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Aug 15 10 10:48 PM

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Cheryl Hughes Werle's life was spent in a slice of paradise, and her life came to
an abrupt and untimely end.
                               Cheryl "Cher" Lynn Hughes (Werle)
Thanks to the persistence of Cheryl Hughes' beloved family, friends, and the dogged
determination of an intrepid journalist, Don Winner (at, Cheryl's
fate has been determined and her body recovered.
The recovery of Cheryl's body also resulted in the discovery of other Boca del Toro
neighbors who were murdered by Cheryl's killers. 

                                   CHERYL "CHER"

Cheryl, known by her friends as "Cher" to her friends, was raised in
St. Louis and Sunset Hills, before moving to De Soto and later Crestwood,

Cheryl moved to Gulfport Florida where she co-owned a sign company.
In Florida, Cher picked up the art of sailing, and as a result of her sailing
travels, she began spending time in Panama and promptly fell in love

with the areas she visited. So much so, Cheryl moved to Panama.

Family and friends describe her as a lovely, nice, fun loving woman who
liked to party.

Dwayne Cooney (Family friend & childhood friend of Cheryl) "When you
                           talk about someone who would light up a room, she was the
                           definition of that."

Cher was popular with everyone in the area of Bocas del Toro, getting along with
expats, tourists, local residents and especially with the children. Cheryl was 
known to hand out lollipops and host "kids movie nights"where she served bowls
of popcorn to the children.

Don Winner (Journalist) "Some people have said she helped out with the Bocas
                     BESO charity organization, delivered books to a school on "her
                     island", and really cared for and about the children in the area."

Although far from those who love her, Cheryl  keeps in constant touch by e-mail
and via telephone with her family and friends.

The other occupants of Cheryl's home were Feldman, a small dog, and Jackie, a
doberman pinscher, along with a white faced monkey. Feldman accompanied
Cheryl almost everywhere she went.


2005 - Cheryl and Keith Werle are married in Panama.


Mike Cooney (Close family friend) "She was just a magnetic personality. She just
                                                       loved people, loved life."

Mike Cooney gives Cheryl Hughes away at her wedding to Keith Werle in Panama,
and twice visits her at their Panama home.

Cheryl and Keith found a private island located in a remote area, a 45-minute boat
ride from the nearest town. Cheryl's dream home is on this island.

Keith Werle "Cheryl was "unbelievably happy" with our piece of paradise. We both
                     got that little island and said, 'Yeah, we could die here. This is where
                     we could spend the rest of our days.'"

In Cheryl's case, that sentiment would end up being prophetic. Her last days were
spent on the island she loved.

Sandi Hodge "Cher loved that property. That was her dream home, and she would
never, ever sell that property."
                                      BUSINESS & PROPERTY OWNER

Cheryl owned and operated a two hotels, one called the "Casa del Sapo," both
located on Isla Carenero, a warehouse on Isla Mono and another building on a
neighboring island. She also owned two houses and a Panamanian corporation
called "Southern Exposure Inc."

                                   NEIGHBORS & LIFE ON THE ISLAND

Across the water from the island are the Werle's closest neighbors, the Brown
family. Michael (61) Watson Brown and his Thai wife Manchittha "Nan" Nankratoke,
and their son Watson Brown (18). 

Donald Winner (Panama Guide) "I've learned through conversations with
                         detectives in the United States he was sure the true name

                         of Michael Watson Brown is actually Michael Francis Salem,
                         who has been wanted since 1981 by law enforcement officials
                         in Florida. Brown, according to Winner, kidnapped two policemen,
                         after which he fled to the Caribbean and then later went to Thailand
                         where he met the woman who became his wife."

In April of 2003, Michael and "Nan" Brown purchase a parcel of land of about 
45 acres - located along the coast on the mainland in the Cauchero area in the
province of Bocas del Toro. In May the Browns start a company called "Latitude
9.10 Inc."  Their property is purchased using the company.  April of 2005, the
Browns were issued certification as "agricultural producers."

