A nurse named Cindy James 44, was found having been drugged, strangled, and with her hands and feet tied behind her back. Yet investigators thought it was an elaborate suicide.
Cindy James Nursing Photo | via Strange Murders Podcast
The body of Cindy James would be found on June 8, 1989, in a suburb of Vancouver, British Columbia, but the story of what happened to Cindy started over seven years previous.
In those seven years, Cindy reported over 100 incidents of harassment.
Before the Attacks
When Cindy was 19, she married Dr. Roy Makepeace, who was eighteen years older than her. She began working as a nurse and excelled at counseling children with emotional problems.
In 1982 she filed for divorce from her husband, the incidents started four months later.
It wasn?t long after that she first went to her parents and told them about harassing phone calls, and letters she had been receiving. When the messages turned from sinister to threatening her life, she went to the police.
As the harassment continued, those who knew Cindy said they could physically see the toll it was having on her. She had always been described as beautiful and vibrant, but now she appeared tired and frayed.
Cindy James | The Trouble with Justice
Then the threats escalated. Cindy found three dead cats hanging in her garden. Her porch lights had been smashed, and when she tried to call the police, she discovered her telephone lines had been cut.
Notes started appearing on her doorstep, instead of being mailed.
Soon after this, the physical attacks on Cindy herself started.
Cindy?s friend, Agnes Woodcock, showed up one night to visit. Agnes knocked on the door, but Cindy didn?t answer. Cindy was known for her long evening baths, and at first, Agnes just thought that?s what could be keeping her friend.
Agnes walked around back, and to her dismay, found her friend Cindy crouched down, looking like she was trying to hide. Once she realized it was her friend Cindy got up, that?s when Agnes saw the nylon stocking tied around Cindy?s neck.
Cindy was shaken as she replayed what had happened to her, shortly before Agnes arrived. She said she had gone into her garage to get something, and someone grabbed her from behind. They wrapped the stocking around her neck and was strangling her. The only thing she got a good look at was her attacker?s shoes, white sneakers.
Believing they got scared off and ran away when Agnes arrived, Cindy was able to escape to the backyard and hid.
Copy of note left for victim | The Trouble with Justice
Years of Violence
The notes became more dark and threatening. One left on the windshield of Cindy?s car showed a corpse being pushed into a morgue.
Cindy started receiving orders of raw meat being sent to her home. Once she arrived to find her dog shaking and sitting in her own feces with a cord wound around her neck tightly.
Sometimes she would receive near-daily threats, then nothing for long periods.
Her personal journals reflected how traumatized Cindy was with what was happening to her.
Cindy James | via Unsolved Fandom
She Fights Back
The police didn?t seem to believe her stories and openly let her know. So Cindy knew she had to fight for herself. She moved to a new house. She got her car painted and even changed her last name.
She also hired a private investigator, Ozzie Kaban.
Ozzie got started on her case, but he had the suspicion that his client was holding something back. When talking to Cindy?s parents, they agreed they thought she was withholding crucial information. They speculated Cindy might have an idea of who was doing all of this but was scared to say.
Besides tracking down leads, Ozzie had lights installed outside of Cindy?s house and gave her a two-way radio with a panic button so she could easily reach him even if her telephone line was cut again.
Late one night, Ozzie heard odd noises coming across the two-way radio, and rushed to Cindy?s house.
He found her lying in the hallway with a knife through her hand that had a note attached to it saying, ?you are dead bitch.?
Cindy was motionless, and Ozzie thought at first she was dead, but he found a pulse. Cindy was taken to the hospital, and after regaining consciousness, she was able to tell investigators that she felt someone put a needle in her arm, she had no recollection of the stabbing.
The police believing Cindy staged the attack, didn?t even bother to take fingerprints at her home or on the knife and note.
Ozzie didn?t believe that Cindy would have been able to inject the needle or stab herself at the angles that both entered the body. He strongly believed that someone had attacked his client.
It?s All in the Details
Cindy wanted to try and remember anything she could and agreed to go under hypnosis and take a polygraph test. Unfortunately, it was determined after testing that Cindy was too ?traumatized? to be able to give useful information.
The calls started picking up with frequency, but they were so short that a trace couldn?t be made.
A strange incident occurred, though. Every time the police would set up 24-hour surveillance, no calls would come in, and no notes would be left at her home. The police used this as more ?proof? that it was all faked. But a more sinister explanation could be made that whoever was attacking her had at least information about the police movements.
