Police say they have new lead in woman's 1996 disappearance

In August 1996, Sherri Vanessa Holland disappeared on her way back home to Atlanta from her Florida vacation home. 

Her BMW was found abandoned by authorities eight days later.

Channel 2 Investigative Reporter Mark Winne has been covering this story since the disappearance and, on Tuesday, he spoke with authorities about a major break in the case.

Chief James Callaway of the Morrow Police Department, said a tipster has provided the hottest lead in the case in 20 years.

"It’s our hope and it’s my personal prayer that we do find Sherri Holland out there in the woods tomorrow to bring some closure to this family," Callaway said.

Callaway said the anonymous tip leads him to believe Holland's remains were found abandoned beside I-75 in August of 1996, along with a flat tire.

In an interview with Winne, Callaway showed him the nail in the tire.


Holland's remains may repose be in a patch of woods that Morrow police plan to search on Wednesday with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Clayton County Sheriff's Office deputies and four cadaver dogs from South Carolina.

"The tipster has said that there were some items found that were purported to be Sherri Vanessa Holland's personal effects," Callaway said.

Callaway said Holland's dogs turned up miles from her car and he's personally corroborated the new tip. He said the car contained a loaded gun, more than $2,400 in cash, a purse but no wallet, and no suitcases.

Although she had just departed from Flagler Beach, Florida, where she had a second home, she was headed north toward Atlanta, where she had a house in Buckhead.

Callaway said Holland ran an escort business and her underground lifestyle made it difficult to ferret out

"It's like this person just vanished off the face of the planet. Whatever her profession was, it's incumbent upon us as a law enforcement agency to seek justice," he said. 

GBI Director of Internal Affairs Fred Mays said the case took him from Atlanta to Flagler Beach to Tennessee and involved dozens of interviews and several searches when he was a case agent in 1996.

"Foul play is most certainly suspected in this case," Callaway said.

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