school because he wanted so bad to get that scholarship and I said since the detectives have not solved this case I believe it is due to budget cuts resulting in not enough hours being spent on the case by the state police. Much evidence has been found. Please help get this case on a top priority list. I’m trying to do everything that I can to bring in leads. I miss my son. My life will never be the same. This went to commissioners, to the news media, it went everywhere and it says Sherry Smith, family and friends, searching for answers, longing for justice. And one thing at the website is a spot for anonymous tip line www.BoRyan.cjb.net which can also now be accessed at www.BoRyan.us and this is started by Todd Matthews and it has helped tremendously to let people know what is going on with the case and what happened. And one of the most wonderful things is that at the tip line where they can go in at the guest book and leave anonymous tips or however they want to leave them if they are afraid to speak out otherwise.
TODD: You have to give them an opportunity.
SHERRY: Yes. And I thank you. And something that helped my soul is the little sweet things that the children just went on there on the guest book and wrote remarkable stories in the beginning. And I think the place just got so full that we had to start over but…
TODD: We really didn’t expect that. That wasn’t really what we were expecting. It was about a year before we actually created the website because at the time it wasn’t really a cold case and I followed it in the newspaper and my father-in-law lived in Lincoln County, he would give me copies of the newspaper and he said this is a terrible crime that’s happened here. Maybe at some point you can help or some of your friends could help. And I thought well the internet is really all that I know and I thought if we could make this site and keep it easy, give you something to operate with.
SHERRY: It’s been extremely emotionally supportive too with all the things that the kids wrote about Bo saying you wouldn’t believe what he was to me and what he did in time of need you could always count on Bo. So its emotionally supportive for me as well and the rest of the letter said after the website generated by Todd Matthews I did a flier campaign to senators and congressmen and the governor and anyone, we sent out thousands, to get more time spent on the case, to get it put in the budget. Many attempts to get help from America’s Most Wanted, at that time it went up to a $12,000.00 reward and it is now $25,000.00 due to a local business man donating the extra money to make the reward go up. I would like to put a million but you have to show what you put up for a reward and of course I don’t have that kind of money and then I did a huge billboard on Hwy 27 in Stanford with Bo’s little baseball picture and with Ryan, his friend’s picture, offering the reward money and it has the detective’s number there so people have easy access to it.
TODD: I see that all the time when I go back and forth.
SHERRY: Yes and every time I go by it, I cry. But it’s helped to bring in leads. And then I did a national prayer chain where prayer letters were sent to a least 5 churches per state in all 50 states and Bo’s friends were able to help me with that. And then the last interview that I did, because it will be 5 years February the first and I’m still fighting for justice and the last interview that I did was the end of July because the reward money had went up, so Channel 18 news had covered that for us, showing that the reward was up to $25,000.00 because the billboard it was something extensive to get it changed and I thought it would just be easy but I said that’s ok the interview will just let people know and the newspaper. And then I was hurt in a terrible accident and was in the hospital for a long time.
TODD: And Sherry actually, right now, today was her first day back to work. She has recovered from brain surgery, from an accident. I know you have been through the mill the last few years, especially this last one.
TODD: And Eric I want to let you know that part of the Genesis for this very show exists in this very case because America’s Most Wanted did turn her down to try and get her case on AMW and that’s what made it so tense and to try and help her even more since the people were turning them down.
ERIC: If I could just interrupt you.
TODD: Well I was hoping you were.
ERIC: If you could just turn your mic up a little, we’re trying to boost your signal as best we can. We can barely hear you.
TODD: Can you hear me?
ERIC: Oh yeah, that’s a lot better. What I did want to say is you’re holding up quite well Sherry.
SHERRY: Thank you.
ERIC: You’re holding up quite well and you’re doing a great job with giving us a lot of information about Bo Upton. You did make mention that they did find guns and masks and the handkerchiefs that they tied around them, have they been able to lift any DNA off any of the facial wear or were they able to trace the guns back to who they may belong to?
