Sex, Drugs, And Murder: Help Cops ID Unknown Women
Police hope to identify a woman who once traveled with Nissensohn in 1990, known only as Sherry.
Cops say it all started on May 5, 1989 when Joseph Michael Nissensohn, a drifter with an extensive rap sheet for armed robbery and drug possession, murdered a Tacoma, Wash. prostitute named Sally Jo Tssagaris. The murder went down while Nissensohn and his then-girlfriend, Cheryl Rose, were engaged in a bondage-style, drug-fueled sex romp with the victim. Police tell AMW that immediately following the murder, Nissensohn fled Washington with Rose ending up in Lake Tahoe, in California, but cops say Nissensohn's appetite for drugs, sex, and murder had yet to be satiated.
In August 1989, police say Nissensohn and Rose met up with a 16-year-old girl named Cathy Graves. Cops say that the trio did drugs and had sex in Nissensohn's van, but Nissensohn and Cathy later headed off into the woods on their own. Cathy told authorities that when Nissensohn returned to the van he said that he was upset with the teenage girl because she didn't want to continue having sex with him. It was the last time anyone ever saw Cathy Graves alive.
Nissensohn, trying to prevent Cheryl from later testifying against him, arranged a Mexican marriage ceremony not long after they left California. From there, the pair took off to Florida where they attended a truck driving school and started doing cross-country hauls. In June 1990, the pair met a prostitute named Theresa Pillow, a.k.a. "Brandy," in Ontario, Calif.
The trio traveled together until Rose had enough and returned to Florida. But Nissensohn soon met another woman to fulfill his penchant for sex and drugs. Cops only know her by the name Sherry, but numerous photos were taken of this unknown young woman during her stint traveling with Brandy and Nissensohn. Brandy later told authorities that one day, Sherry simply disappeared during the trip, and Nissensohn merely said, "She took off."
On August 22, 1990, Cathy Graves' skeletal remains were discovered near a hiking trail in South Lake Tahoe. Pierce County, Wash. detectives had already identified Rose and Nissensohn as suspects in the murder of Sally Jo Tsaggaris, and enlisted the help of Florida authorities to locate the former couple.
Cheryl Rose ultimately confessed to the details of Tsaggaris' murder and also told authorities about Cathy Graves. Nissensohn was arrested in Atlanta, Ga. for the murder of Tsaggaris and was convicted of second degree murder in Tacoma, Wash. But police are still trying to piece together a few last pieces of a puzzle that Nissensohn left behind: a photo album with a number of women that cops still want to identify.
Police fear that Sherry and the two unknown bikini-clad women have fallen prey to Nissenshohn's predilection for dangerous rough sex and drugs.
Girls On Film
The two women pictured here were discovered in one of Nissensohn's photo albums.
During his road trip with Brandy, Cheryl Rose and "Sherry" in the summer of 1990, Nissensohn documented his debauched journey with a number of photos. While police have spoken with Brandy and Rose, they still have yet to identify the young woman known only as Sherry.
Cops believe that Sherry was 18 to 22 years old at the time she was with Nissensohn. She is described as 5'10", 125 lbs., with long blond hair, a butterfly tattoo on her left shoulder, and an unknown tattoo on her right shoulder. Police say she could have been from Colorado, and it's not known if she was another one of Nissensohn's many victims or if she left of her own volition.
Authorities are also hoping to identify two young women in another photo. Nothing is known about either of the bikini-clad women who appear to be at a beach.
While Nissensohn served a 15-year-sentence for the 1989 murder of Sally Jo Tsaggaris, authorities are hoping to keep him behind bars for the Cathy Graves case and the 1981 murders of two teenage girls in Monterey, Calif. New information has been developed in the Graves case that has resulted in an arrest warrant pending the outcome of a civil commitment hearing in Tacoma, Wash. A California District Attorney is awaiting DNA test results in the Monterey murders before filing a complaint in their case.
Police fear that Sherry and the two unknown bikini-clad women have fallen prey to Nissenshohn's predilection for dangerous rough sex and drugs. Police in multiple states have come forward with nine other unsolved murder involving young girls that occurred between 1970 and 1980 that fit Nissensohn's M.O.
By Robert Brown, AMW Staff
Joseph Nissensohn in prison
This photo of Brandy and Sherry was found in one of Nissensohn's photo albums at the time of his arrest.
Sherry, during her time trucking with Nissensohn.
This tattoo of a butterfly is on Sherry's left shoulder and could be a clue in helping identify her.
Sherry also has an unknown tattoo on her right shoulder.
This picture of the two bikini-clad women was found in Nissensohn's photo album and police fear that they could be two more victims.
A close-up of one of the unknown women pictured on a beach.
Police believe this woman may be another of Nissensohn's victims.