Author Topic: Margaret Sheeler - London, ON - Murdered - 1963  (Read 16802 times)

Angela Ellis

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Margaret Sheeler - London, ON - Murdered - 1963
« on: August 28, 2007, 09:19:29 AM »
* 1963 ? Margaret Sheeler, 20, left her London home in December 1963. Her
partially clothed body was found nearly a month later in a field beside Kipps
Lane. Killed by head injuries, she showed signs of being sexually assaulted.

goNgo

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Re: Margaret Sheeler - London, ON - Murdered - 1963
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2010, 08:38:12 PM »
From LFP article clippings at the London Public Library:

Last seen:  Dec 27/63

Margaret allegedly left her home at 21 Bridle Path, at 8:00 p.m. in a severe snowstorm. She had an argument with her husband and walked out, fully clothed (with coat and boots). Her husband reported her missing the next day.

Background:  Margaret (nee Butterman) was 5 1/2 months pregnant and had gotten married 2 months earlier.  Her former boyfriend was believed to be in the London area at the time of her disappearance (then went to Vancouver).

Found:  Jan 24/64, approximately one month later.
Margaret was found 2 blocks from home, 50 feet off Kipps Lane in a field.  Police believed that she likely died elsewhere and was dumped in the field.  She was partially clothed.  Most of her clothes were found scattered in a 30 foot area around her body.

Cause of death:  Head injuries.  While the crime was classified as a sexual crime, the coroner found no evidence that she had been sexually assaulted.



« Last Edit: November 19, 2010, 09:31:41 PM by goNgo »

Woodland

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Re: Margaret Sheeler - London, ON - Murdered - 1963
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2010, 09:19:59 PM »
Very sad.

The ad placed by the neice in 2008 says she left the house 24 December, yet the LFP article says 27 December and her husband reported her missing 28 December.  Wonder which one it was?

Margaret left the house in a snowstorm over beer bottles when she is in 'nesting mode' at five months pregnant?  Wonder if hubby had doubts about who the father was, or if he had second thoughts about becoming a father.

That child would have turned 46 this year.

goNgo

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Re: Margaret Sheeler - London, ON - Murdered - 1963
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2010, 09:43:33 PM »
I'm having difficulty thinking of any scenario as likely as the hubby killing her.  How many times have we heard the "we had a fight and she took off" explanation from a spouse when a woman goes missing.  We all know how that usually turns out.  Last to see her.  She turns up dead.

From the sounds of it there was a major snowstorm underway. Who is going to wander away into that?  If I recall (and I don't know where I read it) Margaret's coat was not found.  Why would her other clothes be found, but not that? 

If the weather was that bad, what are the chances that a predator would happen by right at the time she walked outside?  She couldn't have gone too far...her body was found very close to home.

The ex-boyfriend sounds like a convenient 'explanation'. Again, what are the chances that he would be right there as she stormed out?

Maybe hubby wasn't looking forward to be a dad.  Or, he just had a temper.  Or, he was jealous because he heard a rumour that a previous love interest was in town.


Have faith

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Re: Margaret Sheeler - London, ON - Murdered - 1963
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2013, 09:54:52 AM »
Thanks Chick.  Here are Margaret's case details finally posted on the London Police website. 

http://police.city.london.on.ca/d.aspx?s=/Newsroom/Unsolved_Crimes/Murder_Margaret_Sheeler.htm
« Last Edit: September 06, 2014, 06:26:37 PM by Have faith »

debbiec

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Re: Margaret Sheeler - London, ON - Murdered - 1963
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2013, 10:05:53 AM »
Margaret Sheeler is pictured below.

click to enlarge picture (it appears to be quite slow in loading)

jellybean

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Re: Margaret Sheeler - London, ON - Murdered - 1963
« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2014, 10:05:23 PM »
I'm having difficulty thinking of any scenario as likely as the hubby killing her.  How many times have we heard the "we had a fight and she took off" explanation from a spouse when a woman goes missing.  We all know how that usually turns out.  Last to see her.  She turns up dead.

