Angela Cherice Gwinn Stephens was last seen on October 1, 1993, by her husband who claimed she had dropped him off at work that morning before disappearing.
However, many people, including Cherice’s late father, dispute Norman Stephens’ claims and say he likely wasn’t even at work at all that day.
When questioned about his wife’s disappearance, Stephens’ says he has no idea what happened to Cherice, only that she “just left.” Despite insisting he was telling the truth, Stephens’ refused to take a polygraph test to clear himself.
Refusal to take a lie detector, in and of itself, isn’t an indication of guilt but his filing for divorce a month after her vanishing speaks volumes.
Tom Gwinn, Cherice’s father, hired a private investigator in hopes of finding his daughter or, at the very least, uncovering what happened to her.
According to one source, said investigator uncovered evidence which disputed Norman Stephens’ claims of having worked the day of Cherice’s disappearance as well as proof that the vehicle she allegedly “just left” in was sold to a man in Charleston, West Virginia.
But the most disturbing event surrounding this case has to be that involving the Breckenridge Missionary Baptist Church.
At the time of Cherice’s disappearance, the church had had some septic system work done and portions of this area asphalted. Suspecting Cherice may have been buried here, authorities asked permission to dig up the blacktopped area and/or re-open the septic tank. After a closed-door conference between the preacher and head trustee, Tom Harmon, who is also related to Norman Stephens, authorities were met with a firm denial of their request. With nothing more than a hunch and rumors but no actual probable cause, investigators had no choice but to accept the church’s decision.
Oddly enough, Breckenridge Missionary Baptist is no stranger to death on their campus grounds. In the mid-1950s, teenager Leon Stephens allegedly drowned in a pond behind the church. And in 1971, Joann Honaker Dvorak was said to have left for Cleveland, Ohio, according to her husband, but a few days later was discovered dead, propped up next to a tree near the church and cemetery. Joann’s case remains unsolved to this day.
For years, Tom Gwinn continued to search for his daughter and continued to post flyers with her picture throughout the area. Sadly, Tom passed away on March 5, 2008. Before his passing, Tom Gwinn stated, “When I enter Heaven I’ll know exactly what happened to her.”
In March 2010, a search warrant was obtained for a vacant building in Crab Orchard, West Virginia, after construction workers at the old mining store reported they believed they had found human remains. The store was once owned by Norman Stephens’, Michael Stephens.
At last report, Norman Stephens had retained an attorney and was no longer willing to speak with investigators. He has since moved from the Beckley area.
If you have any information about the disappearance of Angela Cherice Gwinn Stephens, please contact First Sergeant Bowles, West Virginia State Police in Beckley, at 304.256.6700.