One of Cher's neighbors was Bo Barry Icelar who went by the name of
Bo Yancy.  Bo was a former Art Gallery owner and Kung Fu expert from New
Mexico who moved to Bocas del Toro in 2004. Bo started a company called
"Iguana Limited Corp," using the company to purchase buy his property
and build his house. The lot was about 1.5 hectares and Bo designed his
house. He also created a Private Interest Foundation called the Fundacion
El Hogar De La Iguana. Bo Icelar was also a collector and dealer of Native
American artifacts and graced his home with many valuable items.

Bo had several close friends among the expat community and was well liked
and respected, but he was a very private person. Bo wasn't a party animal
and didn't frequent the party scene in Bocas del Toro.

Another neighbor, and friend of Cher's, is Sandi Hodge who moved to the area
about 2005 and lives next door to Bo Icelar on Isla Colon.


2007 - Cheryl's neighbors, the Brown family have disappeared. In a community
          where people come and go nobody thinks much of their disappearance,
          and as few people knew them, few remark upon it.

The Brown's disappearance is still a singular occurrence due to the identity of the
"new owners" of the Brown home, property and company, William "Wild Bill" Adolfo
Cortez Reese and his wife, Jena Seana Cortez. Cortez says he is from Mexico and
that his father is some kind of a "rich" Mexican. Cortez tells everyone that the Browns
had sold them their property. They promptly rename it "Hacienda Cortez."

They open up a bar named "Villa Cortez" with a sign bearing a skull and crossbones.

Sandi Hodge "He was loud and big and wild, but mostly we just kind of ignored him."
                     "Everybody knew he was crazy but nobody thought he was a killer."

Keith Werle "Cheryl and I had been on friendly terms with the Cortezes, and we
                      had entertained the Cortezes on several occasions. This man was
                      my neighbor. He was in my house for dinner with his wife, We knew
                      them for two and a half years. It was just "Wild Bill" and his wife."


2009 - October - Keith and Cheryl separate. Despite being separated from her
                         husband, Cher keeps in regular contact, texting Keith several
                         times a day.

                         Bo Icelar has let the expat community know that he's willing to
                         sell up and move back to the states. He's feeling a bit isolated
                         and wants to move closer to a friend back in Mississippi.
2009 - November - Bo Icelar tells several people that "Wild Bill" Cortez has
                            expressed an interest in purchasing his property. He plans
                            to meet with Cortez to see if they can work out a deal.

Bo speaks with his best friend back in the U.S. on the phone and tells them
that he's hopeful he might be able to sell the house quickly so he could be
home in time for the Christmas holidays. He also says the person who's
interested in buying supposedly has a lot of cash. 

Bo tells friends that Bill Cortez offered to buy his property for $180,000 dollars
and that he "immediately rejected the offer and was "offended" by the low
price. "I have no intention of selling to "Wild Bill" for that price."
Bo Icelar has a  last conversation with family members on the telephone
back in the U.S.

                         Bo Barry Icelar aka Bo Yancy disappears. 

                                  CHANGE OF OWNERSHIP

2009  - November 30 - The groundskeeper has been contracted by Bo to help him
                                   paint his house, and duly arrives to get to work. Instead of
                                   finding his boss Bo at the house, he finds Wild Bill Cortez.

                                   He is greeted by "Who the hell are you and why are you
                                   here?" After explaining he had been contracted to paint    
                                   the house, Cortez informs him "Bo's gone. I bought this
                                   house. It's mine now, so get the hell out!" 

                                  The groundskeeper got the hell out.

Wild Bill and Jena Cortez tell everyone that they had paid Bo Icelar for his property
in cash, that he left abruptly, and that they had no idea where he was.

                                 But they had every idea of where Bo was.
 Sandi Hodge "The Cortezes told me that Bo had left suddenly and sold them his
                        property at a reduced price, Hodge says people were surprised, but
                        mostly by the price. That struck me as very odd. It was the talk of
                        the town. I said, 'God, if I would've known he was going to give the
                        house away, we would've bought it."         