From the sounds of it there was a major snowstorm underway. Who is going to wander away into that?  If I recall (and I don't know where I read it) Margaret's coat was not found.  Why would her other clothes be found, but not that? 

If the weather was that bad, what are the chances that a predator would happen by right at the time she walked outside?  She couldn't have gone too far...her body was found very close to home.

The ex-boyfriend sounds like a convenient 'explanation'. Again, what are the chances that he would be right there as she stormed out?

I agree with GonGo.  Who would leave in a snow storm? And fighting over beer bottles, tells me two things.
1 - Money was very tight.
2.  Booze was involved in the fight (potentially a heavy drinker in the family)

Spreading the clothes around and no sexual assault? Hubby planted them that way to try and make it look like a sexual assault and murder.   Hitting her over the head?  Very common - when in a rage (Perhaps, he felt that she was winning the argument)  Was this area a low income area at the time?

This is all conjecture of course. Hubby must have had something going for him that night, as the police cleared him of any responsibility in her death.  This cold case should be reviewed again by the police. Something is amiss - perhaps relatives might know or suspect something.  Especially if Margaret ever said anything to them about the condition of her marriage.
Oh,.. and  I wonder if hubby had a vehicle.

JB
« Last Edit: September 04, 2014, 10:28:19 PM by jellybean »

Declan

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Re: Margaret Sheeler - London, ON - Murdered - 1963
« Reply #8 on: September 05, 2014, 06:49:48 AM »
Just to follow up on some thoughts from JellyBean.

Although the area of Kipp's Lane has likely changed a lot since when I lived in London - I do remember a bit about it from the sixties.  One of our teachers lived on Bridle Path and we had a couple class parties there (1970).  In Fact, looking at the map, I think that our class parties were held in the field just to the south of 21 Bridle Path.

That part of Kipps Lane, and Bridle Path in particular had well maintained townhouses - the type that seems popular with Sifton Properties.  Seemingly middle-income.  I would think most would be employed.  It was not "down and out" or particularly sketchy.  My Mom would not have a problem with us taking our bikes out to Kipps Lane back then.  It was as safe as anywhere else.  My sense of it was that it would have been a cool place to live...lots of people in their early to mid twenties with a job and enough money to try out some of what the sixties had to offer.  It would be the kind of place I might have moved to after getting my first job and/or rented the place with others if going to Fanshawe.

Of interest, the blocks of townhouses were nicely spaced apart with open fields (greenspaces with a few trees) separating them.  Also, many well-maintained pathways running back behind the townhouses.  These were not just worn paths in the grass, but rather nicely constructed concrete walkways.

Margaret's body was found in a wooded area that was only about 200 yards from where she lived.  From 21 Bridle Path, (on today's satellite pics...unsure if present back then), there is a clearly denoted walkway that connects 21 Bridle Path with Country Lane...and from there just a stone's throw to the field where her body was found.  The "field" appears wooded, and likely was wooded back then.  It is part of the Thames Flood Plain and a small stream winds back through the woods.    It would be the first, and most convenient place to take a body.  Perhaps Margaret's walk (sounds like she may have stormed out), might have taken her onto the little pathway heading west from Bridle Path to Country Lane.   If she was was overtaken, and hit on the head...then the killer would only have had to move her a very short distance (perhaps less than 25 yards) to place her in the field (it is unlikely in my opinion that her choice of walking locations would be in the wooded field during a snowstorm at night).  More likely she was heading towards Kipp's Lane or towards another townhouse to seek out a friend and refuge from the argument she was having.

So - is it possible she left 21 Bridle Path, headed west on the small pathway running behind an adjacent townhouse.  She was overtaken somewhere near Country Line - and then killed and dragged a short distance to the field where her body was later discovered?  (No car needed...and also...she would have covered only a very short distance (would have taken about 2 minutes max) before she was attacked...thus making one wonder about the odds of running into a stranger in such a short period of time). Bad luck, bad timing does happen...but???