SHERRY: Ok from what they have told me because I think that they really must be really limited about what they can tell me because that was my question to them and they said that they couldn’t fingerprint a gun that’s laid outside all night long in that cold February weather. And so they were going to try and do some kind of…because what we have I suppose wouldn’t lift it so they were going to try and get things sent farther. Like more extensive labs to be able to do that and then they wouldn’t tell us if there was any DNA or not. And I feel like there has to be.
ERIC: What about the serial numbers on the firearms?
SHERRY: They either didn’t have any or they were stolen guns. That was the two answers that I got and I don’t know which one is correct but they must be trying to seal evidence from getting out because the papers have printed things they shouldn’t like the fact that they’ve found the evidence. It looks like that would be something they wouldn’t have wanted out. They said that don’t have any right now and I don’t know if they couldn’t get it or they just don’t want me to know.
TODD: Well I think if they were expecting a quick resolve, you know because there were some very tantalizing tips in the beginning and I don’t think it closed out as quickly. I think there was a lot of hope placed upon some of these clues and when they hit a dead end with it, it was sort of embarrassing because it didn’t pan out the way that they thought. This is a small town, how many double homicides happen here?
TODD: This is rare. This is a rarity here.
SHERRY: Very rare.
ERIC: You know you made mention that Ryan Shangraw was getting his life together.
ERIC: Are you free to talk about what it is that may have prompted these people to come to his house?
SHERRY: Well I wish that I knew that. There are so many speculations that if any of them was the right speculation it looks like it would be solved. For instance if Ryan truly was mixed up in drugs and then was going to church and committed to getting his life straighten out then possibly what if it was a dealer that thought oh he knows us so if he’s going to get straightened out he might tell. That was a speculation that probably 50 people told me and that’s worse background it’s coming from. Well that’s just what we figure because it aint solved, what else could it be? And other people saying that he might have owed them money well if that’s it then why isn’t it solved. Why weren’t they able to link anything to that? And so its all speculation as far as that part of it goes because I felt, I feel like that if it was those because so many people called in with that type of lead, that it would have been solved. It must be something that they’re not looking at. I wonder. And of course my first Christmas without my son, well initially like I said I just thought that…I couldn’t do anything but cry. I missed him so bad and it was so traumatic. Anybody killed with a gun, no way to protect yourself. And my first Christmas I was praying because as a mother you spend time around your children, the birth of Christ and I just couldn’t hardly do Christmas without him. I just cried for God to help me. And then every prayer before I could even finish my prayers I could see this little homeless people coming up to me patting me and saying can I have a dollar? Well when I was in a band before I lost my son, when I would go there was one place in Louisville whenever we would do the setups to play there we’re carrying stuff in or carrying stuff out these little homeless people would come up in this certain area and say can I have a dollar? And I never could finish my prayer on God to help me through my first Christmas without Bo without seeing those little homeless people so I thought that God was telling me to go there. And so I collected from friends and family coats and blankets and took it to the homeless people in Louisville and now that’s what I do on Christmas Eve. To give them Christmas Eve and by the time I get home it’s pretty much over and the bible says “the way to lighten your load is to reach out to others and God’s word is promises” and anything that God says is for real. And I didn’t do it to lighten my load, I thought that’s what God was telling me to do, that it’ll get you pass this day. And by the time I got back it was in fact over but then I also found that there were children and I was able to that night, even thought that night even though it was late on Christmas Eve, this one lady was at the store, it was just a little BP where I was just trying to get the children some candy for Christmas Eve because I didn’t know that I was going to have children homeless as well, and I was able to get them those huge bags of M&M’s and load it up with candy for all of them and this lady that told me where there was a BP open down town in Louisville on Christmas Eve had stuffed animals in and said she was taking to a church in case anyone didn’t have Christmas and she loaded my vehicle with those stuffed animals and when I got back they said it was Christmas Eve and the children, there’s not room, but being Christmas Eve they’re going to let them sleep on the floor in the living room at the shelter and when I walked in and my arms were loaded down with candy and stuffed animals for those children those Louisville church bells started ringing. And I cried and the little kids were hanging on to me and patting my face and telling me thank you and they loved me. Little one and two year old, three and four year old babies half of them were black and I was totally blessed and I cried the whole time. But that’s how I got through it was by reaching out to other people. And now my traditions have changed because I don’t have tradition the way tradition was, to have Christmas with my son. And so now that’s what I do on Christmas Eve is everybody knows I do it and I have a truckload, I think I’m going to have to get a semi next time, but that’s ok, and to be able to provide for them even though its about a three hour drive from here. It helps to reach out but I pray for justice daily and I fight this fight with every ounce of energy that’s in me and God has sent me people like Todd Matthews to help me do this.