Still, Bo Icelar has previously spoken of leaving, so an abrupt departure didn't
ring any alarm bells in people's minds. But they did wonder. As time went on
the details didn't add up. Bo injured his foot during a Kung Fu exhibition and
required surgery and was using a cane to walk with. Hanging on a peg inside
Bo's house is his cane.

2009 - December 9 - Bill and Jena Cortez hire a lawyer and file documents
                                taking over Bo "Yancy" Icelar's properties and companies.

                                   A PIVOTAL DISAPPEARANCE

William and Jena Cortez throw parties on Isla Cauchero that a group of
American expatriates who socialize and gather weekly for parties attend.
Cher Hughes is attending this one.  

 2010- March 20- Cheryl Hughes (53) is last seen by any of her neighbors
                          and friends.


"Witnesses tell Cheryl Hughes' relatives "When the party (in March) wound
down, Cortez sent the other guests away but coaxed Hughes to stay behind,
saying the two had business to discuss."

As Cheryl is getting into a boat with a friend to go home, Wild Bill Cortez
tells her he wants to speak with her. He is rude to the person in the boat
telling her that what he wants to speak with Cheryl about is "private business
and none of yours." That person left.

Don Winner "On the day Cher disappeared, she was last seen getting into 
                     Bill's boat and riding away with him towards his property where
                    they were going to supposedly discuss the possibility of him
                    buying her property."

Sandi Hodge "Cortez told me that Cheryl had sold him all of her properties and
                      "just left" leaving her dog behind."
That was what really made me wonder what was going on because
                      Cher took the little dog, Feldman, everywhere she went."

Sandi Hodge knew her friend Cher wouldn't abandon her dogs or her home. Cher
loved both her animals and her home and just wouldn't sell up and leave without
a word to anyone.

Keith Werle knew that Cheryl wouldn't abandon her dogs or monkey or her home
on the island.

As her family stop receiving Cher's phone calls and emails, they become worried.
They begin enquiring as to Cheryl's whereabouts.

                                   NEW OWNERSHIP

"Wild Bill" Cortez and his wife Jena Cortez, take over Cheryl Hughes' home,
property, and company. They fired the employees of Cheryl's hotel, took down
her "Casa del Sapo" signs and put up their new sign, naming the place what
else, but "Casa Cortez."

                                    A KILLER'S MIS-DIRECTION EFFORTS

William "Bill" aka "Wild Bill" Cortez and Jena Seana Cortez murder Cheryl
Hughes Werle and bury her body in a garbage pit on the property
formerly belonging to the Brown family in Cauchero, Bocas del Toro.

Since William Cortez knew that Cher had a lot of family and friends, he decide
to do a little mis-direction to misguide all those who would come asking about
Cheryl. Shortly after her death, Bill sent text messages to her friends and family
using her phone.

One text he wrote posing as Cher "I'm fine, don't worry about me. I've moved to
                                                   Panama City, gone to the island of Taboga,
                                                   and set sail with a man I've met.
                                                   I love and miss everyone and I'll contact you
                                                   when I get to my destination."

Cortez/Holbert retrieved a bunch of Cheryl's clothing and told everyone that Cher
had "asked him to send those things to her for her trip."

Keith Werle "I felt something was off. The last three or four texts I got were just a
                     little strange. They weren't quite what Cher would say, and she
                     indicated in the text that she had "met someone and she was leaving."

Mary Wittmeyer (Aunt to Cheryl) "Our relationship was more like close sister than
                           niece and aunt." (They were close in age).

 Mary Wittmeyer telephones William Cortez three times.

Mary Wittmeyer "I get the chills thinking about those conversations.
                          The conversations were really creepy."

                         "William Cortez told me "he didn't know what had happened
                          to Cheryl. He said they had completed a business transaction,
                          with Cheryl selling her property and possessions to him before 
                          skipping town. He also told me that Cheryl had "instructed loved

                          ones to send him money and her personal possessions via air
                          cargo." I was welcome to come down to Panama to look for
                          Cheryl, but, he said, "She's not here."

