Transcript: 83. The Bizarre Death of Cindy James | Canada

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Vancouver, British Columbia 1984 – an icy cold January night. Private Investigator Ozzie Kaban heard a strange crackling noise over a two way radio that he had given one of his clients. Cindy James had been harassed by a stalker for years and Ozzie had instructed her to call him if she ever needed any help. 

Ozzie called out on the two-way radio, asking if Cindy was OK, but there was no response. He went straight to her home and when he knocked on the front door there was no answer. The investigator walked around the house and looked through the kitchen window – he saw Cindy lying on the ground, unconscious. 

Ozzie realised he had to act quick. He notified emergency services and while he waited, kicked the front door down. Cindy was unresponsive, in fact, Ozzie could not find any vital signs and thought that she was dead. A note written using cut-out letters from magazine was stuck to her hand, impaled with a paring knife. The note read:  

You’re dead bitch”

First responders arrived and fortunately they were able to revive the 40-year-old nurse. 

Police had been to Cindy’s house often, as she had reported harassing behaviour over the preceding  two years. They could never find any evidence of forced entry and had become sceptical about Cindy’s claims. That cold January night, was no different. There were no fingerprints or any other clues at the scene. There were no signs of forced entry. Ozzie Kaban also did not see anyone leave the property when he arrived – and remember: the front door was locked. 

Once Cindy had regained consciousness, Ozzie visited her in hospital. She told him what had taken place inside her home. She said that she had seen a man entering through the front gate to her house, and the next moment she felt a blow to her head, followed by the sting of a needle in her arm. She did not see her assailant. 

Cindy had multiple superficial stab wounds all over her body. She could not remember being stabbed and believed she was already drugged by then. However, despite needle marks on her arm, no traces of drugs could be found in her blood.  

Who was behind Cindy’s vicious attack? And would Ozzie Kaban be able to stop the person before it was too late?

>>Intro Music

Cynthia Elizabeth Hack was born on the 12th of June 1944 in Oliver, British Columbia. Her parents Otto and Tillie called her Cindy. She was the eldest of six children and the family was close.

Otto Hack was a Colonel in the military and he was a strict father. Cindy’s relationship with her father was strained as she felt he was too controlling. By the time she was ready to leave school, the bright, beautiful young Cindy had wanted to go to university, but her father was against it. He felt that women should stick to ‘traditional’ roles and encouraged her to attend nursing school instead. 

She was still studying to be a nurse when, at the age of 19 she married South African-born psychiatrist, Dr Roy Makepeace. He was 18-years older than Cindy and by all accounts they had a good marriage. Of course, there were ups and downs… Roy loved sailing, a hobby Cindy struggled to embrace as she had a fear of drowning and preferred to avoid water. However, to appease Roy, she went sailing with him,

In 1966, Cindy graduated from nursing school where she concentrated on paediatric nursing and found a job as an administrator at a centre for kids with behavioural or emotional issues. Although Cindy never had any children of her own, her sweet and caring nature made her well-liked by all the students in her care. Her co-workers enjoyed her company and knew that they could count on Cindy, as she would always walk the extra mile.

In 1982, Cindy and Roy separated after being married for 16 years. Cindy’s family and friends were rather surprised when Cindy told them she was leaving Roy, because the couple seemed to be happy enough. The split appeared to be amicable and they remained in close contact after she moved out.

For the first time in her adult life, Cindy was by herself. She settled into her new routine of work, settling into her new home and socialising with friends. Cindy enjoyed gardening and loved spending time with her dog, Heidi. 

The future looked bright for a brief moment, but that was not to last. Four months after her separation from Roy, Cindy’s life began to change forever. It started with a couple of threatening phone calls by an anonymous person. For the most part, the caller simply breathed down the line, other times the person whispered unsettling threats. 

October 12th 1982, Cindy reported the threatening calls to police. She also stated that there was a prowler outside her home who tried to enter the house through the back door. This would be the first of many. In fact, over the course of seven years that followed, she reported close to 100 incidents of harassment. The shear amount of incidents shows a degree of determination on the part of the person who was dead-set on making Cindy’s life a living hell.