TODD: Well Eric can you see she has a lot of energy?
SHERRY: Yes I do.
TODD: Sometimes you have to just hold her down to get her to just relax and I’ve not seen her relax except for when she had the accident.
SHERRY: Right when I had the accident. And today being my first day back to work and I couldn’t go back to my night job just my one full-time job and at the end of the day go home instead of going to work in another shift at the hospital. And they made me do that at the end of this day, I had to come home, because from being in the wreck and having so being that many broken bones and a head injury that required brain surgery it’s a wonder that I know anything and God has truly, truly been with me and answered these prayers. And so now was my first day back at work and other than just me tolerance being low from being in the hospital for that long and not being able to do things for so long but I made it through it.
ERIC: I’m glad.
TODD: And the timing for this show was based a lot on your first day back.
SHERRY: Yes. Thank you.
TODD: Did it feel like you were back in a normal routine when you went back to work? Are you getting back to normal at all?
TODD: What you learned to be normal anyway.
SHERRY: Well when I walked in my little my patients and said we just want you to know that not one day went by that as a group that we didn’t pray for you and I cried and I said you know I know that this is, this is why that I am better. Mentally from the brain injury and physically I’m not going to be able to go right straight and work 2 jobs but at the same time I’m going to have to go 2 or 3 weeks to be able to do that, but I know it’s the prayers that have healed me and I said I know you all didn’t know if I was going to live because that was the first word out of how bad that I was and I was air lifted to a hospital. And I said if I live to be a 150 there is nothing that can happen to me that’s going to be worse that I went through when my only child was murdered. And God is holding me up daily and that’s the stroke, that’s the hardest. Even more than what I’ve went through. My father died my first Christmas without Bo, on the 20th and on the 23rd we buried him and the 24th on Christmas Eve I went to the homeless people and Louisville. And then Bo’s father and I had divorced when Bo was about 5, we were married 10 years and we had divorced when he was about 5 and then later when Bo was about 7 or 8 I remarried and I was married for 11 years when I lost my son and 1 year later, after I lost my son I went through a divorce with my second husband because of things that were happening and I was trying to work, and I was trying to fight back on Bo’s case. And at first, for that first month I just went to his grave and lay down. But to be able to, through God, be able to go back to work, be able to fight back on Bo’s case, even though I was so…I would see a little boy going down the hallway in a baseball suit and cry. I would cry at anything. It was my first thoughts when I woke up and it was my last thoughts when I went to sleep. My thoughts throughout the entire day, and just like I said of course there is nothing that I can go through that would be worse then that. And I appreciate both of you for giving me another opportunity not only for someone to have access to the police department and the website if they know any information but also to learn if anyone is going through this or anything similar call out to God.
TODD: Well we’ll ask for your help after this. Just a couple of years ago we we’re working on another case in Kentucky, Madison Man. An unidentified man in Madison County and we got him a tombstone, he had unlimited marker and he was still unidentified and we got him a tombstone marked Madison Man and I asked Sherry if she wanted to make the topper, the grave topper and she did. And she also added a little photograph of Bo and Ryan and we put it on the topper of the new stone and it wasn’t long after that you know that resulted in publicity on Madison Man, he was identified.
SHERRY: Right and he was identified.
TODD: And I think you brought a special blessing to that. So I think everything has its time and you did. I’m just sure you…I felt like I needed to take some of your energy there because you have so much.
SHERRY: Thank you and honestly it was just heartbreak. Bo was just a high energy level person and then when that happened I was so lifeless and through many, many hours on my knees God has given me strength to fight for justice. And if I remember correctly your children used some allowance to help with that.
TODD: My oldest son did. Yes.
SHERRY: Yes. And so ok my brain is back because that was a long time ago from this brain injury that I had.