 Mary Wittmeyer calles the U.S. Embassy in Panama and eventually speaks with
the FBI and Panamanian law enforcement about William Cortez's comments.

Local freelance journalist Donald "Don" Winner was contacted by one of Cheryl's
friends and began digging and prodding local authorities to take action. He began
writing about the suspicions surrounding William Cortez and his wife.

Don Winner " Werle, Hodge and other concerned friends didn't believe it. They brought
                       their suspicions to the attention of the local authorities. Getting those
                       authorities to take action, however, was another story."

Keith Werle "It's Central America; a lot of people come here to be missing. They
                     [police] don't really look."

Donald Winner "The "coconut telegraph" rumor mill on Isla Colon and in the
                         entire area was buzzing with talk of the disappearance of Cher
                         Hughes and the suspected involvement of "Wild Bill" Cortez.
                        However, everyone was still reluctant to point fingers at "Wild Bill"
                       Cortez (Holbert.) He had created a rough and tumble personality for
                       himself, and the simple fact of the matter is that people were afraid
                       of him. No one stepped up because they were concerned about the
                       potential consequences of doing so. Their "instincts" told them
                       confronting Holbert and Reese might get them killed - and they were

                                    CONFRONTING WILD BILL

Keith Werle confronts Wild Bill Cortez about Cheryl and her properties.

Keith Werle "I said, 'Bill, show me some papers. Show me you really bought this
                    because Cher would never sell it, certainly not without talking to me
                    about it first because it was our home,"
Don Winner "At one point in time Holbert even threatened that he was going
                    to "take care of" Cher's husband Keith, because Keith had been
                    saying in public that he suspected Holbert was in some way
                    responsible for Cher's disappearance. So, in the first two weeks
                    of June 2010, things were starting to heat up for Holbert and Reese
                    in Bocas del Toro."
                                   MISSING PERSONS REPORT

 2010 - June 11 - A friend of Cher's files a missing persons report for Cheryl Lynn
                          Hughes at the office of the Department of Judicial Investigation (DIJ)
                          near the airport in Bocas del Toro.

Don Winner "As soon as Cher's friend filed the missing person's report with the
                    DIJ, they let a few people in Bocas know what had been done,
                    including telling Cher's closest friends and family members about
                    the report."

 Don Winner "Their initial investigations indicated Cher Hughes had separated from
                     her husband Keith, had apparently sold her property, and had told
                     friends via text message she moved to Panama City, found another
                    man, and set off on a romantic sail around the world. That sounded
                    plausible enough for them, so the DIJ didn't really light a fire under
                    this case at that point."

 However, that attitude would change.

                         A CONCERTED COURSE OF ACTION

2010 - July - After months of not hearing from Cheryl, and no action on the part
                   of authorities, everyone is extremely worried.

                  Keith Werle, Cher's aunt Mary Wittmeyer, and sister Dianne Motlick
                   and friends meet in Panama.

                  Along with Don Winner, who's been writing articles about Cheryl's
                  disappearance, (and of others) they plan to meet with authorities
                  and present their case as to why the authorities should be investigating
                 William "Wild Bill" and Jena Seana Cortez, and looking for Cheryl Hughes

Keith Werle "Cortez "picked the wrong girl. He had no idea how many people loved her
                     and how many people would care. He just got greedy and picked somebody
                     that was special."

In Panama City, Panama, Keith Werle, Cheryl's aunt Mary Wittmeyer and Cheryl's
sister meet with the national police, Panama's Attorney General and Prosecutor,
and file a "denuncio"  which officially accuses William Cortez for Cheryl Hughes
Werle's death.

What really made the police sit up and take notice was when Keith Werle
informs them that William "Wild Bill" Cortez keeps an AK-47 on the property.