Just some thoughts.  One could imagine this, very clearly, as part of a TV script.  An argument happens -perhaps brought on by the usual pressures/expectations of Christmas & related money problems.   The focus on beer bottles is an odd one - and probably points to an argument about drinking.  Drinking may have been happening at the time.  Argument escalates - spouse leaves in a hurry (perhaps felt threatened).  She is running away (not "out for a walk" in the snowstorm).  She takes a pathway between townhouses - perhaps heading to a friend's place.  She makes it about 100 meters...is overtaken (by someone??) smashed on head (in fit of rage).  Body moved another 100 meters to the first good hiding spot.  It is snowing...so the killer hopes that fresh snow will cover his tracks.  M. is thus reported missing "the next day".

Note: the police felt that the murder did not happen at the location where he body was found (they do not expand on this...could this fit with the idea of the blow to head happening closer to her place of residence?)  ..and that her clothes were strewn about to make it appear as a sex killing.  The 'not finding a coat' is interesting.  Perhaps Margaret left without one....her objective simply being to reach a friend's townhouse which might have only been a minute's run away.  She may have left in a hurry - and did not have time to grab a coat.

Just some speculation.  However, a quick look at the map would suggest that M. was not abducted in a car, killed and left in a hiding place.  Everything happened, instead, in a very tight geographical zone with distances that would be covered in just a couple of minutes on foot.


jellybean

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Re: Margaret Sheeler - London, ON - Murdered - 1963
« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2014, 04:39:12 PM »
quote Declan: (and thank you for the added info)

quote
"Note: the police felt that the murder did not happen at the location where he body was found (they do not expand on this...could this fit with the idea of the blow to head happening closer to her place of residence?)  ..and that her clothes were strewn about to make it appear as a sex killing.  The 'not finding a coat' is interesting.  Perhaps Margaret left without one....her objective simply being to reach a friend's townhouse which might have only been a minute's run away.  She may have left in a hurry - and did not have time to grab a coat." unquote

So true, not having time to grab a coat.  We assume that she left her place of residence under her own steam!

I have the feeling that it happened in her home..... and the killer did not think about a winter coat. (Big oops there!)
Considered a few things, after the fact, but did not think about her winter coat!!

THIS COLD CASE IS SCREAMING TO BE SOLVED!

JB





Have faith

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Re: Margaret Sheeler - London, ON - Murdered - 1963
« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2014, 08:41:34 PM »
Thanks Declan for your input.  Good observations and helpful geographic points.

What bothers me about the missing coat, is that when Margaret's husband made his "missing person" report to LE, he stated that she left home wearing her coat and boots.  If he had staged the crime scene to make it look like a sudden, random sexual attack, before he reported her missing, he would have left her coat strewn at the scene with her other clothing. 

LE must have some forensic evidence to think that Margaret was killed elsewhere, and was then dumped in the field close to her home, which is very odd. Obviously no evidence of violence was found in her home, and I bet her husband passed a polygraph test. Although the husband would be the obvious suspect, it doesn't seem logical to me that he did it.  I am more interested in the ex-boyfriend.  JMO

From LFP article clippings at the London Public Library: (see reply#1, goNgo)

Last seen:  Dec 27/63

Margaret allegedly left her home at 21 Bridle Path, at 8:00 p.m. in a severe snowstorm. She had an argument with her husband and walked out, fully clothed (with coat and boots). Her husband reported her missing the next day.

Modified to add goNgo's info.

« Last Edit: September 12, 2014, 08:46:55 PM by Have faith »

jellybean

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Re: Margaret Sheeler - London, ON - Murdered - 1963
« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2014, 12:10:55 PM »
Have Faith, where does it say that she left with her coat and boots?  I am confused - so please help me here (thanks) :-\

Fully clothed - can mean that she left the house to brave the elements, coat and boots - or it just can mean that she left the house dressed. ie: street clothes ( as she was found with her clothes strewn around.)
Quote:Posted by GonGo.