TODD: Well I saw last night in our conversation, we talked for over an hour last night and I saw a lot of little lights coming back on again and I was really pleased to talk to you and hear you remembering things. It really felt good. Because I wasn’t sure what was going to happen after your wreck.
SHERRY: My brain was injured so bad that the doctors, from hearsay, I was told that the doctors said that’s it, she’s done, she’ll never be back to work, and we’re sorry ’cause we love her but she’s done. That’s how bad my brain was injured when I was in this wreck and I had to have brain surgery. And it is only through the grace of God that when it came pass that initial stage of being unconscious and having brain surgery, that when I came to myself mentally, that yes I knew my precious family and everybody that is around me, my boyfriend Brad never left my side the whole time that I was in the hospital. We’ve been dating since Thanksgiving of last year. I’ve been divorced almost 3 years and I finally started dating because he just opened up and said to me when I told me because when someone would ask me out I was like you just don’t know what I’m going through, I lost my child and he said no one can take your son’s place ever and I’m so sorry what happened. No one can take his place but if you would open up your heart to some one that had children that you can love and grandchildren that you can love and that they can love you back, someone like me and other people would just say you know your son would want you to go on. And just go on and I would be like you just don’t understand what I’m going through. But he was so different and so compassionate that I decided to start dating after all that time. He was at the drawbridge that night and he never left my side; the whole time I was having brain surgery and transferred to another hospital he never left my side. And God will put people in your life and use those people as angels to carry you when your wings can not fly.
TODD: Well it didn’t take a lot of convincing you. I remember I thought it was going to be a shot in the dark meet you on the website with this lady but you were just…an immediate embrace. I think we’ve become life long friends immediately.
SHERRY: Absolutely. Absolutely.
TODD: Eric what do you think of this one? Don’t she, she has a lot of faith.
ERIC: You know something, if I can help strengthen you any…
SHERRY: Yes sir?
ERIC: What you’re doing for others and this is just a small passing, God is not unrighteous, as difficult as some things can be and as difficult as other things may be, I found out that between difficult and impossible one just takes a little bit longer than the other. But you will get to that point where ok I can live and I can deal with this and I can deal with everybody and I hate that it had to happen all like this but it opened up another life for you. It may have been years before you would have gotten to this point but all things be to God. And you’re hanging in there. You are doing a wonderful job of hanging in there. I think that your energy with wanting to stay with this and finding a solution helps also. It really does.
SHERRY: And where I was working at the time was at the hospital at a rehab unit where February it’ll be 17 years, but at that time it had been a lot of years that I had worked there when I lost my son and those doctors and those nurses and the therapists that were my co-workers and my friends, they literally my first day back to work which took me a while to be able, they literally one friend met me and took me over to a walking path where we walked in circles because I wasn’t facing reality to go back to work. All the news and everybody…and I could hardly do that. So she met me there to let me get some of those tears out and then I went in and that support system that I had through my co-workers and I had patients because in therapy I had patients during that time that said oh we just saw you on TV about the loss of your son, I lost my child and they learned through that on how to little memory pages of their child on the computer. And now I also worked besides just at the rehab unit, I also worked for home health and cover three adult day centers to where these people don’t need to be in a nursing home but they may need care like the family is with them at night but maybe their family has to work during the day and so they are with us during the day and they have nursing care there but I do all the therapy and fitness programs with them there. And I have people that watches it and prays for me even when I’m not there. They know when its going to be aired and God has blessed be with a career since I was 20 and I’m 46. Since I was 20 to be able to work in the field to help people that are injured to regain their independence. And then also for the motivational aspect to teach them to reach out to God. But I babysat when Bo was born and didn’t get back into my line of work until he started kindergarten and so I had that gap when I took care of children during that time but I know that there was like 3,000 people…all I remember is standing at my sons casket and crying and that was the worse thing you’ll ever want to see. And I just couldn’t leave his side even though God was just like shaking me he’s not here, he’s not here, he’s up here in heaven. And I knew that and that’s why I didn’t…that’s how I survived, get this far, but during that time someone had said…because they had to have it at the school because they knew the funeral home couldn’t hold it and they had it in the gymnasium with the casket there and all I remember is standing there by Bo and people was lined up all the way down the gym, all the way out the gym door, and all the way out in the parking lot for hours and after 3,000 people the quit counting. And this was a tiny little town. But where he had played all sports in different counties and had done so many different things with his sports he knew a lot of people from a lot of areas and the community support was absolutely wonderful and the community still tries to help by if they hear leads to let us know. But with the things like the website being on that big billboard and the detective number being on that big billboard, if somebody hasn’t made a tape of what’s on TV or had a newspaper cut out and they wouldn’t have access to those numbers if for whatever reason, hopefully it will be God speaking to their heart. But you never know when someone could be facing life casualty like having something wrong with them to think ok before I leave this world I need to tell this. So you never know why but you just hope, the high hopes that through the access that people have they could see the big billboard, they can drive by it get the website address or get the detective’s number. So what it is I felt so helpless that I just I had to ask God to lift me, to hold me and that fighting back keeps you from feeling so helpless.
