Public Safety

Remains of Arkansas woman missing since 2008 found in Iowa

No foul play believed in death of former police sergeant

Cerilla Doyle (Photo courtesy Pea Ridge Police Department in Arkansas)
Cerilla Doyle (Photo courtesy Pea Ridge Police Department in Arkansas)

MASON CITY — Human remains found in rural Mason City have been identified as a 51-year-old female police sergeant missing from Arkansas since 2008.

The State Medical Examiner’s Office last week said the remains were positively identified as Cerilla Doyle of Bentonville, Ark.

Foul play is not suspected at this time, but the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation said the investigation “is continuing into the circumstances surrounding her travels between Arkansas and Iowa, as well as the circumstances surrounding her death.”

Doyle was employed with the Pea Ridge Police Department as an officer and sergeant from 1995 to 2008, the Arkansas department said in a tribute to her on Facebook.

“We have learned of her passing and we want to take the time to express our sincere condolences to Doyle’s family and friends,” the department said. “Doyle will always have a special place in the hearts of everyone here at PRPD and the City of Pea Ridge.”

An investigation conducted by the Bentonville Police Department determined that Doyle had left the area voluntarily, and that no contact had been made with her since she went missing in October 2008, according to the DCI.

On May 20, the Cerro Gordo County Sheriff’s Office was informed of skeletal human remains discovered in the 22000 block of 275th Street in rural Mason City. The remains were transported to the State Medical Examiner’s Office in Ankeny, where an autopsy was performed May 23.


According to Arkansas court documents obtained by the Globe Gazette, Doyle’s daughter, Danielle Doyle, last talked with her mother the morning of Oct. 27, 2008, and reported her missing to the Bentonville Police Department there.

Danielle Doyle lived with her mother at the time of her disappearance and asked April 10 for her to be legally declared dead.

Court documents filed with the petition in April detail a timeline of events leading up to Doyle’s disappearance.

On Oct. 26, 2008, Doyle was seen walking out of the lobby of the Bentonville Police Department with a gun. Police reports about the event were redacted, making it unclear why she was at the department.

When confronted by Officer Kristofer Moffit, Doyle told him she had been under a lot of stress after her husband’s death and that “her current boyfriend, Charles Thomas, was controlling, had an alcohol problem and she wanted to leave him.”

According to the police report, Doyle’s husband had died in February 2008 and she was later “forced to resign” from the police department in August 2008.

The officer asked if she would be willing to go to a hospital to be evaluated, but she refused. Daughter Danielle Doyle picked her up and took her home.

Moffit told Doyle he would put her Colt pistol into evidence “until she was feeling better.”


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Doyle was reported missing the next afternoon. At about 7:30 a.m. Oct. 27, 2008, Doyle told her daughter she had errands to run at the bank and post office and would have her phone off.

Upon returning home later, Danielle Doyle found her mother’s two vehicles parked in the backyard, as well as a title to one of them, power of attorney and a check made out for $27,067 to her daughter.

Doyle left her a to-do list that said “water the plants, take out the garbage, take care of herself and don’t hate Chuck.”

Doyle withdrew $1,000 from an ATM at Walmart in Bentonville. A receipt showed that she also bought a gear bag, hat and a zip hoodie at the store that day.

Doyle purchased a bus ticket under the name of Deedra Corey. The bus was scheduled to stop in Joplin, Miss., before going on to Tulsa, Okla.

Law enforcement could not confirm that she boarded the bus.

Thomas, her boyfriend, told police he has not seen her since he dropped her off at the police station the day before.

“Thomas told Danielle that Cerilla had told him previously that if she did kill herself, she would do it in the woods in the middle of nowhere so no one would find her for a long time,” a Bentonville Police Department investigation report said.

Officers spoke to a woman who said Doyle was living under an assumed name, though she had not heard from her.

Doyle was legally declared dead July 18.


The Cerro Gordo County Sheriff’s Office and the DCI are asking anyone with information regarding Doyle to contact Cerro Gordo County Sheriff’s Office at (641) 421-3000.

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