Alove story, perfect for a made-for-television movie of the week, is rapidly becoming more suited for an HBO murder mystery special. Cheryl Cottle married Sonny Graham, the recipient of her previous husband's heart, and with this wonderful gift carried from one husband to the next, the story should have ended with some cloyingly sweet song about "Hearts that Bind Us Together in Love, " or some such drivel. Even the fact that Cheryl's first husband shot himself to death shouldn't ruin this endearing story, for from the sad end of one marriage came the happy start of another.
Unfortunately, her marriage to Sonny ended the same way with something equally as nasty in the woodshed. Sonny was found with a shotgun wound to the throat, a scenario eerily similar to the untimely death of the earlier husband/heart donor. Originally Sonny's death by gunshot was ruled self-inflicted, but now the police are having second thoughts about the manner of death. I would have to believe commonsense stepped in when they started checking out the circumstances of this not-s0-fairy-tale ending.
It turns out Sonny is Husband Number Five for Cheryl (pictured right with Sonny). She runs though them rather quickly, one way or the other. At the time she married the sixty-five-year-old Sonny, Cottle was thirty-eight years old. I guess it doesn't much matter about age when you know your husband isn't going to be hanging around that long anyway, regardless of how he makes his exit. However, I think the police are going to be looking mighty closely at just how the two dead husbands enriched Cheryl's life. Sonny was surely a generous fellow; he bought Cheryl and her kids a nice house before they were even married, and somewhere around that time, or shortly thereafter, she married Husband Number Four. That marriage lasted but a short time and as soon as it ended, Cheryl hurried on to marry Sonny. Then, after four years of wedded bliss, the always optimistic and cheerful Sonny "ends his life." Does Cheryl stand to inherit a whole lot of money upon Sonny's death, or is there a hefty life insurance policy on Husband Number Five? Or does she simply have another man waiting in the wings? Or is Cheryl truly a grieving widow?
While there is not yet any evidence of any wrongdoing and Cheryl Cottle may simply be a woman burdened with incredibly bad luck, there are enough red flags to make one want to investigate the death of Sonny and the previous "suicide" of Terry Cottle a bit more thoroughly.
What comes quickly to mind is the possibility Cheryl Cottle is a "black widow." She is in a very common profession for female serial killers - nursing. Cheryl is a licensed practical nurse who has worked in a prison infirmary and for hospices (one of which is involved in a lawsuit with Cheryl). The Georgia investigators no doubt will be doing a check of deaths in these hospices to see if any of the patients died of an earlier and odder death than was expected, even for one terminally ill. They will also want to know if Cheryl "befriended" any of these dying people and, if in doing so, she walked away with some financial gain that may have been intended for family members (cash, jewelry, etc.).
It is rare for lightening to strike twice in the same place, and for Cheryl Cottle to lose two out of five husbands in the very same way makes one just a little more than suspicious. I would be very surprised indeed to find out that both these men committed suicide and that Cheryl had no hand in their deaths. I look forward to the results of the police investigation.