The Death of Cheryl Lunna

On Tuesday, April 29, 1992, Cheryl Lunna’s overturned car was found on Camp Brook Road in Bethel, Vermont. The car appeared to have gone off the road at a curve and landed in a stream. An investigation revealed she was likely run off the road by another driver. A suspect was eventually arrested, but no one was ever convicted for any crime related to her death.

42-year-old Cheryl left her father’s home on the evening of April 26, 1992, to go to her job in Randolph, Vermont. Sometime that night or early the next morning, her car went off the road, rolled over and landed on its roof in a nearby stream. Investigators believed the scene was suspicious.

The next day, police announced they were looking for a light-colored vehicle that may have been involved in the crash. They believed the car would likely be damaged on its right side and the driver or passengers may have been injured. The same day, an autopsy was performed on Cheryl, but a cause of death was not determined.

Police continued to search for the other driver for months following Cheryl’s death. Early the next year, it was reported that the crash was not an accident and that Cheryl’s car had been forced off the road. In March 1993, a detective with the state police told the Burlington Free Press that there was no new information.

On March 15, 1995, nearly three years after Cheryl was killed, her estranged husband, Douglas Lunna, was indicted for two felonies related to her death: careless and negligent driving, fatality resulting, and leaving the scene of an accident, fatality resulting. The statute of limitations on the two crimes would have expired a month later. Douglas pleaded not guilty to both charges.

Police and prosecutors believed Douglas had side-swiped Cheryl’s car, forcing it off the road. Grand jury documents revealed that Douglas’s blood was found at the crash scene, along with his bloody palm print on her car.

In November 1995, a judge dismissed the charges against Douglas, saying there was not enough evidence that he was driving the car that caused Cheryl’s crash. Following the dismissal, Cheryl’s sister stated that Douglas had been abusive, and she had a diary written by Cheryl proving it. She believed he had gotten away with murdering her.

In 2001, Cheryl was memorialized in an exhibition dedicated to domestic violence victims organized by a nonprofit organization called Umbrella. Douglas Lunna died in 2018.

Anyone with information about Cheryl’s death should contact the Major Crimes Unit of the Vermont State Police: (802) 244-8781. Tips can also be submitted anonymously at vsp.vermont.gov/tipsubmit or by texting VTIPS to 274637 (CRIMES).

[Author’s note: I haven’t been able to find a photo of Cheryl anywhere online. If any reader knew Cheryl and has a picture of her that I can post, please let me know.]

Sources and additional information:

Vermont State Police: Cheryl F. Lunna

Woman dies in Bethel accident

Vehicle sought in fatal crash

Search for vehicle continues

1992 was third-deadliest year in Vt.

Homicides

Man faces charges in wife’s death

Negligence Is Charged In Woman’s Car Death

Husband Wants Charges Dropped

Judge Drops Charges in Fatal Car Accident

Family Violence Victims Remembered

Cheryl F. Lunna Obituary

Cheryl Lunna’s death certificate

Douglas Lunna Obituary

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