"Her soul was beautiful, her spirit, her face" friend recalls about Cheryl White

Cheryl White's friends reflect on 1975 murder

Donna Kiefer said she and Cheryl White were inseparable when they were in junior high school.


"We were together all the time in middle school. She either stayed at my house or I stayed at her house back and forth. I think if my parents or her parents didn't know where we were they always knew that we were together," Kiefer says.

White was stabbed to death in 1975 in Warner Robins. Another classmate, Mary Jane Stewart, was arrested Friday in San Antonio,Texas - 42 years later.

After 42 years, Kiefer still thinks back to that night.

"And you think to yourself gosh where was I? Why wasn't I there? Why.. you know it was just very hard and very very torn. Your heart just breaks. It breaks for her and her family," she says.

"Her soul was beautiful, her spirit, her face," Kiefer said about White.

She also remembers Stewart. Kiefer says she didn't know Stewart well, but she knew she was bad news.

"As far as Mary Jane, our circles didn't cross and we made certain they didn't cross."


Warner Robins police were called to the Parkway Apartments on Crestview Drive shortly after 1 a.m. back in November of 1975.

When officers got to the apartment, they found White dead with multiple stab wounds. 


Stewart was 18 years old at the time of the murder and police say they both knew each other.

Stewart, who's now 59, is in jail in San Antonio awaiting extradition back to Houston County, and is being charged with felony murder.

San Antonio police told 13WMAZ Friday that they received a call from officers in Georgia requesting assistance to arrest a wanted person. The Texas officers were dispatched 5414 E. Midcrown Drive where they arrested Stewart.

Former Warner Robins Mayor Chuck Shaheen told 13WMAZ that he requested a few years ago that investigators reopen the case. He too was a friend of Cheryl White, he says.

"Cheryl was a beautiful person and we just want to make sure people remember her," Shaheen said.

We talked Scott White, Cheryl's brother, and he said this is an extremely emotional time for his family, and says that justice needs to be served for his sister.

We also spoke to Kathy Grant Willoughby, who remembers growing up in Warner Robins. Even as she flips through her yearbooks she is reminded of the bond her and Cheryl White had back then. She treasures the note she left in her yearbook now.


Willoughby says she was devastated when she got the news. Cheryl was one of her best friends growing up.

"This changed my whole life as far as me you know looking around, wondering who did this for many years. I still think about it to this day but as of yesterday we know who did it,” says Willoughby.

Willoughby says Cheryl had gotten in an argument with her parents when she decided to stay with Stewart.

"The ones who did know Cheryl. The ones who didn't know Cheryl can have some closure about who had done this to her. Everybody deserves to know. It really did something to Warner Robins,” says Willoughby.

She says as soon as she found out the news of the arrest, she had to go to Cheryl's grave to talk to her.

"I wrote her a letter and I just wanted her to know that justice was finally going to be served and that she was finally going to get to rest in peace,” says Willoughby.

It is the same peace she says she now feels, knowing that her friend's killer is now behind bars.
 

We've tried to ask Warner Robins Police what led them to Stewart in Texas, or how they broke the case after four decades. They've declined to comment.

© 2017 WMAZ-TV


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