Saratoga Springs Police hope podcast will solve 40-year-old cold case

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Saratoga Springs Police Department is turning to the world of true crime podcasts in hopes of getting fresh leads in the case of a young woman murdered back in 1980.

Who killed Sheila Shepherd? It’s a question that’s plagued Saratoga Springs for nearly 40 years. Investigators Chris Callahan and Matthew Wilson have cracked open the case file and are determined to solve the city’s only cold case murder.

“Just growing up you’d hear the stories,” Wilson said. “My father was a police officer here so I heard a lot about it.”

“It’s a very interesting case; very different from anything else you hear about or things we get on a daily basis here,” said Callahan.

A big part of why it’s so unique is the disturbing way Sheila Shepherd’s body was discovered inside her apartment on that November day back in 1980.

“Spread eagle, both hands and both feet tied to the bed frame. She was covered, died of asphyxiation, but then has a knife plunged into her stomach postmortem,” described Wilson.

Now the investigators are turning to techniques and technologies that weren’t available decades ago, including DNA testing and podcasts. The true crime genre has exploded in recent years with armchair detectives using only their wits and a microphone to shed new light on unsolved crimes.

Tim Pilleri and Lance Reenstierna from the popular “Missing Maura Murray” podcast are taking up the Sheila Shepherd case. They’ve released their first episode after spending two days interviewing Investigators Wilson and Callahan in Saratoga.

“We’re hoping that maybe the podcast will get it out to a national audience. That someone in California, Texas, or wherever will see the story and be encouraged to call us with a tip.”

So far, the the podcast is paying close attention to the injury made to Sheila after her death, indicating her killer had spent a considerable amount of time inside her apartment.

“The doctor they talked to said it would be at least a half an hour after she’s been dead before she’s struck with the knife,” said Callahan.

This leads them to conclude that the suspect was someone she knew, a haunting theory for investigators and loved ones who want to see this case closed and justice served.

You can find the Crawlspace Sheila Shepherd podcast on the purple podcast app, iTunes, Stitcher and YouTube.

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