Liberty County deputies searching for missing woman after blood evidence found in her home

Cadaver dogs are being used to search the property after evidence suggested something was dragged into a nearby lake.

Shannon Ryan Image
Wednesday, September 20, 2023
Butcher knife with blood wiped off found in missing woman's home: LCSO
The Liberty County Sheriff's Office launched a criminal investigation after finding blood evidence when responding to a missing woman's home.

LIBERTY COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- Blood evidence spotted inside a missing woman's home in Liberty County led deputies to launch a criminal investigation this week.

According to the Liberty County Sheriff's Office, at about 11:30 a.m. on Monday, a deputy went to check on a home following reports of a missing woman, 57-year-old Sheryl Ann Siddall, who had not been heard from since Sept. 12.

When arriving at Siddall's home, the responding deputy was greeted by a man named Donald Lee Hassler, 52, who, according to information from a Tuesday press conference, had met the victim two years ago and became friends.

Capt. Davis Meyers with LCSO said Hassler let the deputy in to search the home, but as he made his way into the kitchen, he found what's believed to be a blood stain on the plywood floor.

The deputy immediately backed out of the room and called for investigators.

Hassler allegedly told investigators he was purchasing the home from Siddall but claims she told him she was leaving for Oklahoma to visit her sister. However, deputies said all of Siddall's belongings, including her car and purse, were still on the property, and her phone was last pinged from a cell tower nearby.

According to Meyers, a relative had previously gone to check on Siddall and was told the same story from Hassler. The relative found it suspicious - as Siddall doesn't appear to have any sisters in Oklahoma - and contacted authorities.

Investigators also found evidence suggesting something was dragged into Horseshoe Lake, which is just behind the woman's home.

Meyers added they also found a boat in the water behind the residence, which family members said was unusual. He said the dragging marks found appeared to be from the boat.

Deputies said that following a search on Monday with side-sonar equipment, no additional evidence was found.

Hassler, who was said to be on parole on several burglary charges, was arrested and booked into Liberty County Jail on a charge of felon in possession of firearms after many of his weapons were confiscated at the scene. Meyers said a butcher knife that appeared to have blood and had been wiped was also found at the scene.

Meyers said Hassler exercised his Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination but became evasive when interviewed about Siddall's disappearance. Deputies said he could face additional charges.

LCSO returned to the area on Tuesday to search the property with cadaver dogs as foul play is suspected, and Siddall may be in the water. The search is expected to continue for the rest of the day.