Mary Wittmeyer tells them of her conversations via telephone with Cortez.
Both she, Keith and Cheryl's sister inform authorities that Cheryl would
neither drop everything and disappear without notice, nor would she
forget her customary call to her father on his birthday. They also explain
about the strange mass text messages that her friends received after
she disappeared. Keith informs them that no paperwork detailing any
transaction with Cortez can be found.

Authorities realize that Cortez had made statements and terminology about
his taking over the property to friends and acquaintances of Bo Icelar, who
had gone missing in November.

 One week later, Panamanian police obtain a search warrant for the properties
"belonging" to William Cortez.

                                   JACKIE THE BRAVE & LOYAL DOG

Don Winner "Jackie" is an adult male Doberman Pinscher that simply 
                    adored Cher. Cher's house is located exactly 1.53 miles

                    to the Southwest of Holbert's property, where her body
                    was eventually discovered. After Cher went missing Jackie

                    refused to leave Holbert's property. On several occasions
                    he was put in a boat and taken back to Cher's island,
                    however sooner or later he would jump into the ocean and
                    swim the 1.53 miles, back to the Holbert property. He just
                    would not leave. He knew something. He wanted to stay
                    with Cher. He was at that property all the time, starting in
                    late March 2010 when Cher went missing."

                                         JACKIE - Cheryl's dog

2010 - July 20 -  Tuesday Police and Judicial investigators arrive on the Cortez
                         property (formerly belonging to the Brown family) with a search

 William "Wild Bill and his wife Jena Cortez, are long gone.

                        As authorities begin to search, Jackie would run to them. He
                        would bark and whine and get their attention and ensure they
                        were listening to him. It was obvious that he wanted to show
                        them something important.                  

  Don Winner "Jackie would run down to them, bark and whine, and then 
                      run back into the woods behind the house. About 340 meters

                      behind Holbert's house to the Northwest there was a pit used
                      to bury trash and rubbish.
                      Just like something out of a Hollywood movie script Jackie
                      would run down, bark and whine, make sure the investigators
                      were following him, and then run back up into the jungle.
                      Eventually the investigators followed Jackie to an area where
                      there was a garbage pit. Jackie laid down right next to a mound
                      of dirt that was there, crying and whining, still refusing to leave
                      Cher's side.
                      Investigators immediately started digging at that exact spot and
                      they quickly discovered Cher's remains buried in the pit, wrapped
                      in a blue plastic tarp.
                      If it wasn't for Jackie, who knows how long it would have taken them
                      to find the remains of Cher Hughes. In addition, the human remains
                      strongly suspected to be those of  Bo Icelar were also discovered 
                      close by."
Keith Werle, Cher's husband had the awful and sad task of identifying her remains.

                                  FUGITIVES ON THE RUN
William "Wild Bill" Cortez aka William Reese, aka Donald Lee Bruckart, real name
of William Dathan Holbert - and Jena Seana Cortez aka Laura Bruckart, real name
Laura Michelle Reese fled to Costa Rica. Authorities are now searching for missing
persons there and have found one body already.

Don Winner, the ever intrepid journalist blogger and avenging angel, had notified
newspapers and plastered the fugitive's photos in other South American countries
as well as notifying authorties. His hard work paid off.

When William Holbert and Laura Reese attempted to cross the river into Nicaragua,
authorities were waiting. They were extradited back to Panama and are awaiting

William Holbert confessed to Cheryl Hughes Werle's murder.
He claims "I killed Cheryl Hughes as she showed me some monkeys
                in a wooded area in the province of Bocas del Toro,"

Holbert also claims to have distracted and shot his victims in the nape of
the neck.

Several of Cheryl's friends took down the sign that William Holbert had erected over
Cheryl's hotel. Although they beat it with a pry bar they used to remove it and broke
it in half, the sign has been stored per investigators as evidence.

                                     MISSING CHERYL

Dwayne Cooney (Family & childhood friend) "There were too many people who 
                           loved her who were looking for her. That's pretty much what ended
                           his string of terror."