Three days later Cindy reported another incident. She called police to inform them that someone had thrown a brick through her kitchen window. Police sent a patrol car around, but they could not find any clues as to who the person was who threw the brick. 

In the same week, Cindy was about to go to bed. When she pulled back the covers, she discovered that her pillow had been slashed. That meant someone had broken into her home and went into her bedroom. As the pillow was fine in the morning when she made the bed in the morning, the intruder must have broken in on that day. 

Officer Pat McBride from the Royal Mounted Canadian Police (or RCMP) arrived at Cindy’s home to inspect the scene. He had visited Cindy’s home before and took a personal interest in the case. McBride suspected that Cindy’s ex-husband was behind the harassment, but she refused to believe it. She had told Roy about the pillow and HE was the one who encouraged her to report it to police. Cindy did not believe Roy would want to scare her like that.

Two days later, McBride showed up at Cindy’s house and installed deadbolts on all her doors. He also assured her that he would keep an eye on her and promised to drop in daily to check on her. 

The day before Halloween, Cindy found a note on her porch. Letters cut out of a magazine or newspaper spelled out two ominous words: ‘Soon Cindy’. By this time Cindy and officer McBride had become romantically involved and he was so concerned about Cindy that he offered to move into her home for a while. 

More and more notes appeared, all of it strange and threatening with disturbing images of women being strangled or a hand holding a knife.

In November of 1982, Pat McBride reported that he came across Dr Roy Makepeace in the alley behind Cindy’s house. He had two firearms in his possession: a handgun as well as a rifle. He told the officer that he was patrolling the block, as he was concerned about Cindy’s safety.

Later that same month, Cindy found a picture of a corpse (torn from the book, Malpractice) placed under the windshield of her car. The phone calls also continued, sometimes silent, sometimes threatening. Then one day, Cindy discovered her phone line had been cut. Police investigated, but could not find any clues as to who had done it. 

After staying at her home for a month, Cindy asked Pat McBride to move out. They continued dating and he kept his key to her house. 

In January 1983 Cindy’s phone was tapped by the phone company without her knowledge.  This was part of the investigation and investigators were able to trace some calls to exchanges on the outskirts of Vancouver. But all of the calls were too brief to trace to an exact location.

Also in January, McBride visited Cindy one day and found another note on her lawn. It had photos of women’s faces, all scratched out and contained the words ‘mangled pulp’ and ‘dead’. Up to this point, unsettling as the situation was, Cindy had not been harmed physically. But her tormentor was about to step up the game.

Three weeks after the note, Cindy fell victim to a vicious attack. Her good friend, Agnes Woodcock arrived at her house to hang out for a bit. She knocked on the front door, but there was no answer. Agnes thought Cindy was in the bath, so she called out and walked around the house. That is when she found her friend in the garage, crouched down with a nylon stocking tied tightly around her neck. Agnes untied her and helped her inside.

A traumatised Cindy told Agnes that she heard a knock at the back door. When she answered a man overpowered her and forced her into the garage where a second man was waiting. She had vague memories of a being raped with a knife. The only concrete thing she could recall was that her assailant was wearing white sneakers.

After this incident, Cindy realised she had to make some changes. She moved back into the home she shared with Roy and he moved out. They were still on good terms and Roy knew about everything that was happening to Cindy. 

In the early 1980s there was no law against stalking in Canada. It would be another 10 years before ‘criminal harassment’ would be considered an offence. Before then, there was not much police could do, especially if they did not know who the stalker was. In an effort to document the harassment, Cindy was persistent in reporting incidents to police, she also kept a journal and made notes on the calendar in her kitchen. 

By February 1983, police believed that Roy Makepeace was in fact the person behind all the incidents. They also felt that Cindy was not telling them the entire story – could it be that she wanted to protect her ex-husband? To gain some clarity, investigators requested Cindy took a polygraph test. The test was inconclusive, but did reveal that Cindy was withholding information. Confronted with this, Cindy broke down and admitted that she had recognized one of her attackers, but refused to name him as he had threatened to harm her family if she did. 

