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The Unsolved Murder of Margaret Sheeler

The Unsolved Murder of Margaret Sheeler

 

Case File Overview

 

In December 1963, Margaret Sheeler and her husband Philip were settling into married life in London, Ontario. Their home, 21 Bridle Path, was located in a townhouse complex geared towards young, well-to-do families.

Margaret and Philip had an argument over empty liquor bottles on Friday December 27, 1963. Afterwards, around 8:00 pm, Margaret left in a snowstorm to walk to her parents’ house. The next night, Philip reported his 20-year-old pregnant wife missing.

On January 23rd, 1964 two boys discovered Margaret’s body. She was in a field just west of Bridle Path on Kipps Lane. Margaret was naked, and her clothing was strewn around the field. The autopsy revealed that she had died from a skull fracture. There were no signs of sexual assault. Her death was ruled a homicide.

The murder of Margaret and her unborn child is unsolved.

 

Case File Theories

 

Stranger

Did a stranger murder Margaret?

It’s very unlikely. Stranger murders aren’t as common as people think.

There was a terrible snowstorm on the evening Margaret disappeared. It doesn’t seem probable that many people were out and in a position to find Margaret after she left her home. Also, her body was found within 1000 feet (300 hundred meters) of her house, not affording a killer much of an opportunity to stumble upon her.

Husband

Did Philip murder his wife in a fit of rage and cover-up the crime?

This is the likeliest scenario. When women are murdered the perpetrator is typically their partner or someone close to them.

Details of Philip and Margaret’s relationship suggest he may have killed her. Philip had a drinking problem and a bad temper. Margaret became pregnant in July of 1963, leading to a shotgun wedding in October 1963. Perhaps Phillip was less than keen about taking on the responsibility of a young family.

On the night Margaret disappeared, the Sheelers were supposed to host a party. When the guests arrived shortly after 8:00 pm, Margaret was already missing. According to the guests, Philip acted strangely. He was drunk, paced frantically, and talked to himself. Philip told them that Margaret had left after an argument and had walked to her parents’ house. Notably, Margaret’s parents lived over an hour away by car. The family car was still in the driveway. It seems inconceivable that she’d try to walk that distance on a dark, stormy night. Also, Margaret’s body was found very close to home, suggesting Philip could have easily dumped her body in the field.

Who do you think murdered Margaret?

Decades have passed since Margaret’s murder. But Margaret and her unborn baby still deserve justice. Someone out there might know something about this cold case.

Margaret Sheeler

Image of murder victim Margaret Sheeler
Image source: London Police Service

If you have any information about Margaret’s murder, please contact London Police Service at 519-661-5670.

Related reading

Margaret Sheeler – London Police Service case overview

Murder City – book by Michael Arntfield

“London police publish list of 10 unsolved murders”London Free Press article

Interested in unsolved murder cases? Check out the murder of Aivaras Danilevicius and the rape and murder of teenager Deanna Cremin.

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2 Comments

  1. Lacy Lacy

    If going by pure emotion, I feel the husband is involved. Why?

    -he left town abruptly after she was found
    -he waited and nervously entertained dinner guests before finally telling guests them an hour or so that Margaret left after a fight….meanwhile there was a snowstorm
    -he never left to look for her in the immediate like first couple hours, i.e. bad snowstorm and didn’t file missing persons report until next day
    -she was found naked but not sexually assaulted. *and yes I know just because a victim isn’t necessarily sexually assaulted doesn’t mean the murder wasn’t sexually motivated…but it seemed staged to appear as if it was a sexually motivated murder when it wasn’t in all actuality
    -she was found without her coat…if she truly left after a fight, she’d at least put her coat on, which makes me think the dumping of her body happened abruptly and was a mistake by her killer forgetting only her coat whereas all her other clothing that she was wearing was found with the body. I feel she probably was wearing her clothes peri-mortem and they were removed in haste to stage the scene then realized, “oops. forgot the coat” because she wasn’t wearing it when she was killed.
    -the marriage was not doing well by any means and was only a couple months old. they only got married due to her pregnancy and hubby was struggling with alcohol addiction which he escalated during the holiday break from work
    -the only other suspect (that wouldn’t be considered a stranger) was a past boyfriend who had allegedly followed her to London to “win her back.” I find it hard to believe that he would just happen to randomly run into her after she just left her house after a fight, they meet and then he ends up murdering her. Um, no.
    -lastly she had a dinner party planned with food in the kitchen in the process of being prepared/cooked and it appeared as if she left abruptly, which is possible but unlikely due to the weather and knowing that guests would be arriving.

    hmmm..the last part there could be an argument against the husband murdering her because it could be argued he’d have a short period of time to commit the murder and then drive out in the snow and deposit her body and stage the scene. but i just find the bad state of their marriage and her being pregnant adding on his alcoholism, (which could turn him angry) and he kills her in a fit. I don’t know just my feelings. Also she was found relatively close to her residence which aligns with the husband dumping her close since he had a short window before dinner party guests were to arrive.

    • Christine Christine

      Hi Lacy, Thanks for reading and for taking the time to comment. I agree wholeheartedly with your detailed insights, and all of these reasons that you mention are why I also think that Margaret’s husband likely killed her. It is troubling that this case may never be solved. And as time passes, I think that it gets more and more unlikely. I hope that perhaps he told someone about his involvement and that one day this case can be solved. Anyways, thanks again for sharing your thoughts. Have a great week! ~ Christine

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