Missing Edgartown woman found dead in Tuthill Preserve


Updated 4 pm, Feb. 13

A search by Edgartown police for a 59-year-old woman, last seen at 10 pm Saturday and reported missing Sunday morning, ended with a grim discovery in the Caroline Tuthill Preserve, near the Triangle in Edgartown.

Police discovered the body of Sherry Winnette of Edgartown about 4 pm Sunday afternoon. They have ruled out foul play as a cause of death.

Edgartown Police received a call from Ms. Winnette’s roommate at 11 am Sunday morning expressing concern, officer Michael Snowden said.

Edgartown Police, assisted by the Island’s new K-9 unit, Oak Bluffs police officer Jeff Trudel and his black Labrador Buster, began a search of areas where Ms. Winnette liked to walk.

During a search of the 150-acre Tuthill Preserve in bone-chilling cold, the dog persisted in leading officer Trudel off the path.

“The dog led him right to her,” Mr. Snowden said.

State Police Sgt. Thomas Medeiros said he delivered the sad news to Ms. Winnette’s husband and brother, who live in Texas.

Will be missed

Sherry Winnette was a retired teacher from Austin, Texas, and had lived on the Island about six years, according to her friend Lynne Fraker of Tisbury.

“Sherry was a wonderful, warm, compassionate and generous woman,” Ms. Fraker said. “Her passion was working with pre-school special needs kids. The kids adored her. She loved designing nature and science projects for her kids.”

Mr. Fraker said her friend had a passion for birds. Ms. Winnette worked for the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank each summer as a bird monitor, keeping a close watch on nesting plovers and other protected birds.

“She would travel all over the Island to Land Bank locations and trudge through the brush and along the beach with her binoculars trying to protect her charges,” Ms. Fraker said.

Ms. Winnette was the lead pre-school teacher for the Martha’s Vineyard Community Services childcare program. “She was a wonderful teacher and surely will be missed,” program director Debbie Milne said.