TODD: Now a lot of the families have been involved, I know Ryan’s family they’ve done things. His sister’s written a poem that we’ve put on the website up and your ex-husband, his father Harold, he has been very supportive. I don’t think anybody has been quite put in the effort that Sherry has put in on this.
SHERRY: Well where he was my only child and we were so close and for your child to just go to a school event and then he leaves for a few minutes and he’s murdered…and he was the light of my life, God first of course. But my child was…it was always centered around Bo has a ball game or Bo’s having friends over or you know and then for that to just be gone and ripped out from under you. I can not, can not have any, well I don’t know if it’s called closure or not because there is no closure to losing a child. You’ve lost them forever. But I can not put this part behind me until this part is solved and that’s who did it.
TODD: Well you’ve become a mother to many in so many different ways when you weren’t a mother any longer. You’ve managed to take care of a lot of things. Now this last bump up to $25,000.00, now that was a big jump.
TODD: Now what sparked that last event that brought it up to that?
SHERRY: We had been able to come up with the $10,000.00 reward which like I said we wanted to say a million or $100,000.00 but…
TODD: And that was you guys that was the family.
SHERRY: Yes. You have to show what you have. And so we were able to, Bo’s father, we were able to know that we were able to come up, Bo’s father and I with $10,000.00 so we did $10,000.00 because you do have to show what you have. Which I never could figure how other people could go around putting up a million or 100,000 unless they had that cash on hand but I’m happy for them that they could but we had to show we had before they could publicize it. Then we did a thing at the race track in a nearby area that raised some more money and it when up to $12,000.00. Then I was just looking at some more things that I could do, I didn’t care what it was I just prayed that God would give me the insight to maybe have just some kind of big event where it was all centered around more money being put into the reward fund so that the reward money would be more. And I was praying so hard about the right thing to do and had several idea options on what I could do to bring in more money and I got the call that this man who had already talked about it had decided to do it. He was a local business man is Sanford, he felt like that if the reward money was more and he knew that we didn’t have it and he knew that at that time he did and he knew if the thought if the reward money was more and since they keep saying they’re getting close that maybe that would be all it would take to bring in the final answers to this and solve it. And he said I can’t imagine what your going through and he said I will donate $10,000.00 and so we were able to put in enough with that to make it go up to $25,000 and he is in the area and he is tired of murders being out there and not being caught and was willing to help so that we could get answers. Because this is totally publicized on the news, on the news panels, like out of the Lexington area, it’s on the news, its in the newspaper a lot, and he says they’re going to know that you want answers and most people just don’t know what to do to help but we want to help and maybe this will help.
TODD: He just pledged the money; I mean he’s not had to spend the money unless the crime is actually solved.