By the end of April, Cindy had moved out of Roy’s house and when the harassment continued she moved yet again, for the fourth time in less than a year. Around this time, it was mostly phone calls that occurred, still a wordless breather who occasionally made spine chilling threats. The scary part was that the person must have been someone with intimate knowledge about Cindy’s movements, as she only gave her new phone number to her closest family and friends.

In the summer, Cindy decided to go away for a while. She visited her brother who lived in Jakarta – a trip that her ex-husband Roy paid for. But as soon as she returned, the strange incidents continued. It also seemed to escalate… Threatening letters were sent to her work at Blenheim House and Cindy tried her best to assure her colleagues that they were not at risk.

One fall afternoon, Cindy arrived home to find a dead cat in her garden with a note attached to its lifeless body, saying: ‘You’re next.

Two weeks after the dead cat incident, Cindy’s much-loved garden was trashed. Although Cindy told police that Roy would never have done something like that, she wrote in her journal that she suspected him, as he had trashed the garden once while they were still married.

In November 1983, Pat McBride called in at Cindy’s and discovered another threatening note on her porch. In the same week another strangled cat and then a third cat who was run over by a car were found in Cindy’s garden. Later that month her phone lines were cut once again.

Cindy was terrified, but she did not think her stalker wanted her dead. Instead she believed that whomever it was, wanted her to live in a state of fear – she even said to her friend Agnes that the person wanted to ‘scare her to death.’

She told her family and close friends about most of the incidents and it clearly upset her. Cindy was understandably rattled. The fact that no one seemed to believe her frustrated her, but she never stopped logging everything that happened to her, because that was all she could do. 

Over time, she became reluctant to give all the details. Because of this, police began to doubt her reports. It seemed excessive that one person could be constantly harassed and yet be pedantic enough to report each and every incident. Investigators kept Cindy’s case open, always hoping for new clues and responding when she called, but it felt like there was a pattern that kept repeating itself: threatening phone calls, cut phone lines, damage to property, suggestive notes… Police could not help but wonder if she was staging all of these malicious incidents herself.

On the recommendation of Pat McBride, Cindy hired private investigator, Ozzie Kaban. She wanted the protection, but also hoped that he would be able to bring a fresh perspective to the case.

Kaban looked at all the evidence in the case and he had to agree with the RCMP, it seemed like Cindy was not telling them the whole story. Why would a victim withhold information if it could help investigators to solve the case? Why was she so evasive? Her mother, Tillie Hack, was of the belief that Cindy was too scared to talk. Tillie said that Cindy told her that the stalker threatened to harm her family if she talked. During the attack in the garage he had a knife to her throat and said that if she said anything her sister would be next, then her mother. 

But if that was the case, why did Cindy bother reporting the incidents to the police at all?

Not long after Kaban was employed by Cindy, she was attacked inside her home. Kaban was concerned when he heard something on the two-way radio he had given her, so he went over to her house to check on her. That is when he found her unconscious with the knife through her hand. 

The fact that Cindy was so confused and incoherent after the attack made it difficult for Kaban and investigating officers to investigate the assault. There were no signs of forced entry and although she was nearly dead, blood tests revealed no traces of sedatives. Police were so convinced that Cindy had staged the attack herself, they did not even take fingerprints.

Cindy returned home and had an alarm system installed. She also sought out psychological counselling to help her cope with the stress of her situation. She finally admitted to police that during her marriage, Roy Makepeace threatened her and resorted to physical violence on more than one occasion. She told them that she intended to break off all further contact with him.

Cindy said that she sometimes saw a suspicious person, who she thought could be her tormentor. But he wasn’t always alone, sometimes there were two or even three people with him.

On Valentine’s Day 1984, police took Roy Makepeace in for questioning yet again. He insisted that he had nothing to do with Cindy’s attacks. He had his own theory… He believed that it had to do with Cindy’s work with emotionally troubled children. According to Roy, Cindy had upset one of the children’s family – a dangerous family with connections in organized crime.

At the end of March, Cindy is asked to take another polygraph test, this time she passes and the conclusion is that all the information supplied by Cindy was truthful.

In the months that followed, the phone calls continued, but they were always too short to be traced. Police set up surveillance of her house on various occasions. They were usually stationed in a neighbour’s yard and Cindy knew she was being watched. As many as 14 officers were involved in the surveillance operations, but during those times nothing happened. As soon as they had gone - almost immediately – Cindy would receive another phone call or a written threat.. 

