Richmond, British Columbia — In June 1989, the body of Cindy James, a 44-year-old nurse, was found in the yard of an abandoned house in Richmond. She had been drugged and strangled while her hands and feet had been tied behind her back. The autopsy report indicated she'd died of an overdose of morphine and other drugs, and despite being hogtied, her death was ruled a suicide by the RCMP.
But her family never believed this was a suicide. For more than six years leading up to her murder, James had reported hundreds of harassment incidents to the police and to her family. The specifics of the case are too lengthy to go into detail here, but it's worth reading in full.
The short of it is, soon after leaving her husband in 1981, James started receiving threatening phone calls. The police started to investigate but over the next several months, the harassment increased. She reported prowlers outside her house at night. Windows were smashed and phone cords cut. According to a friend, Agnes Woodcock, Cindy claimed bizarre notes were being left on her doorstep, and that she had been attacked several times.
Tillie Hack, Cindy's mother, said Cindy told her she didn't recognize the voice:
She said it was just a voice. Sometimes it would change, the sound, and sometimes it was just whispering. Sometimes it was just nothing, just silence.
Tillie Hack, Cindy's mother, said Cindy told her she didn't recognize the voice.
Of course, I think that we should add a qualifier there that she was very, very reluctant to talk about this right to the end, and our feeling was that she was withholding something extremely vital.
Otto Hack, Cindy's father, felt her daughter wasn't telling everything she knew.
Months before her death, James was found hypothermic in a ditch six miles from her home. She was wearing a man's work boot and glove and had a nylon stocking tied around her neck. She was cut and bruised, yet could not recall how she'd gotten to the ditch. Again, police were suspicious about her story.
Shortly after, a fire was started in her basement; an arson, according to police, that only could only have been started by someone in the house, since there was no evidence of a break-in, James was suspected and she was checked into a psychiatric facility. She checked out 10 weeks later.
On May 25, 1989, she disappeared. Her car was discovered not far from her house, with groceries and a wrapped gift in the backseat. There was blood in the car. Her body was discovered two weeks later in an abandoned house.
James' ex-husband, a psychiatrist, was considered a suspect. So was her boyfriend at the time, who worked as a policeman. Neither were charged. Even after a public inquest where 84 people testified, no arrests were made.
This case remains unsolved.