In June 1989, a body was found in the yard of an old house in a peaceful part of Vancouver, British Columbia, near the city of Richmond. People were shocked. Cindy James, a nurse who was 42 years old, was killed. She had been given drugs and strangled, and her hands and legs were tied behind her back. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police thought that she may have killed herself or died in an accident.
Cindy reported about one hundred instances of harassment in the seven years preceding her death, beginning four months after her divorce from her husband. Five were physical assaults, while the remaining incidents ranged from whispers to quiet phone ringing. The situation deteriorated after she contacted the police. She listened to prowlers at night. Her porch lights and phone lines were out of commission. According to her colleague Agnes Woodcock, she reported that unusual occurrences began to occur on her doorway. Someone was attempting to kill her by terrifying her. She grew ill and terrified to provide specifics. Over time, the cops began to question her accounts.
One evening, Agnes knocked on Cindy’s door and requested a place to stay. Since there was no response, she assumed she was taking a bath. As she investigated, she discovered her outside, crouching with a nylon stocking securely wrapped around her neck. She had taken it to the garage to retrieve a box when she was attacked from behind. She only observed white lurkers. Cindy moved to a new residence, repainted her car, and changed her surname. She also engaged Ozzie Kaban, a private investigator. The police reopened their investigation and interviewed her multiple times. Later, Ozzie revealed that she would not share the complete tale with them. She would be secretive, withhold evidence, and act in a manner inconsistent with a typical victim. Her mother, Tillie Hack, believes her daughter’s reluctance was due to the fact that her attacker had tormented her sister and family. If she were to name him, her family would be slaughtered.
Ozzie Kaban went directly to Cindy’s residence after hearing strange sounds from from the two-way radio he had given her. He walked around the house and found that it was locked. Through a window, he observed her lying on the ground with a paring knife piercing her hand. She was transported to the hospital, where she recalled being abused and having a needle inserted into her arm. The police never had a suspect’s fingerprints, and there was no independent evidence. Sometimes Cindy observed this person accompanied by one or two others, or she was told there were two or three persons, but authorities were never able to identify a culprit.
The terrifying phone calls resumed, but they were too brief to monitor. There were no incidents when the police had 24-hour, seven-day-a-week, up to fourteen-police-officer surveillance of her residence, but when the supervision was lifted, another incident would occur. As police grew suspicious of the harassment, her parents believed that her aggressor was staying away to make them suspect her. Finally, she was discovered laying in a canal six miles from her home, confused and unconscious. She was suffering from hypothermia while wearing work boots and gloves designed for men. She was covered in cuts and scrapes. Black nylon tights were securely wrapped around her neck. She has no recollection of the event.
Agnes Woodcock and her husband, Tom, resided with her. One night, they heard sounds and awoke to find the cellar engulfed in flames and the telephone disconnected. Tom left his residence to warn his neighbors. He told a man standing at the curb to phone the fire department when he spotted him. Instead, he simply fled down the road. The cops suspected Cindy of staging the event. They did not find any dust or fingerprints on the surface of the window sill. The fire was started inside the home. The offender, it was assumed, would have needed to climb through this window in order to commit the crime. It was also odd that Cindy continued to walk her dog freely during the attacks. Her physician committed her to a regional mental unit out of concern that she was suicidal. After 10 weeks in the hospital, she left. Her father, Otto Hack, informed her that she eventually admitted to her family and friends that she understood more than she was letting on and that she would pursue her attacker herself.
Cindy disappeared on May 25, 1989, six years and seven months after the first frightening phone call. On the same day, her vehicle was found in a local parking lot. There were food and a gift enclosed within. There was blood on the driver-side door, and her wallet was found under the vehicle. Her body was recovered two weeks later in the old house. It appeared as though she had been ruthlessly murdered. Behind her back, her wrists and feet were chained together. A tight black nylon stocking was wrapped around her neck. However, an autopsy revealed that she died from a morphine and other drug overdose. The authorities suspected she had committed suicide. Otto believed she would not have been prepared to arrange the situation, while others believed it to be logical. The coroner in Vancouver determined that her death was neither a suicide, an accident, nor a homicide. They assumed that a “unknown occurrence” caused her death. Cindy’s parents never had any question that she was murdered. Otto believed that the authorities did not investigate the possibilities of homicide or someone killing her, instead focusing on proving that she committed herself. They believe that someone is getting away with murder in Vancouver.