Cindy’s family and friends believed that the attacker did this on purpose, to make police doubt Cindy. If that was the case, it worked. Police were getting fed-up with Cindy and were more convinced than ever that she was somehow orchestrating all the incidents.

The whole situation took its toll on Cindy and she became increasingly withdrawn and lost a significant amount of weight. She did not socialize with colleagues any longer, not even  breaks s. Because it felt like no one believed her, she stopped confiding in people, carrying the burden of fear all on her own. 

In June 1984, when Cindy arrived home after work one day, she found her beloved dog Heidi, tied to the kitchen table with a cord around her neck, clearly distraught and injured, sitting in her own faeces. Around Heidi’s neck was the same cord used to strangle the dead cats found in her garden.

On the 3rd of July, it was a beautiful summer’s evening and Cindy notified Ozzie Kaban that she was heading out to take her dog for a walk. Three and a half hours later, she knocked on a stranger’s door. She was badly injured with black nylon stockings knotted around her neck and collapsed as soon as they opened the door. 

According to Cindy, while she was walking Heidi, a green van pulled up next to her. Inside was a bearded man and a blonde woman. The man asked for directions – after that she could not remember anything. 

She had two needle marks on her arm, but again, no drugs – other than the prescription anti-depression medication she was taking – could be detected. She was confused during questioning, saying things like “I don’t think I remember…” This harmed her credibility and police officers were reluctant to follow up, as they honestly thought Cindy was putting on an act.

Ozzie Kaban suggested Cindy tried hypnosis treatment to try an establish if she had perhaps seen something that could identify her attackers. After a few attempts she gave up, as therapists felt she was too traumatized to undergo hypnosis. During one of her more successful sessions – under hypnosis – she admitted that had witnessed a double murder, but did not reveal anything about the circumstances or people involved.

Cindy and her private investigator Ozzie Kaban paid police a visit towards the end of 1984 to discuss the progress in the case. Lead detective Kris Bjornerud regretted to inform them that there weren’t any new leads. They had conducted background checks on all of Cindy’s friends, colleagues and acquaintances, and nobody had any reason to torment Cindy. An Interpol search on Roy came up clean and no physical evidence linked him to the incidents at Cindy’s home. 

Despite police being sceptical about Cindy’s reports, Ozzie Kaban believed her. He saw her with the knife stuck in her hand and felt that there was no way she would have done that to herself. He encouraged Cindy and supported her to keep up the fight. So in the new year she decided to give hypnotherapy another go.

This time, she made a shocking revelation. Under hypnosis, she said that she had witnessed her ex-husband Roy killing and dismembering a young couple while they were on a yacht trip near Thormanby Island in 1981. 

Police looked into the alleged crime, and established that Roy and Cindy had been sailing near Thormanby Island in the year before their separation. But they could not find any evidence of a missing couple or body parts washing up… Nothing. Cindy’s sister was also on this trip and she told police that she did not notice anything unusual.

The calls continued and Cindy was never at peace. On one occasion the lights on her porch were smashed. She received a note containing a photo of a covered corpse being wheeled into a morgue. Another note had more disturbing photos with the phrase: ‘I see you…’ written with a stencil. 

June 1985, Cindy overdosed on prescription medication and her family believed that she attempted to take her own life. She recovered and before long, was home again, back to the nightmare that had become her life. 

A month later, Cindy reported a silent call to police. The phone company revealed that she had dialled her own number from inside her home. The question is, would she not have had an engaged signal if that was the case? Either way, police shrugged it off as ‘just another one of Cindy’s reports’.

At the end of July, on a warm summer’s day, raw meat was delivered to her house. Cindy found the rotten, reeking parcel in her post box. No one saw anyone deliver the package and the general feeling was that Cindy had placed it there herself. 

In the month that followed, three separate fires were started inside Cindy’s home. On the night of August 21st, Cindy’s friend Agnes and her husband Tom were staying with Cindy. The house alarm woke them up in the middle of the night. Cindy rushed into their room and said that there was a fire in the basement. 

