Unsolved: Cindy James

There are different categories that deaths can be classified as:  

  • Natural Causes
  • Suspicious
  • Homicide
  • Suicide
  • Accidental

What happens when a death can not be categorized?  What can the grieving loved ones do to get closure?

This is one of those cases where the death was undetermined.  Information will be presented and it will be left for the followers to draw their own conclusions.

This is a unique case.  Family, friends and even a private investigator strongly believe she was murdered.  The Canadian Mounted Police and some investigative reporters believe she committed suicide.

Cindy James, a 44-year-old Canadian nurse, was found dead in the yard of an abandoned house.  Her hands and feet were bound behind her back with a black nylon stocking tied tightly around her neck. 

What events led up to her death? Why are there two very strong arguments on both sides of this case?  Was she murdered or did she commit suicide?  

Cindy was the eldest of six children of Otto and Tillie Hack.  She was nineteen when she married Dr. Ray Makepeace, a psychiatrist, and eighteen years her senior.  Cindy worked as a nurse and loved to counsel children with emotional issues. 

They divorced in 1981.  In 1982, four months after their divorce was final, the threats and the attacks began.  In the almost seven years prior to her death, nearly one hundred reports of harassment were made to the police and out of those reports five were violent.  The harassment and attacks got worse once the police became involved.

Three cats were found dead hanging in her garden, porch lights smashed, bizarre notes on her doorsteps and phone lines were also being cut.

Some of the attacks left not only friends and family baffled but the law enforcement as well.

1)  Her friend, Agnes Woodcock, found Cindy crouched down outside with a nylon stocking tied around her neck.  Cindy stated that she had gone to the garage to get a box and someone grabbed her.  All she saw was a pair of white sneakers.

Cindy had moved, repainted her car and changed her last name, but the harassment followed her.

2)  Ozzie Kaban, a private investigator who Cindy had hired to protect her, heard strange noises coming over a two-way radio that he had given Cindy since her phone lines were always being tampered with.  He went to her home and found all the doors were locked.  He kicked in the door and found Cindy in the Kitchen with a pairing knife through her hand and a note stating "You are dead bitch."  He checked her pulse to see if she was dead.  All she could remember was a needle going into her arm.

Cindy's home was under surveillance with up to fourteen police officers being involved.   No activity happened while under surveillance.  Cindy was always told when the police were watching her home and when they were leaving.  Once the police left the activities would resume.  Calls that were made to the home were too short to be traced.

3)  Cindy had been found six miles from her home, dazed, semiconscious, suffering from hypothermia with cuts and bruises on her body, a black nylon stocking tied around her neck, wearing a man's work boot and a glove.  She remembers nothing that happened prior to being found.  

4) Agnes and her husband Tom were asked by Cindy to stay with her when Cindy reported hearing noises from downstairs.  Tom went into the basement and found that it was on fire, he attempted to use the phone but the line was dead.  He left to get help, saw a man on the curb asked him to call the fire department, but the man ran away.  

Investigators determined that the fire had been set within the home.  The only window that someone could access the basement from had not been disturbed.  No fingerprints, nothing.  This wasn't the only case of arson that surrounded Cindy's torment.

Police were starting to believe that Cindy was responsible for what was happening to her.  Cindy believed it was her ex-husband Roy.  Police convinced Cindy to contact her ex-husband and see if she could get him to confess.  Roy adamantly denied he was behind it.  During a coroner's inquest, He produced his answering machine tapes, showing that he also had received strange calls for Cindy.  One of the recordings, in eerie drawn out words, said, "Cindy dead meat soon."

Cindy's behavior was also confusing to the police.  She would walk her dog at night and would leave her curtains open.  They believed this was strange behavior from someone who was terrified and believed to be in danger.

Cindy's physician committed her to a local psychiatric ward, shortly after the fire incident, believing she was suicidal.  While under psychiatric care Cindy wrote this note.

              "I still feel suicide in my best option in an unbearable situation and as soon as I get out of here I will carry out my plan."

Two and a half months later she was released.  Her father, Otto stated that Cindy told friends and family that she knew more than she was saying and would go after the perpetrator herself.

Cindy went through a series of hypnosis sessions and polygraph tests.  She was labeled as "too traumatized" to be a reliable candidate.

5)  Cindy had been found unconscious in her car, naked from the waist down, with a black nylon stocking around her neck and her feet and hands were bound behind her back.

On May 25, 1989, six and a half years after her first report, Cindy disappeared.  Her car was found in a parking lot with groceries and a wrapped present inside.  There was blood on the driver's door and the contents of her wallet were under the car.

On June 8, 1989, her body was found in the yard of an abandoned house, one and a half miles from where her car was found.  The autopsy revealed that Cindy died of an overdose of morphine and other drugs.

The Vancouver Corner's inquest, which lasted over three months and had 80 witnesses testify, ruled that "her death wasn't suicide, an accident or a murder."  She died of an "Unknown Event."  Police simulated how her body looked when found.  It was determined that it could have been self-inflicted.  A knot expert testified that it was possible for her to have taken the drugs and tied herself up. This inquest is known as the most expensive death inquiry in British Columbia's history.

Several books have been written:
The Deaths of Cindy James by Neal Hall
Who Killed Cindy James by Ian Mulgrew
Who Killed My Sister, My Friend by Melanie Hack

One writer believed that Cindy suffered from Dissociative Identity Disorder aka Multiple Personality Disorder.  This is where the original self is unaware of what the alter egos are doing to the original self.  The alter egos have been known to try and kill the other egos, not realizing that they are all in one body and that by killing one the whole is killed.  If one of the alter egos is a prosecutor, it makes itself known to the main person through threats or insults.  It can also take over the body and command the main person to harm themselves.

Was this the case for Cindy James? Did she suffer some type of mental break?  Was it Cindy causing self-harm and unaware that she was doing it or was she really murdered?  Unfortunately, we may never know.

Listen to Cindy's three part Podcast here: 

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