SHERRY: Well I didn’t really actually about that. What we did because at one point we did a little fund raiser to go into the Bo Upton scholarship fund so that some kids could go to college since Bo didn’t get to use his scholarships; to start a scholarship fund so that each year someone could go to school in Bo’s memory and have a scholarship to give out, a Bo Upton scholarship. His father wanted to do that which I thought, and still think is wonderful but my main goal is getting the reward money up enough to where somebody will tell. And so with the initial $12,000.00 we let it be known because some people had…the scholarships weren’t huge but there were nice little Bo Upton scholarships to help people with college. One was given each year since we lost Bo. But with the raising the money for the reward money we made it very clear in the paper and everything, anybody that has donated because when it was $12,000.00 you know that race track had helped us out and some people had donated a little bit of money, not a lot but we just made it known, I don’t care if it was $5.00 if this is solved through police detective work, not through a lead that someone came up and gave them for the reward money the police will let all that out and let it be known and then if it’s solved without someone’s lead and we didn’t need this rewards money that, but mostly we’ve put it all in but that gentleman donated $10,000.00 at that point it became an enormous donation and so we said that it would go into the Bo Upton scholarship fund.
SHERRY: Now with this last gentleman that donated the $10,000.00 I was just wanting the media to know that he’s out there thinking that by this time, when this anniversary date came up when this time we would have answers. And I didn’t think to ask him that. As far as that $10,000.00 we’ll probably just give it back to him unless he just says go ahead and put it in the Bo Upton scholarship fund. But so far if the money is not used for reward money due to them solving it otherwise it will go into the scholarship fund. But every time the news comes on and saying about an update on the Bo Upton/Ryan Shangraw case the reward money has been up or they’re doing a billboard go look at it to get the website, here it is on TV and here is the detective’s number on TV but if you happen to not to get to write it down you can see it on the billboard. And with the news media being that supportive, that has been…I mean it was so hard at first because the only reason I should be on TV is if they seen me in a crowd jumping up and down because he got a home run or something and so this has totally changed my life forever. But I’ve got to where I could handle the news media because ever single time, every time, the news media coverage to say reward money or billboard or no matter what it was, they would get in more leads; every time.
TODD: And the media has been good to you. I know a lot of the media…
SHERRY: Extremely good and at first I understood why I couldn’t handle it but then once I learned it was bringing in leads, yes I’ll do it. I don’t care where you meet me at, my house, at work, they was at Bo’s grave, and that was so hard, but it brought in leads and you never know which one of those leads will get us the answers that we need and get the murderers behind bars.
TODD: I think a lot of it was just amazed at your strength in this, making that part of the actual story. It’s like this woman still got all of this energy and still maintaining it and I’ve said this in shows before, I don’t know if I would survive this. You have.
SHERRY: Well the biggest part of survival was those first days. I mean the pain was so great that I can’t describe it to you in words. My heart…you know like these broken bones I had will heal from the wreck but my heart felt like it was being ripped out of my body and twisted. It was this pain that, there was not one second in any part of any day that would ease up because my child was not only killed which unfortunately so many people have lost children in wrecks and I feel for them and pray for them and I know it hurts so bad but where mine wasn’t an accident. Someone killed him, the pain was so great that I couldn’t do anything but literally scream up to God and say help me because the pain was so intense and the more hours spent on my knees the more I could feel God lifting me and then the last time when I got up off of his grave, just a few months after it happened when I said ok they’re not going to solve it by themselves because I think it’s not enough in the budget to get enough manpower spent on the case because I was actually told that by one of them over there. I said I will do everything that I can. I will…I just got to focus and I will fight this until justice is served.
TODD: Well you know the squeaky wheel gets the grease, you know that and that’s true. I really want everybody in the world that’s listening to this tonight has got out of this is a little bit of your faith and your strength. I think the answers to this case lie in Kentucky. Obviously this is a local event, its something that happened there, its rooted in that community. These people are walking among people in the community that know what happened. They might be afraid to tell. We are speaking to those people as well as the world. Maybe everybody can reflect on the strength and the efforts that you’ve taken globally but I’m hoping that people locally will do what they can whether it’s to raise the reward money; obviously it’s not going to be misspent in any way.
SHERRY: Right, right we will…well most of it is ours that we have been able to save and borrow but what was donated like that $10,000.00 that was the biggest amount, if he wants it to go to the scholarship fund we will and if he wants that back then we will give it back to him if its not used for reward money, meaning they just solved it with some forensic stuff and it didn’t come from anything that anyone…
TODD: And that goes for anybody else out there that might hear us tonight that decides to donate some money to the reward fund. I mean its up to them however they choose to donate it. If they decide to do that.
