"I understand how frustrating it is waiting for the final report on Stephenville," Cherry stated. "This is the most significant case I will probably ever see."
The UFO sightings near the small town of Stephenville have received extensive press coverage worldwide, since the very onset of the reports. Cherry has remarked that the Associated Press' initial report on the case listed his home phone number, and his phone rang constantly for five weeks. He gave over 100 radio and television interviews on the case, being careful not to give premature opinions on the case until all of the facts are in.
One of the main reasons that the investigative process is still ongoing is because the reports of sightings are still being received, and the investigators involved are still busy interviewing new witnesses, looking at drawings, and various photographs and videos.
Cherry also stated that although the core of the original sightings related to the days of January, 7 and 8, it was soon discovered that the wave of sightings actually began in December, 2007, and continued until the middle part of February of this year. The sightings also encompassed not only Erath county, but spanned a four county area surrounding Stephenville.
The investigative team has stated that the vast number of sightings could be categorized into two main groups:
1) Descriptions of "spheres," or "intense balls of light, as bright as an acetylene torch." These objects were seen often in formations, and at times, these lights would scatter, and move erratically in the sky.
2) Descriptions of one extremely large craft, sometimes described as "bigger than a WalMart," or "bigger than three football fields." These reports were far outnumbered by the reports of spheres.
Because the Stephenville case involved so many witnesses, MUFON arranged two separate meetings to interview all of them. The first was held on January 19, in the small town of Dublin. This meeting drew the attention of so many members of the press and media, that Cherry's time was spent dealing with them, while the other investigators were interviewing and taking witness statements.
Estimates of those in attendance ran as high as 600. During the first meeting, 50 statements were taken, with many other witnesses encouraged to post their reports online.
During a second meeting, held on February 23, seventeen more witnesses were interviewed. Reaching a final analysis on the case has also been stalled by the problems dealing with the large amount of photographic and video evidence, and their legalities. A number of witnesses have been approached and offered money for their evidence from third parties, which would move MUFON out of the information loop, and create an incomplete report. MUFON continues to negotiate with several individuals attempting to obtain rights to their evidence.
More than likely a number of the images are redundant, yet the possibility remains that there could be one or two very important ones not included in the report. This is common in well publicized UFO reports. Often, a production company will buy the exclusive rights to a film or photograph, and include it in a documentary report. This process, although perfectly legal, will keep the item from being made available for analysis by the UFO community at large.
This situation occurred during the O'Hare Airport case, with rumors of different pieces of evidence floating around the Internet, and hoaxed photographs being posted. Also, we reported, with good sources, that actor and UFO enthusiast Dan Aykroyd had purchased rights to video of the highly publicized Chicago sighting, but so far, we have not seen any evidence of this.
Rest assured that MUFON will use what is available to them to make the most complete report they are capable of, therefore satisfying the public's need for a final report on the UFO sightings over Texas. We are waiting, and will make a full report on MUFON's final analysis when it becomes available.
source: MUFON UFO Journal, March 2008, No. 479