In loving memory: Cheri Domingo and Greg Sanchez

Cheri Domingo and Greg Sanchez, courtesy Debbi Domingo

Cheri Domingo and Greg Sanchez, courtesy Debbi Domingo

This guest blog post about Cheri Domingo and Greg Sanchez was written for us by Debbi Domingo, Cheri Domingo’s daughter.

I met Debbi last year. We spoke about her mom, trying to find new ways to review the cases, and how we can make sure that Cheri and Greg are not forgotten. I asked her to write a post about her mom and Greg. Here is Debbi in her own words.

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I don’t know the official criterion how long a murder case needs to go unsolved before it is classified as “cold.” What I do know is that by the end of the first year, I stopped asking questions about the progress of the investigation.

I was 15 years old in 1981 when an intruder came into our home in the middle of the night, bound my mother, Cheri Domingo, shot her boyfriend, Greg Sanchez, and savagely beat them both to death using some sort of tool.

I was not home that night, but my imagination has created a chilling array of mental images of what must have gone down. I believe the killer waited outside the bedroom door until both had drifted off to sleep. Once he was ready, he burst into the room, armed to the teeth with flashlight, gun and bludgeon.

Cheri Domingo and Greg Sanchez, courtesy Debbi Domingo

Cheri Domingo and Greg Sanchez, courtesy Debbi Domingo

The blitz attack couldn’t have lasted long. Evidence suggests that Greg put up quite a fight against the much smaller attacker, who must have been forced to shoot Greg once in the face. The bullet likely subdued Greg for a time; long enough for the killer to get my Mom tied up tightly with her hands and feet behind her back.

Greg must have come back into the fight at some point, as the killer struck Greg in the head many, many times. I’m told that Mom was killed by one particularly forceful blow to the head.  Oddly enough, the monster took the time to ejaculate before fleeing the scene. Big mistake.

Who could have done such things? In a peaceful community like Goleta, California, it was unfathomable. The detectives were baffled. I’m sure they ruthlessly turned over what few stones they may have come across. Nothing came of it. For over 20 years.

I don’t know at what point the evidence box got closed up, shelved and forgotten. Doesn’t matter. What does matter- to me, anyway- is that at some point, someone pulled the box off the shelf. And in the 15+ years since, DNA has conclusively linked my Mom & Greg’s killer to the rest of the East Area Rapist – Golden State Killer series. Our cold case is now Red Hot.  And for that I am grateful.

Debbi Domingo and Greg Sanchez, courtesy Debbi Domingo

Debbi Domingo and Greg Sanchez, courtesy Debbi Domingo

They were a stunning couple; My Mom and Greg. She was 35, brunette, petite, with a smile and laugh that were contagious. He was 27, handsome, strong and charming. They were both smart, responsible, generous and well-liked.

Music was always playing when they were around. Even today, when I hear Fleetwood Mac, Seals & Crofts, Chicago or the Eagles, I can see the two of them dancing.

It was Greg who first called me “DebraDee.” I protested at first; I insisted, “My name is Debbi!” He said, “That’s OK. You can be DebraDee to me.” And he was right. It was OK. No one else ever called me Debra. And I kind of like it that way.

I always imagined my Mom and Greg would stay together forever. Ironically, at the hands of a murderer, they have.

Will “The Golden State Killer” ever be identified?  When he is, I’ll let you know.

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Thank you, Debbi, for writing this post. It is a wonderful tribute to Cheri and Greg.

May they both rest in peace.