Her home was never tested for listening devices, and the police never did an investigation in the policeman that Cindy had recently been seeing.
If the attacker really wanted to make Cindy look crazy, avoiding making themselves known when the police were watching would cast a lot of doubt on her story.
Cindy James bruised after attack | via The Trouble with Justice
Out For Blood
The next attack was a rapid escalation that left Cindy hospitalized. She was found near frozen suffering from hypothermia in a ditch over six miles from her home. She was left wearing a man?s work boot and glove, with a black nylon stocking around her neck. She had a black-and-blue eye and other numerous injuries and bruises to her body.
After the last attack and fearing for her life, she asked her friend Agnes and her husband, Tom Woodcock, to stay with her. One night after everyone had gone to bed, they were awoken by noises in the basement.
When they went to see what was going on, they found the basement in flames. As they tried to call 911, they found the phone line cut. Tom ran outside to go ask a neighbor to call the fire department and saw a man standing in front of the house.
Tom asked him to call 911, but the man instead started running away down the street without saying a word.
Police determined the fire was deliberately started and labeled it an act of arson. They searched the basement windows and said they couldn?t find any usable fingerprints on the windowsill that the perp would have had to enter through. Therefore they determined the fire was staged.
Investigators also pointed to the fact that they had seen Cindy walk her little dog alone at night, that she must not be scared of an attacker.
Photos of various notes sent to Cindy James who is also pictured | via Melanie Hack website
It Was All Too Much
Those close to Cindy noted that her mental state seemed to be deteriorating under the pressure. Worrying that Cindy might be suicidal, her Doctor committed her to a psychiatric hospital.
After ten weeks of care, Cindy was able to go home. She confessed to her family and friends that she had been holding information back. She claimed that her attacker had threatened to kill her family if she outed them.
Then Cindy said that she planned to go after them herself.
Yes, Cindy was in a state of mental decline and was suicidal, but anyone who had been through the years of ordeals that she had would surely be suffering from stress-related issues.
She Broke Her Silence
Finally, Cindy went back to the police and told them who she believed was behind the attacks. She named her ex-husband, Dr. Roy Makepeace, who was a psychiatrist.
Police spoke with him, and he denied all the allegations and then turned over evidence he had on his answering machine. Someone (supposedly who was harassing his ex-wife) had called and left a death threat for him.
*Here is a link to the recording, the caller says ?Cindy, dead meat soon.?
Her ex-husband said he believed that Cindy was suffering from a split personality. This has never co-operated, and the medical staff and Doctors who treated her while she was in the psychiatric ward never diagnosed her with this disorder.
Cindy James crime scene photo | via The Trouble with Justice
The Final Attack
Cindy had gone to the mall to do some grocery shopping and deposit her paycheck from the hospital. She never made it home.
Her car would be found in the shopping mall where she was last seen on May 25, 1989. When investigators went over the vehicle, they found blood on the driver?s side door, and items from her wallet were thrown about outside the car.
In the trunk, they found the groceries that Cindy had bought, along with a wrapped gift she had gotten for someone.
For two weeks, her family and friends were left to wonder where Cindy was, what was happening to her. Then the gruesome discovery of her body shocked everyone.
She was found in the front yard of an abandoned house in a rather high traffic area with lots of pedestrian foot travelers. So it initially seemed that she couldn?t have been killed when she first was reported missing. But after the autopsy, it showed that she had died most likely the day she disappeared.
Her body showed numerous wounds. Including an injection mark on her arm, it would later be determined to be a high dose of morphine.
She was found with both her hands and feet tied behind her body. Around her neck was the signature black nylon, which had been used to strangle her.
What was missing from the scene was the needle used to administer the morphine.
The police concocted the notion that Cindy had injected herself elsewhere and discarded the needle, then walked the mile and a half to the scene where she then tied her feet and hands behind her back after strangling herself. So even if you believe all of that, it still seems odd that her body wasn?t discovered sooner.
The official cause of death was morphine and other drugs overdose. Even though the Royal Canadian Mounted Police claim it was suicide or possibly an accident, the corner ruled both of those results out.
Ozzie believes that she had been taken and killed elsewhere, then her body was dumped shortly before it was discovered.
Her private investigator also believes along with her parents that the police weren?t interested in finding who was attacking Cindy but trying to blame the victim.
Both of Cindy?s parents have since passed away, never knowing what really happened to their daughter. Her sister Melanie Hack has written a book and runs a website dedicated to trying to find her sister?s killer.
What do you think happened?
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