When they tried to call the fire department, the phone lines had been cut. Tom ran outside and saw a man standing on the corner of the street and asked him to call emergency services. The man didn’t respond and ran away without looking back.

Police could not find any signs of forced entry into the basement from outside the house. The basement window was closed and the dust on the windowsill was undisturbed. Whoever started the fire, must have been inside the house. There was only one window in the entire house where an intruder could have entered, but police did not thing anyone actually entered, suspecting yet again that Cindy had staged the scene herself. However, after investigating, the insurance company was satisfied that Cindy had not started it herself and paid out an amount close to $10,000. 

On the night of the fire, Cindy took her dog for a walk at 3am. The fact that did not seem to take extra precautions regarding her personal safety, especially on the same night as an incident, convinced police of the fact that there was no stalker and that Cindy was the cause of it all.

At the beginning of December 1985, Cindy decided to move once more, this time to Richmond. She had only just moved in when, one cold night, she was found lying in a ditch six miles from her house. She was out of sorts and seemed to have been drugged. Again, a nylon stocking was wrapped tightly around her neck. She was only wearing a man’s work boot on one foot and a single glove and hypothermia had set in. Her whole body was covered with bruises and cuts. When officers asked Cindy what had happened, she could not remember how she ended up there. 

If Cindy was behind all the incidents, would she have willingly gone out in the cold, half naked? And where did the man’s boot come from? If she had purchased it, where was the other boot? The scene baffled investigators and no one knew what to think anymore.

Four months later, in the spring of 1986, Cindy woke up to another fire inside her home. She told police that she thought Roy had something to do with it. What she didn’t know was that Roy was halfway around the world in South Africa at the time.

Cindy was spiralling downward at a rapid pace. She was depressed and had suicidal thoughts. Her landlord was fed-up with all the harassment and ask her to move out. To make matters worse, a report from the RCMP stated that she…

“…should be considered as a dangerous person around children.”

The report said that Blenheim House should be notified. Which they were and Cindy was promptly given a six month absence from work.

Concerned about her mental well-being, her therapist suggested her family committed her to St Paul’s Hospital. She case was considered and she was examined by two different psychiatrists as well as a psychologist and all of them concluded that the incidents occurred due to psychotic breaks experienced by Cindy. One of them, Dr Frieson, was concerned that Cindy’s uncertified therapist encouraged her behaviour, as he believed the harassment was real.

During her time in the psychiatric ward, Cindy wrote this in her journal:

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

However, she showed significant improvement and was released after 10 weeks. On her release she admitted to her family that she knew more than she was saying and that she had had enough – she was going to take matters into her own hands.

Throughout the summer she continued therapy with Dr Frieson. Cindy was finally starting to look and feel like her own self again. Also, there were no more incidents of harassment which made some people believe that perhaps Cindy was the one who had done it all to herself.

Cindy was rebuilding her life and decided to change her last name from Makepeace to James. By September of that year, she bought her own home in Richmond. She was determined to get on with her life and returned to work in October. However, a month after her return, she lost her job for good. This was a huge blow to Cindy, seeing as she had worked at Blenheim House for more than 10 years – and she loved her job. 

Despite all of this, Cindy decided to upskill and took a couple of refresher courses in nursing. During this time, she did not report any incidents to police. She started her new job at Richmond General Hospital in August 1987. In that very same month, the harassment started up again. Cindy reported a broken window at her house and said that it looked like someone tried to force another window open.

More reports flowed in throughout 1988: a broken basement door, a hole cut in a glass window… Cindy believed her stalker had returned. 

After each incident, Cindy became increasingly traumatized. She reported each incident, but knew nobody believed her. The more they questioned her credibility, the more stressed she became. The more stressed she became, the more police believed that she was somewhat unhinged and was doing all of this for attention. 

