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Woman hopes TV show will bring leads in sister's death

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Clarisse Middleton never stopped seeking justice for her sister's murder 15 years ago in East St. Louis. She hopes a segment on "America's Most Wanted" will bring new leads to a police department that may have lost the entire case file.

The decomposed body of Cheryl Anderson Phillips, 29, was found June 17, 1994, in Jones Park. Middleton said her sister had been missing for 15 days. The body was in such bad shape that a cause of death was never determined.

"I know somebody knows something about what happened to her," Middleton said.

Middleton said her inquiries to the East St. Louis police have gone nowhere. The department has told her there are no suspects, and her sister's file may have been lost in a flood at the old police station. Middleton wants the case reopened.

"I'm upset that they can't find the file," she said.

Middleton said the television show, "America's Most Wanted" might get involved, if she can provide newspaper clippings and details on the investigation.

East St. Louis detective Ken Berry declined to discuss the case, or the whereabouts of the file, with a reporter. Police Chief Lenzie Stewart did not return repeated calls from the Post-Dispatch.

Middleton, 49, lives in Seattle. She said she wants justice for her sister and for her mother, Jettie Shaw, 62, who died four years ago. Middleton said she believes her mother died of a broken heart. She had searched vacant houses, alleys and undergrowth for her daughter before the body was found.

Phillips went missing after dropping off her younger brother at her mother's home on June 2, then beginning the seven-block walk to her own apartment.

A passer-by found the body in woods near the entrance to Jones Park.

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