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Missing Margaret Reiley
Reiley, circa 1992; Phillip Whaley in 1996
Missing Since 08/15/1992
Syracuse, New York
Classification Endangered Missing
Date of Birth Used 04/04/1962 (58)
Age 30 years old
Height and Weight 4'11 - 5'0, 90 pounds
Clothing/Jewelry Description A white dress shirt and blue jeans.
Medical Conditions Reiley had a drinking problem at the time of her disappearance.
Distinguishing Characteristics Caucasian female. Brown hair, blue eyes. Reiley's nickname is Peggy.
Reiley has never been heard from again. Her live-in boyfriend reported her as a missing person on August 18. She had not told him or her teenage daughter of any plans to leave, and she left her clothing and identification behind at her apartment in the 400 block of Shonnard Street. She had dropped out of sight before, but had never been gone for longer than a day.
Reiley's blue ten-speed bicycle was located six weeks later, in a storage shed at Whaley's mother's home in Pulaski, New York, forty miles from Syracuse. After the bicycle was found, Whaley changed his story and said he had put Reiley's bicycle in his mother's motor home after they left Tony G's and had started to drive Reiley to her apartment, but she saw a cocaine dealer named "Angel" and asked to be let out so she could buy drugs.
Whaley said he let her out of the motor home a few doors down from her home and kept her bicycle, and he last saw her talking to Angel and another man on the street. Authorities doubted Whaley's account, however, and Reiley's loved ones stated she did not use cocaine. A drop of Reiley's blood was found on a pillow inside Whaley's trailer.
Whaley maintained his innocence, but was convicted of both homicides and sentenced to 50 years to life in prison. He was the first person in Onondaga County history to be convicted of murder without the victim's body, and his trial was also the first where DNA evidence was presented.
Whaley, who is still in prison and now in poor health, admitted responsibility for Reiley and Chatraw's deaths in 2011. He said they were not intentional homicides, however. He offered to lead authorities to the bodies, and a search was launched in November.
Authorities looked for Chatraw in a wooded area off Cusson Drive in Amboy, New York, but found nothing and gave up after two days. Whaley said he'd put Reiley's body in a garage next to his mother's home in Pulaski, New York, but the building has since been demolished and investigators believe her remains wound up in a landfill.
Foul play is suspected in Chatraw's and Reiley's disappearances due to the circumstances involved. Their remains may not be recoverable.
Investigating Agency / Department