This story is part of a collaborative project between Project: Cold Case and a University of North Florida Journalism class.
Tina Grogan was a humble, kind, considerate person and would do anything to keep her family together.
Growing up in a single-parent household, Tina was determined to make sure that her boys Dale Jr. and Stephon would grow up with their father. Dale Jr. was a smart, happy boy who loved learning and attending school. Stephon had a captivating, bright smile from the day he was born.
In November of 1992, Tina and her boys disappeared from the US Army base in Germany, never to be seen again.
Almost three decades have passed since the trio’s disappearance. Cheryl Williams and Shannon Williams, Tina’s mother and sister, still have no idea what happened to them. Their bodies have never been discovered and the case remains unsolved.
Shortly after graduating high school, Tina married Dale Grogan, the love of her life. When Dale was transferred to the Wurzburg, Germany base, Tina moved across the world with him. There, they raised their two boys while Dale served.
It wasn’t a picture-perfect marriage. The two often argued and disagreed. Police were called to their apartment multiple times after neighbors reported possible domestic violence incidents.
Cheryl and Shannon saw that Tina wasn’t happy in her marriage. They tried many times to convince her to move back home, but Tina was determined that her boys would grow up in a home with both parents.
Tina had informed her family that she was going to move back to the United States in September of 1992, but ultimately changed her mind and stayed in Germany.
Around Thanksgiving in 1992, neighbors from two separate apartment floors knocked on the Grogan’s door after hearing the screams of a woman and children.
Through a barely opened door, Dale informed the neighbors that everything was fine. The neighbors thought nothing more of it since they could no longer hear screams.
A few weeks went by of Cheryl and Shannon not hearing from Tina or her children. It turned into a month of the phone constantly being busy whenever they attempted to call. They began to worry.
It took many calls before they were able to get in touch with Dale or the Wurzburg base. Finally, in January of 1993, Dale was called in from the field to explain to Tina’s family why they had not heard from Tina. He told Cheryl that Tina had grabbed some bags, the children, and the checkbook and left with only a note on the door.
That wasn’t like Tina, according to Cheryl. She would not have left without notifying her mother and sister. And she had nowhere to go as an African American woman with two young children in a country where she didn’t know the language.
The military began their investigation in April of 1993, but the process was slow. Cheryl and Shannon were flown by the military to Germany in 1994 for a military hearing questioning whether Dale had played a part in the disappearance of his family.
While there, Cheryl and Shannon were allowed one hour to look over the case files.
The file contained evidence of suspicious purchases and concerning book titles. There was also mention of a missing piece of carpet. With only circumstantial evidence and no bodies, the military investigation stalled.
Dale Grogan has never been charged with a crime in this case. He was eventually honorably discharged from the military while Cheryl and Shannon were back to square one.
The investigation continued with cadaver dogs scouring the military base and surroundings for a scent of where Tina and the boys may have gone.
Blood samples were taken from Cheryl to compare to a bloodstain in the seat cushion of Dale’s car. The German authorities did not find a match.
In 1994, the torso of an African American female was found in the river near the Grogan’s apartment. It ultimately was not Tina, leaving Cheryl and Shannon with more questions.
The complexities of a military investigation and jurisdiction in an international country have left Cheryl and Shannon feeling alone in this fight. The intricacies of this case have been difficult to navigate for them.
Cheryl and Shannon just want answers and justice for Tina, Dale Jr., and Stephon.
“Before God closes my eyes for good, I hope we’ll get closure for Tina and the boys. I can’t take much more,” Cheryl said with tears in her eyes.
Cheryl Williams passed away on August 24, 2021. She never received answers to what happened to her daughter and grandchildren.
If you have any information on the unsolved murder of Tina, Dale Jr., and Stephon Grogan, please call the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command at (571) 305-4144.
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