"Cause of death:  Head injuries.  While the crime was classified as a sexual crime, the coroner found no evidence that she had been sexually assaulted.



What on earth does that mean?
http://www.police.london.ca/d.aspx?s=/Newsroom/Unsolved_Crimes/Murder_Margaret_Sheeler.htmwww.londoncrimestoppers.com.



« Last Edit: September 13, 2014, 12:24:33 PM by jellybean »

Have faith

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Re: Margaret Sheeler - London, ON - Murdered - 1963
« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2014, 01:23:57 PM »
From LFP article clippings at the London Public Library:

Last seen:  Dec 27/63

Margaret allegedly left her home at 21 Bridle Path, at 8:00 p.m. in a severe snowstorm. She had an argument with her husband and walked out, fully clothed (with coat and boots). Her husband reported her missing the next day.

Background:  Margaret (nee Butterman) was 5 1/2 months pregnant and had gotten married 2 months earlier.  Her former boyfriend was believed to be in the London area at the time of her disappearance (then went to Vancouver).

Found:  Jan 24/64, approximately one month later.
Margaret was found 2 blocks from home, 50 feet off Kipps Lane in a field.  Police believed that she likely died elsewhere and was dumped in the field.  She was partially clothed.  Most of her clothes were found scattered in a 30 foot area around her body.

Cause of death:  Head injuries.  While the crime was classified as a sexual crime, the coroner found no evidence that she had been sexually assaulted.


JB I got the coat info from the above LFP clipping that goNgo found at the London Public Library.  I assume that goNgo didn't want to infringe on any copyright rules, and so she typed it out verbatim.  I'll confirm this with goNgo.

Re your question:
""Cause of death:  Head injuries.  While the crime was classified as a sexual crime, the coroner found no evidence that she had been sexually assaulted."  "What on earth does that mean?"

I think that LE will suspect a sexual crime whenever the victim is found partially clothed or naked, in spite of a lack of physical evidence by the coroner.  The same is true if a body has decomposed to a point that it is impossible to prove a sexual component, and the coroner will note that there is no "evidence" of a sexual crime.  Some victims listed in Project Angel were classified as sex crimes, although the medical examination showed "no evidence" of a sex attack.


 


jellybean

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Re: Margaret Sheeler - London, ON - Murdered - 1963
« Reply #13 on: September 13, 2014, 01:53:14 PM »
Thanks Have faith for your response.  What struck me, about her picture, Margaret was so pretty - a face on her like a mannequin. Just mentioning that as an aside, as it doesn't really matter about pretty or otherwise, she did not deserve to be murdered. And an unborn child, is also in the mix......

Jb

Declan

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Re: Margaret Sheeler - London, ON - Murdered - 1963
« Reply #14 on: September 14, 2014, 10:40:23 AM »
As has been found for other cases, the little kernels of information that become available to us either through LFP clippings or police reports, are often inaccurate or misleading.  It is curious however, that the police provided the "small details" of a argument between a husband and wife that led to the wife storming out of the house for a "walk" on a cold and snow filled night.  Their mention of this, and the mention of an ex-boyfriend, and M's status as being pregnant are intriguing however.   Such domestic details have been left out of most other released police info on other unsolved cases.  The inclusion herein is therefore peculiar, and perhaps telling.  What was the argument really about?   Why do the police tell us about an ex-boyfriend?  Is it germane to the murder itself that Margaret was pregnant?  Perhaps it was part of the argument?  It is, as if, the police are providing some examples of motivation, rather than information that would be necessarily useful to prompt tips.   To include an assertion by M's husband that the argument was about returning beer bottle - and this alone would lead to M. leaving the house to brave a cold winter night on foot - seems almost a way of making a jest of the husband's story.