Investigators are taking a look at a nearly 40 year old cold case.
In November, 1980 Shelia Shepherd was found dead inside her Church St. apartment. At the time, Saratoga Springs Police said she had been asphyxiated with a wad of clothing shoved down her throat and that after death someone had tied her wrists and ankles to her bed and then stabbed her in the abdomen.
When the 22 year old mother failed to show up to her secretarial course the next week her uncle was sent to check on her. Her door was locked, so he climbed the fire escape, entering her window. He found her naked body on the bed.
Leads hunted down by the Saratoga Springs Police, State Police and the FBI failed in identifying a suspect. There were of course no body cameras, cellphones or many security cameras that are in use today.
“What was available for video? It was you folks, the media,” Lt. Robert Jillson, of the Saratoga Springs Police Department, said.
Jillson says that’s why his department is requesting copies of old NEWS10 ABC stories as a way of getting a fresh look at the old cold case.
Another fresh set of eyes is Investigator Chris Callahan, whose interest in the case began as a kid.
“I remember as a kid driving with my parents to Maine and they would be talking about who they thought was responsible,” Callahan said.
Callahan is now consumed with interviewing former detectives who had worked on the case, as well as possible witnesses from decades ago.
“It’s tough because many are now gone or have moved out of the area.”
DNA technology that wasn’t available in the 80’s may prove helpful. Outside of that, they’re hoping someone who knows something about what happened to Shelia Shepherd will come forward.
Lt. Jillson says the idea to dig into the cold case actually began with a call from the Times Union newspaper which was looking into old Capital Region cold cases and to see if other notable cases might possibly be connected to the Shepherd case.
If you know anything about this cold case you are asked to please give the Saratoga Springs Police Department a call at: 518-584-1800 or for anonymous tips, call 518-584-TIPS.