Unexplained Mysteries: Unsolved Death of Cindy James


The life Cindy James led was one that was completely ordinary by all accounts. A divorced nurse turned pre-school administrator, James called the suburbs of Vancouver British Columbia home. In 1982, her seemingly ordinary was shattered when a mysterious stranger began an increasing campaign of harassment which culminated in her tragic and controversial death.

In Cindy James reached out to the Vancouver Police Department because for the past several months she had been receiving hundreds of harassing phone calls. Initially there were only a few of these calls and she wrote them off as some punk making prank calls. But over time they became more frequent and the unknown man making these calls was becoming louder and more threatening. Not knowing what else to do, James finally reached out to law enforcement for help. Investigators naturally decided to look into if she had any enemies who could be the culprit only to find nobody in her life who would wish harm on the terrified woman.

If nothing else getting the police involved only emboldened this phantom stalker as he escalated his attacks on Cindy. There were nights she would hear someone rummaging around in her backyard but by the time she got out to confront whoever it was they were gone, however on one of these nights they did shatter her porch lights. Vile notes were left on her doorstep on a regular basis for her to find, and occasionally, there were photographs of dead bodies in the morgue left on her windshield. On one particularly horrific occasion, she found the bodies of three dead cats hanging in her garden. It became more difficult to keep the Vancouver PD in the loop because her phone line was constantly cut.

The only constant Cindy James could turn to was her was her best friend Agnes who she turned to many times during these events. James definitely needed her, as the constant harassment from this mysterious stalker was taking a toll on her mentally and emotionally. Agnes could even take credit for saving Cindy’s life when the attacks became physical. On a visit to her friend’s house, she found Cindy on the garage floor with a nylon rope around her neck. According to her statement, she was in the garage grabbing something when her stalker tried to strangle her from behind. If Agnes had not shown up when she did and scared him off, Cindy could have died that day. At one point Agnes and her husband moved in at James’ behest and were present when the stranger started a fire in the basement.

The problem was as the attacks on Cindy James mounted, the police claimed they never found any physical evidence. Sure they saw the effects each time this mysterious stranger attacked, but there was never any footprints or fingerprints or any other physical evidence at the scene. It got to the point that many in the police department believed that Cindy James had been spending the past few years falsifying all of this. They finally reached their breaking point when Cindy was found unconscious in a ditch 6 miles outside of town covered in bruises and scratches, wearing only men’s work boots and gloves with a stocking tied around her neck. Vancouver authorities were thoroughly convinced she had staged this attack and refused to investigate. Their beliefs were given validity by her ex-husband, a prominent psychiatrist named Dr. Roy Makepeace. He suggested that his former wife was suffering from delusions and split personality stemming from the end of their marriage which occurred shortly before the harassment began. During this time, the authorities went so far as to have Cindy involuntarily committed for 10 weeks.

On May 25, 1989, after six months of torment with no help, the campaign of torment against Cindy James finally reached a tragic conclusion which only left more questions than answers. On this day, Cindy went to the local mall to purchase some groceries and gifts for someone and never returned. Her car was left abandoned in the parking lot, and when police searched it they found blood on the driver side door and the scattered contents of her purse suggesting a struggle took place. It was not for another two weeks that they learned of Cindy’s ultimate fate when she was found dead in the front yard of an abandoned house. Covered in needle marks and bruises, Cindy’s arms were tied firmly behind her back with strangulation wounds around her neck. According to the coroner report, she was tied up and injected with a near lethal level of morphine before her killer finished the job by choking her to death. In a move that shocked everyone, the Vancouver police ruled her death a suicide. Never mind the fact that her hands were tied behind her back, but her body was found in an area heavily trafficked by pedestrians. There is no way she could have been there for two weeks without anyone noticing. There were too many factors against this being a suicide but authorities have held firm to this position even to this day.

After enduring years of torment at the hands of a mysterious stalker Cindy James was killed and the people who were supposed to see that she got justice were simply tired of dealing with her. Even if she had created the entire scenario, as authorities believe, how did she strangle and drug herself with her arms tied up? Veteran Canadian crime journalist, Neal Hall covered this case and later wrote a book called The Deaths of Cindy James. In this book, he does not shy away from his own belief that she was struggling with mental illness, but he also theorizes her ex-husband was exacerbating her condition. Things witnesses claim he said to her as well as the police would definitely point to someone who was trying to make a bad situation even worse for her mental state. The death of Cindy James was even highlighted on an episode of Unsolved Mysteries which pushed the case to greater notoriety. At the end of the day we are left with so many questions about the tragic life and death of Cindy James.