Cindy confided in her sister and said that she was concerned that all of the attacks she had suffered and all the drugs that had been given to her during the assaults had caused a degree of brain damage. She doubted herself, wondering if she was imagining things. But then, she was not always alone when she discovered the notes or when the phone rang, other people around her witnessed the harassment too…

Cindy told police that she believed her ex-husband, Roy Makepeace was behind it all. He knew how to get to her, how to unsettle her and as a psychiatrist he would have known how to systematically drive her insane. Police convinced her to call him on the phone and confront him – they recorded the conversation. In the conversation he vehemently denied it. He can be heard sighing before he said:

“My God! I am certainly denying it. I always have denied it. I have absolutely nothing whatever to do with it.”

After this phone call, Roy contacted police and provided them with a disturbing message left on the answering machine at his home. 


The caller said: “Cindy… Dead Meat Soon”. Most people felt it sounded like a woman disguising her own voice, or perhaps a teenager. Police felt it was Cindy herself who had made the call and left the message on her ex-husband’s answering machine. 

On October 26, 1988, two weeks after Roy received this message, Cindy was found unconscious in her car, naked from the waist down, hogtied, with a black nylon stocking tied tightly around her neck. She said that she was attacked as she was getting out of her car. 

After this, more incidents occurred, like attempted break-ins and threatening notes. By May 1989, Cindy told her private investigator that she was ready to talk. This statement strongly implied that she knew more than she had revealed in the past. This conversation would never happen…

On the 25th of May 1989, six years and seven months after her first harassing phone call, Cindy had a good day. She was looking forward to five days of leave and had collected her paycheck from Richmond General Hospital in the early afternoon. She told everyone that she’d see them after her leave.  

At 4pm a neighbour saw her leaving home for the last time. Cindy went shopping and picked up a gift for a friend’s son. Then she had a make-over at a beauty salon, bought some groceries and deposited her paycheck just before 8pm. This would be Cindy’s last known movements. 

When she did not show up for a planned bridge game at her home with Agnes and Tom Woodcock by 10pm, they were immediately concerned. They drove around and found her car in the parking lot of a local Safeway. The driver’s door had blood on and there was no sign of Cindy anywhere, so the Woodcocks informed police. 

At the scene they found Cindy’s car with the groceries and the wrapped gift. The contents of her wallet were found under the car. The blood on the door was later confirmed to be Cindy’s. Cindy was officially a missing person and her photo was widely published: in newspapers, on lamp posts, outside shops, but no one came forward with any information.

Then the worst was confirmed, when two weeks later, her body was found in the yard of an abandoned house – just over a mile from where her car was found. A construction worker had come across her body and recalled injuries to her face. He said:

“Her face was completely black – I think it had been punched in.”

She had suffered a brutal beating and her hands and legs were tied behind her back. She was fully dressed, but had no shoes on. Her feet were clean, which meant she could not have walked there. Once again, a black nylon stocking was tied around her neck. 

The post mortem examination concluded that Cindy had died due to an overdose of morphine and other drugs. In fact, she had 10 times the lethal dose of morphine as well as  10 times the lethal dose of Flurazepam in her system. There were needle marks on her right arm and the assumption was that the morphine entered her system intravenously, while the Flurazepam was taken in pill form.

The first conclusion was that she had ended her own life in the most tragic of ways. Private investigator Ozzie Kaban emphatically stated that it would not have been possible for Cindy to stage the scene the way she was found. Ozzie believed that she was kidnapped and tortured before her body was dumped there.

Police investigated the matter and looked at Cindy’s file and all her reports of harassment over the years. There were four probable suspects: Dr Roy Makepeace, Pat McBride, the man Tom Woodcock saw running away on the night of the fire in Cindy’s basement and then, of course, the final suspect was Cindy herself.

Because Roy was overseas at the time of one of the incidents, police did not feel he could have been behind the other incidents either. One psychiatrist thought that Cindy was responsible for everything and set things up so it would look like Roy had done it. She wanted to frame him. This didn’t really make sense, as Cindy was the one who had left Roy and according to family and friends there was no bad blood between them.

Some people wondered if Roy’s psychiatric knowledge helped him to drive Cindy over the edge. Did he stage everything over the years, bitter that Cindy had left him? Did he purposefully set everything up so Cindy would appear to be mentally ill? He was the only one who believed that she suffered from multiple personality disorder – quite a serious diagnosis, as opposed to borderline personality disorder.