SHERRY: I feel like that if it would just be solved then I could work on having little fund raisers to raise money for the Bo Upton scholarship fund or that maybe something that I can save back a few dollars each paycheck to put in the Bo Upton scholarship fund. That is something that I can work on to keep his name alive for the rest of my life and his father feels that way to. We want do the Bo Upton scholarship fund as long as we can…
TODD: Well the website is going to be there for you forever.
SHERRY: …right now the reward money because I want answers.
TODD: Well the website will be there forever for you and I’m hoping it’s a place you can go to and know that he’s still with us in so many ways.
SHERRY: Yes he is. And when I cried out to God…well I wrote…we talked a little bit about…because fighting back kept me from feeling so helpless and as a love in music when its in the middle of the night and you can’t sleep I write songs. At first I was singing gospel songs about how beautiful heaven must be and then I did them about him being in heaven and God helped me by letting me have that…by letting me see those things. Be it in my dreams or whether I was a wake trying to go to sleep God…I know that he is with God. But I write a lot of songs and if I could just sing a little piece of it here I think that it might mean something to other people as well that have lost children and anyone that I know or even that I don’t I pray for people all the time; anyone that has lost a child I know the pain and if you cry out to God that he can help you.
TODD: Eric will it carry well?
ERIC: Please go right ahead.
SHERRY: I had done this at Christmas last year, this particular song. And then this past spring the baseball team wanted me to speak because they were dedicating a game in memory of Bo and these boys would have been in the 8th grade when Bo was killed and he was a senior in high school so they would have been in the middle school. So most of them just a memory and the player that he was and some of them had actually got to play with him if they were bumped up to the high school team in the 8th grade like Bo had got to. But the majority of them hadn’t got to but they wanted to do a game dedicated in memory of Bo and asked me to speak. And I did but when I walked out on that field oh I could just…it just broke my heart to not see my child out there on that pitcher’s mound or out there on that field and to be at the place that was his favorite play spot in the world.
TODD: Well you stood in his place that time, you know.
SHERRY: And so the only time I had been there since I had lost Bo because the baseball field was many, many precious years and times of their lives, was the only time I had been there besides that day when I spoke was when Bo would have been graduating that senior year, the baseball team had a big ceremony. The coach and the team retired Bo’s jersey and they had a big ceremony and the news covered that. And that was the only time I’d been on the field and figured I could never go again but due to the circumstances they were doing a ceremony in honor of Bo and retiring his jersey, I went to that. And that was extremely hard to stand there where Bo had put so much into playing ball but it was an honor to be called back again to be a guest speaker because they were doing something in memory of Bo. And so I did speak and I said my son as everybody knows loved music and so I written a lot of songs about him. And this is just a little piece of one that I was able to do there so I thought it might be able to reach and touch someone else. So I hope that you can hear it well.
TODD: Let’s hope that they all hear it ok.
SHERRY: I won’t play the guitar too so that you can hear the words since I don’t have it recorded right now.
TODD: It’s going out to the world Sherry.
SHERRY: Thank you so much Todd for everything you have done. And a little bit of the song goes: It’s To Bo.
~Sherry Sings~ “I wish the clouds would roll back. I wish the window of heaven could open up so I could see what you were doing now. God covered me with his mercy when I cried out to him, he said he lives in his house now and he’s taking care of him. So I opened up my arms wide open and gave you back to him but in my heart is where you’re always be. So shine your light down on me every now and then. I’ll see you when I get there but until then remember that I love you Bo my son and my best friend”.
SHERRY: I’m about to cry, I’m sorry.
TODD: You did perfect.
SHERRY: But that’s my therapy because I feel so helpless and fighting back is my way of…I vowed to Bo. I will not stop until justice is served and these people are caught but then when you’ve called everybody that was with him one day then everything that you can do in one day and the tears are still rolling down your face the words will come to you.
TODD: Well you’re far from helpless.
SHERRY: And then I was coming down the road, this little itty bitty, tiny, tiny road that leads down to my house and it was like God let me hear Bo in my heart and he said “Mom, if your gonna right songs about me, they better me some upbeat ones.” Because you know he loves the jamming light music.
