Family reacts to discovery of missing St. Helens woman's body in - KPTV - FOX 12

Family reacts to discovery of missing St. Helens woman's body in S. Oregon

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Cheryl Hart, KPTV/Family photo Cheryl Hart, KPTV/Family photo
Jeremy Milutin, jail booking photo Jeremy Milutin, jail booking photo
ST. HELENS, OR (KPTV) -

The family of a missing St. Helens woman is finally getting some closure after investigators found her body in Klamath Falls over the weekend.

Cheryl Hart’s boyfriend will soon face charges in connection with her death, according to police.

Hart’s mother, Sheri Melling, sat down with FOX 12 Monday afternoon in St. Helens. She said her 35-year-old daughter had a good life with three loving kids and a new job at Burgerville before she disappeared.

Melling said Hart had finally distanced herself from her on-again, off-again boyfriend, 36-year-old Jeremy Milutin. She even filed a restraining order against him in July.

Melling claims Milutin was controlling and abusive.
 
“We thought he was out of the picture,” said Melling. “Even her kids thought he was out of the picture. Nobody saw that coming.”
 
For reasons Melling can’t understand, her daughter set out on a road trip with Milutin. They went to Reno, Klamath Falls and Eugene.

Hart was last seen alive in Eugene on Aug. 4. The next morning, Milutin was spotted at a store alone. Several hours later, he was seen in Klamath Falls and then police caught him back in Eugene that night driving a stolen car.

Police said he tried to elude them, but they managed to take him into custody. Melling knew early on that her daughter was probably dead.
 
“They arrested Jeremy and they found her bloody clothes and ID in the car. I knew she was gone. He had a violent past," she said. 
 
Melling’s worst fears were realized over the weekend when searchers found Hart’s body in a wooded area outside of Klamath Falls. Officials have not released her official cause of death yet and Melling isn’t sure she wants to know.
 
“I have questions like, was she laying there alive for days? I mean, I don’t think so, but just to think about that, you know. Could we have found her sooner?” she said. 
 
Melling said her daughter’s legacy will be the kindness and empathy she passed on to her three children, ages 18, 16 and 10. She also hopes Hart’s death will serve as a warning to other women in dangerous relationships.
 
“This whole abuse thing – don’t think you can change somebody. If you’ve been hit once, you’re done," she said. 
 
Jeremy Milutin has been locked up in the Lane County Jail since Aug. 5 for car theft and other warrants. Police said he will soon be charged in connection with Hart’s death.

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