The second suspect was Cindy’s lover, police officer Pat McBride. Although he only met her after the menacing phone calls had started, he was often present when Cindy discovered threatening notes. He also had a key to her home and as a cop, he would have known exactly when her house was under surveillance. 

McBride was a feasible suspect and many people still believe that he was the one who tormented Cindy. A post on reddit implicates him. The writer claimed to be a relative of McBride’s and posted:

“…my uncle was a suspect, and what a lot of the available reading on the case fails to mention is that years after Cindy turned up dead, my Uncle Pat McBride of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, was stripped of his badge for, what I was told, were similar attacks or threats of attacks on other women. He's since passed, so I can't ask him about it. Though I don't think I would, he always scared me a little.”

As it is not possible to verify this claim, one cannot take it as the gospel truth. Another source claimed that McBride was convicted on two counts of sexual assault, years after Cindy’s death. But investigators could not tie him to the death of Cindy James.

The third suspect was the unidentified man who ran away from Tom on the night of the fire. Police were never able to track him down. Was he hired by someone? Perhaps he had absolutely nothing to do with the fire and was spooked by Tom? We’ll never know, unless that person comes forward.

This left investigators with one last suspect: Cindy James herself. For argument’s sake, let’s consider if Cindy could have ended her own life. At the inquest, an expert witness demonstrated that it was possible for a person to tie themselves up in the position that Cindy was found. However he conceded that he had used different knots to the ones in the black nylon stockings that ties Cindy up. There is also the fact that he was not drugged when he did it.

If Cindy had decided to end it all – why not leave a suicide note? And why buy groceries and deposit her paycheck and have a make-over? 

Cindy’s official cause of death was an overdose of Morphine and Flurazepam. Firstly, Cindy was a nurse, so there is a chance that she had access to drugs and took it herself. But knowing that the dosage of morphine found in her body would have killed her, why would she have taken both? Also, no syringes or pill containers were found at her car or near her body. And if she took the drugs at her car, she would not have been able to walk over a mile, cause severe harm to herself and then hogtie herself in her final resting place. 

Her sister discovered a receipt with the groceries and pointed out a fact that police had missed. Cindy did NOT purchase her goods at the Safeway where her car was found, but another shop a couple of blocks away. None of her receipts of that day or anything found at her house indicated that she had ever purchased black nylon stockings.

The location where her body was found was busy and many pedestrians walked by every day. A vagrant lived in a van close-by and cooked his meals in a spot with a clear view of where Cindy was lying, yet he never saw her body in the two weeks leading up to her discovery. A jogger who said he ran past the site twice a day, never saw her.

When the construction worker stumbled upon Cindy’s body, her face was unrecognisable. An entomologist concluded that Cindy’s body had likely been at the scene since the first days of June, which still left seven days when her whereabouts were unaccounted for.

If, for argument’s sake we take her death out of the equation and look at the years of harassment… Was Cindy behind it all? Her closest friends and relatives, as well as her private investigator Ozzie Kaban does not believe she could have.

Kaban admitted that when Cindy employed him, he felt that she was withholding information and he kept a close eye on her. He went through her trash, trying to find remnants of magazine letter clippings, but there was nothing. She was not always alone when she was threatened – friends witnessed her taking phone calls and discovering something like smashed porch lights when she could not possibly have done it in the time they were together. Kaban firmly believed that Cindy had a malicious stalker who killed her and that she would not have been able to end her own life the way she was found.

Anyone who knew Cindy said that she absolutely adored her dog and would never have harmed her, like she was when Cindy found her tied up and bruised in the kitchen on one occasion. The dead cats were another clue that Cindy was innocent, no one believed she had it in her to hurt animals, let alone kill three.

The coroner’s inquest was one of the longest and most expensive inquests in British Columbia’s history. 84 witnesses were called to testify. Despite all the evidence, there was not conclusion. The coroner ruled that her death was not suicide, an accident or murder. The official cause being an ‘unknown event’.

Whatever happened – whether she harmed herself or if she was the victim of a relentless stalker, she suffered tremendously over an extended period of time. She was tormented and always looked over her shoulder. To Cindy it felt like she was trapped inside the script of a horror movie. A movie that had no ending, until one day, it did end...

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