Two Maryland women with ties to three murder suspects have been missing for nearly a month, and their families are worried.
Heather Grogg, 33, and Danielle Tyler, 18, were last seen in Carroll County, Maryland on April 6, 2020, according to FBI Pittsburgh. The FBI report states the women are believed to be together and in danger.
According to their families, both Heather and Danielle have connections with three Maryland men, David Sanford Jr., 26, John Black III, 22, and Monroe Merrell, 22, who have been arrested and charged in the kidnapping and murder of Maryland resident Jonathan Riddle. Riddle’s body had stab wounds and was found on fire in Rippon, West Virginia on March 18.
When Brandie Hebb saw the news about Jonathan’s death, she called her older sister Heather, who knew him. She said Heather was shocked by the murder.
At the time, Heather had been staying at a friend’s house in Westminster, Maryland, and working as a live-in babysitter for his children. This friend was identified by Heather’s sister as David Sanford, the man who was later arrested for murder.
Brandie told Dateline she’s worried her sister is in danger because she possibly knows something she shouldn’t have known.
“I’m worried she witnessed something she shouldn't have seen and that’s why she’s in danger,” Brandie said. “It’s not like her to just disappear like this. To fall off the face of the earth. She always calls me to let me know she’s OK.”
Brandie said she last spoke to her sister on April 3.
“She seemed fine at first,” Brandie said. “But then seemed a little stressed. She wanted to see me face-to face, but I told her we’d have to wait. With everyone being quarantined because of coronavirus, we decided it’d be better to wait.”
Brandie, who is 10 years younger than Heather, said they have always been close. She describes Heather as being a friendly, lovable person who makes friends wherever she goes, and is young at heart.
“She loves going to the playground and getting on the swings,” Brandie said. “She loves swings. She would never pass up the swings.”
Brandie told Dateline it’s not like Heather to stop communication with everyone and she would never leave her children. Heather is the mother of four children, ages 14-18.
“If she’s out there and reading this, she can come home now,” Brandie said. But Brandie adds that she’s worried there’s a reason why Heather can’t get in touch with them.
Another Maryland resident, Danielle Tyler, is also missing. Brandie told Dateline Heather mentioned that Danielle was someone who came to the house, but that was all.
Danielle, an 18-year-old from Taneytown, Maryland, was also last seen on April 6. Her grandmother and legal guardian, Sherry Tyler, told Dateline that Danielle had gone through a breakup in March and had started dating Monroe Merrell, one of the men who was later arrested. She began spending more time at the house in Westminster where Heather was staying.
The last time Sherry spoke to her granddaughter was on April 6 by text.
“She texted me and said, ‘MeMaw, I think I’m going to turn my phone off for a bit. I’m just tired of the drama,’” Sherry told Dateline. “I told her that wasn’t a good idea because I needed to stay in touch with her. She knows how much I worry.”
She added that the text was out of character for Danielle.
“She would never let me worry like this,” Sherry said. “And this was her graduation year and she was so proud. And she knew I was proud. She wouldn’t just run off.”
Sherry told Dateline that Danielle is a high school senior who is supposed to graduate this year, but the commencement ceremonies were pushed back because of coronavirus. She said Danielle had been taking video production classes and is hoping to become a videographer.
Sherry said that not long after her last text conversation with Danielle, she was contacted by Maryland State Police homicide detectives looking for Danielle. They encouraged Sherry to file a missing persons report. Dateline reached out to Maryland State Police for comment but they deferred questions to FBI Pittsburgh.
Spokesperson Catherine Policicchio told Dateline that FBI Pittsburgh is working closely with law enforcement partners to investigate threats to the community.
“The safety and welfare of those involved and the integrity of any investigation are always the first priorities for the FBI,” she said. “At this time, we are not able to release any additional information. Anyone with information about the whereabouts of these two women is asked to call FBI Pittsburgh or local police. We do also want to assure the community that there is no wider threat to public safety at this time."
The families of both Heather and Danielle told Dateline they are worried sick and are hoping someone will come forward with information on their whereabouts.
“She’s my baby girl and I just want to know that she’s OK,” Danielle’s grandmother Sherry said. I’m living my worst nightmare and I know it won’t end until she’s back home.”
Danielle is 5’3” tall and weighs 110 pounds. She has blonde hair and green eyes. She has snake bite piercings on both sides of her lower lip and a small nose ring in both sides of her nose. Heather is described as being 5’2” tall and weighing 175 pounds. She has blue eyes and her hair is usually red or blonde. She has a lip piercing below her right lower lip.
Anyone with information is urged to call FBI's Pittsburgh Field Office at (412) 432-4000.