Mike Cooney (71)  "I miss her. I know everyone else does. The only satisfaction I have
                            is that he messed with the wrong person, the wrong family, the
                            wrong friends."  

Keith Werle visited the area where Cheryl had been buried.

Don Winner "Keith Werle walked in silence near the land where she was buried.
                     He stood helplessly next to the wire fence, about 50 meters from
                     the house and 400 meters from where she was buried."
 Tim Bolt (Uncle of Cheryl) "It's a terrible tragedy, but at least he'll be punished and
                                           put away so he doesn't do this again."

 Dwayne Cooney "We knew something was wrong, but we didn't realize it'd expand
                             this far."
Cheryl's family gathered at St. Louis for a private memorial service.

 Mary Wittmeyer (Aunt to Cheryl) "I'm sad for the whole world because we lost a
                                                     beautiful person."

Keith Werle says he will return to the island where he lived with his wife in happier
times. He says he will bury her ashes there.  

                           Cheryl & Keith Werle in happier times.

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#1 [url]

Aug 15 10 10:55 PM

The Brown family's remains have also been found in the same area as that of Cheryl
Lynn Hughes Werle and Bo Barry"Yancy" Icelar.

Two Panamanian workers are missing. Holbert has confessed to the murders of
the American expats, but not of any Panamanians.

Some suspect that racist that he is, William Holbert is afraid that if he confesses
to killing any locals, that his time in prison will be fraught with fear, fear that he'll
be attacked, or even killed.

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#2 [url]

Aug 17 10 7:33 PM

                                    HOMICIDE CHARGES

Angel Calderon "He (Holbert) has confessed to five homicides.
                          Homicide charges are also being filed against his partner,
                          Laura Michelle Reese.
                        "Not much is left (for authorities to do) for the case to go to trial."

 "Holbert killed the victims to steal their property, valuables and money. He said that
  he would register property and sell it. He had help from accomplices. The investigation
  continues to learn who assisted Holbert."

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#3 [url]

Aug 17 10 7:42 PM

                                  MEMORIAL SERVICE

2010 - August 17 -  A sunset memorial service for Hughes will be held Saturday, August 21,
                             at the Don CeSar Hotel in St. Pete Beach.

Cheryl "Cher" Hughes had previously lived in St. Pete Beach and was the owner
of a sign business called Southern Exposure.

Judy Barber (Cheryl's sister)
"It's crazy. I keep hoping I wake up from the dream, but it's a nightmare, it's not
I don't even want to believe that it's true. I keep hoping it's just a nightmare,
that maybe I'll wake up and she'll call me."

Doug Barber (Judy's husband) "Judy and Cheryl were as close as sisters could be.
"Inseparable. The two were so close that when Judy was going through a bad breakup
25 years ago, Cheryl convinced Judy to move to Gulfport. They set up a sign business
togher. Although Cheryl moved to Panama in 2000 to start a hotel and apartment complex,
the two kept in touch through phone calls and email."
Her calls and e-mails stopped around the beginning of March. In late July, we
received a call from Panama that Cheryl had been shot to death.
We were hoping to have the body back. But the FBI says that won't be possible."
Saturday at the Don Ce Sar should be a big step toward closure."

Judy Barber "I'm confident the Panamanian authorities will see justice done.
                     "Killing him would be too easy. May he be punished every day
                     the way I'm gonna be punished by not having my sister."

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#5 [url]

Sep 20 10 5:25 PM

2010 - September 20 -
Holbert called me on my cell phone from prison on Tuesday, 7 September 2010.
He called my cell from the pay phone in the prison. We had two brief conversations,

both about five minutes long, which I recorded.
Holbert said he wanted me to come out to the prison to interview him. He said he
wanted to give me the "whole story" from A to Z. While on the phone he spent most
of this time complaining about the conditions in prison, and the way he is being treated. 
 "Holbert Told Me He Killed Cher Hughes: He admitted doing it - like he was
talking about making a ham sandwich. No emotion, not a hint of emotion or regret.

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