Vera Jo Reigle's Murder (08:00)
On March 26, 2011, Vera Jo went for a walk with Danny Bixler and Nicole Peters in Findlay, Ohio. Her body was discovered on nearby train tracks five hours later. Findlay police had responded to domestic violence calls against Zachary Brooks multiple times in the months before her murder.
Day of the Murder (04:21)
The Findlay Police Department was familiar with the house where Vera Jo and members of the Brooks family lived. The day of the murder, police were called to a fight that forced Peters, Bixler, and Zachary to flee. The police searched for Bixler who had been recently released from prison.
Solving Vera Jo's Murder (05:37)
Police quickly solved Vera Jo's murder. Bixler drunkenly told his sister about it and a security camera caught him and Peters walking to the train tracks with Vera Jo. Five members of the Brooks family were charged with lying to police.
Vera Jo and the Brooks Family (07:42)
Brooks family matriarch Cheri attempted to cover up the murder by lying to police. After the murder, it was discovered that Vera Jo was kept hostage in the home and regularly beaten. Vera Jo had the mental capacity of an 8-year-old and would be whatever someone asked of her.
Cheri Brooks' Children (06:13)
Cheri had an obsession with baby girls and would claim any born to someone living in her house. She lost custody of five of her nine children because of reports of sexual abuse.
Cheri's Influence (05:42)
Cheri wanted all her sons to have children by the time they were 16 or 17. Gina Lopez dated Garth Brooks and Cheri had her sons stalk Lopez once she became pregnant. Cheri convinced Vera Jo to have a child with Zachary and claimed the baby before she was born.
Zachary's Motive (06:54)
Zachary did not want to be with Vera Jo after their daughter was born, but Cheri would not let Vera Jo leave. He began beating Vera Jo. Zachary claimed to be the head of the Findlay Crips and had other people beat Vera Jo.
Planning Vera Jo's Murder (06:47)
Cheri made numerous jokes about putting Vera Jo on the tracks. Cheri told Peters and Bixler about her nephew dying in a train accident in the same spot Vera Jo’s body was found. Cheri told Bixler that Vera Jo killed her son Punky, a one-time leader of the Findlay Crips.
Vera Jo's Beating (04:18)
Before the murder, Bixler and Peters beat Vera Jo in front of Cheri and broke most of the bones in her face. They got a sexual thrill from the beating and stopped multiple times to have sex.
Cheri's Cover Story (07:07)
Bixler and Peters were charged with assaulting and murdering Vera Jo. Voices for Vera formed to call for charges against Cheri and those responsible for Vera Jo's abuse. Cheri was sentenced to five years probation and prosecutors used her story as the basis for their case against Vera Jo's killers.
Lies in Cheri's Story (08:47)
Though Peters’ lawyers and the prosecutors believed Cheri's cover story, events on the day of the murder do not line up. Vera Jo was brutalized by multiple members of the Brooks family, in addition to Peters and Bixler. Zachary helped Bixler and Peters scout the murder scene and plan an escape to Kentucky.
Zachary's Involvement (05:18)
Vera Jo began to panic realizing Peters, Bixler, and Zachary were planning to kill her. She asked other members of the Brooks family to come with her on the walk, but they were prohibited. Cheri stopped Zachary from going with Peters and Bixler to commit the murder.
Celebrating Murder (03:43)
Peters and Bixler returned to the Brooks' house to celebrate. They and Zachary went to Bixler's sister’s house to party. While Peters seemed excited, Zachary seemed haunted and Bixler drunkenly confessed to his sister.
Aftermath of Vera Jo's Murder (04:18)
The judge in Bixler's case admitted a motive for the killing was not clear. The Brooks lost custody of Vera Jo and Zachary's daughter. Peters was sentenced to 23 years in prison and Bixler received a life sentence.
Credits: Goodnight, Sugar Babe: The Killing of Vera Jo Reigle (01:14)
Credits: Goodnight, Sugar Babe: The Killing of Vera Jo Reigle
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