Sharon Kay Zellers
19 Years Old

October 28, 1959 to December 30, 1978

Sharon was a beautiful, auburn haired, 19 year old barely out of high school when she was brutally murdered. Having two older brothers, Sharon learned at an early age how to stand up for herself. As her brother, I knew better than to mess with Sharon! Being a skinny, awkward girl growing up, Sharon was shy amongst strangers and it would sometimes take awhile for her to feel comfortable around people. As a young girl, her favorite past time was playing "Barbie" with her girlfriend next door. Later, as a teenager, she enjoyed softball with the Girls Club and high school gymnastics.

During her high school years, Sharon went through numerous jobs, trying to find the "perfect" one. Those jobs ranged from working in a fast food restaurant to a cashier in a grocery store. During the summer of 1976 though, Sharon was hired part time as a character in the Main Street Electrical Parade at Walt Disney World, her favorite place to visit in her spare time. She couldn't believe that now she had the chance to work there too. She enjoyed working at Disney World so much that she continued to work weekends and during school holidays.

In the summer of 1978, Sharon decided she wanted to work awhile until she could decide what she wanted to do with her life. Sharon wasn't interested in college, at least for now, so needless to say, she was ecstatic when she was hired to work full time as a clerk in the Frontierland Trading Post at Walt Disney World after graduation.

Sharon was only out of high school seven months when she was found brutally murdered while on her way home from work at Walt Disney World. My Mom and Dad and the whole family were devastated. Murder only happens to the other person, not someone you love, or so I thought. But, I was wrong, it affects thousands of people every day. As the years go by, I often wonder what Sharon would be doing, if she were alive today. I'm sure she would have been married with a couple of kids. Sharon had her whole life ahead of her. Wherever you are Sharon, Mom and Dad, Don and Steve love and miss you every day. As they say, "Only the good die young."

CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE MURDER

New Year's weekend is always one of the busiest times of the year for Walt Disney World. Even though Sharon was not scheduled to work December 30th, she was called in to help out for the day. At 10:00 pm on the night of December 30th, 1078, Sharon left her job at Walt Disney World and was abducted from her car when she stopped at a grocery store. For 4 days, Sharon was missing and on the fifth day, her body was found beaten to death in a sewage pumping station.

Robert Cox, the only suspect in the case who was staying in a hotel next door to where Sharon's body was found, was brought to trial for her murder. After a week-long trial, Robert Cox was found guilty of Sharon's murder and sentenced to Florida's death row. Unbelievably though, on appeal, the Florida Supreme Court threw the jury's decision out on grounds of insufficient evidence. Robert Cox served only 18 months in prison before being released. Robert Cox was returned to the state of California where he had been serving a sentence there for kidnapping and assaulting two women. He was subsequently paroled to Springfield, Missouri, his hometown, and later moved to Texas where he was convicted for armed robbery and is now serving a life sentence with no possibility of parole for 30 years.

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