SHERRY: And before I got home and it wasn’t a mile away from the house I wrote another song and come in and put music to it and it was about
~Sherry Sings~ “Heaven’s got an angel in baseball cap. Oh but he was so much more that. He taught me how to live, how to laugh, and to love. My greatest gift from my father above.”
SHERRY: And it just goes like that and I cried and…because they were sad songs, I couldn’t help it. And so it was just like God let him speak to my heart he said they better be upbeat songs and I wrote that road song. And so I did a little piece of that one at that baseball dedication game in memory of Bo.
TODD: See you’re far from helpless.
SHERRY: That’s God, absolutely. Without God I would have just lay down and died of a broken heart and thought I was just going to die of a broken heart anyway. And so I’m living proof that God can hold you and the pain is still great but God helps you. It’s not what happens to you that will kill you, it is who you let you help you carry that pain.
TODD: Sherry I’ll always listen to you.
SHERRY: You know, you’ve been so much help and your family has just been so precious to me, your wife and children to be willing to let you spend time to help me solve the case of who murdered my child.
TODD: Eric how do you like her?
ERIC: I love her, I love her.
SHERRY: Well thank you. I bet you he’s thinking I can’t get a word in edge wise.
TODD: I knew it was going to be this way. I already knew it. I knew it because what kind of energy you have. But Eric, we got to give Eric time to say something here.
ERIC: You know I do want to take this time to let our listeners know that they can access Todd Matthews through the web page, you know just go directly to our schedule and you will be able to go to his web page. Once you see his picture you’ll be able to click on that. And if anybody out there has any details, any leads, any suggestions, if they would just like to say something encouraging, go to Todd’s website and go ahead and let him know. Now if there are any tips forth coming from this show let Todd know, he will know the appropriate people…
TODD: I’ll pass it on or I will show you where to go.
ERIC: Now Sherry we want to thank you for having to come on to the show tonight. And we are going to give you another audience once again sometime down the road so we can get some progress reports from you. We want to keep you up front, in everybody’s face, the media’s face, and everything.
SHERRY: Thank you.
ERIC: So that they can know that there is somebody out there still looking for closure. That’s what this show is designed for.
TODD: Well this launches this year’s media blitz on this particular case. We start every January, you know of the anniversary date, it’s really intense from here on out and we are going to use this to kick start it.
SHERRY: Yes it is and then me being totally alone because me losing my only child and then I went through a divorce, and my father passed away, and my sister was living in England, my brother in Germany, I was totally alone. And I never felt alone, God was always with me.
TODD: You will never be alone.
SHERRY: I wasn’t afraid and people say you are a brave woman. I say no, if something is going to happen to you it’s going to happen to you no matter where you are at. I’m not afraid but I was totally alone. And then when I met Brad last year at Thanksgiving, I know that God put this man in my life because he is so supportive. He took off work early to drive me to speak at that ballgame in memory of Bo. I never seen so many tears and he was crying with us. And this Christmas I’m now engaged.
TODD: So you got a new life beginning.
SHERRY: It was something that I thought I would just…I thought I would die in my sorrows and like he said and I’ve always said no one can ever take Bo’s place but I was totally alone. So he is supportive like on Christmas I know what we have planned, go to my family and go to your family but I have to go to Bo’s grave and it’s ok and he went right with me.
TODD: Well I want to meet him really soon. But I think we’re out of time tonight.
ERIC: Yes we are. I hate to cut in but I got to cut in we got to keep a schedule. We thank you for being on. The clock on the wall is saying that’s all. So I do want to invite you back again and we’re looking forward to speaking with you again. And our prayers are with you. Todd good night. Sherry good night.
TODD: Good night.
SHERRY: Thank you for your prayers and if I could say one thing if everybody would please look at the website that Todd developed in memory of Bo and Ryan and you will see his big smiling face on the right hand side.
TODD: Well make sure of it Sherry. We’ll make sure of it.
SHERRY: And thank you. And thank you for your time and for your prayers and for all your help.
TODD: Good night now.
ERIC: Good night.
SHERRY: Good night. Thank you again. Bye-bye.