Deputies name suspect, look for gun in Mazomanie homicide case
Phillip Byrd is officially a suspect in the murder of Cheryl Gilberg, deputies say
MADISON, Wis. — Dane County officials are looking for a pink gun that may be connected to the murder of Cheryl Gilberg, the Mazomanie woman found dead Feb. 23.
Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney said Wednesday during a news conference that the gun is a Charter Arms Pink Lady .38-caliber revolver that belonged to Gilberg.
The pink gun is one of many items deputies were looking for along Highway 14 last Thursday, officials said.
Mahoney said Phillip Byrd, 39, of Janesville, has been elevated from a person of interest and is now being considered the primary suspect. Byrd is still being held in the Rock County jail on charges of bail-jumping and drug possession.
Deputies are asking snowmobilers along Highway 14 to watch for the weapon, which may be kicked up by their snowmobiles. They are also looking for a black SUV that may have been driving along Highway 14 between Mazomanie and Middleton on Feb. 23.
“Something could get kicked up and as a result, we called this press conference in hopes that you could help us get that message out. If it is in fact found, we need people to leave it where it is, protect it and call 911 to have a deputy respond,” Mahoney said.
Officials said more than 100 people have been interviewed as part of the investigation into the death of Gilberg.
According to a criminal complaint, a prescription amphetamine pill bottle prescribed to Gilberg was found alongside prescriptions belonging to Byrd during the home search.
Mahoney said there was a history of domestic violence at the home, and that Gilberg filed for a restraining order last month. Court records show she filed it against a former or current live-in boyfriend, and it was scheduled to go to court last week.
Mahoney said there were incidents Gilberg reported within the last month, but he made it clear that there is nothing definitively linking her death to domestic violence at this point in the investigation.
Officials said Byrd was not the man Gilberg filed a temporary restraining order against, and was not involved in an alleged December domestic violence incident.
Mahoney said Gilberg owned the house, and was the only person living there at the time of the incident.
Gilberg was found by a family member who was checking on her.
Detectives ask that anyone who had contact with Byrd or Gilberg the weekend of Feb. 21-23 to call 608-284-6900.