1974-?? Update

Archive - 1975

Homicide #??

Date - 1975-09-23

Victim - Sheen, Julie (81)
Accused - UNSOLVED
Charge -

On Saturday, September 27, 1975, Julie Sheen, an 81-year old widow was found stabbed to death in the living room of her home at 162 Inkster Blvd.

Mrs. Sheen was last seen alive on Thursday night (September 25) by friends who had visited her home for cake and coffee. She had also spoken with her daughter at 11:00 p.m. that night as well. At about 10:45 a.m. the following morning (September 26) an operator at the Citizens Inquiry Board received a phone call from an unknown woman with a heavy accent stating that she was about to be killed, robbed of all her money and buried in her back yard. The phone was subsequently disconnected.

It was unknown who this caller was, however when Mrs. Sheen?s body was found, the number for the Citizens Inquiry Board was found written on a piece of paper beside her phone. Furthermore, Mrs. Sheen was a former immigrant from France and had a strong French accent. As such it is believed that Mrs. Sheen was the caller and that she was killed shortly after 10:45 a.m. on Friday, September 26, 1975.

Because Mrs. Sheen had immigrated to Canada after the great depression, she did not trust banks and kept most of her money hidden about her home wrapped in pieces of aluminum foil. When Mrs. Sheen was found, her purses had been emptied, closets and cupboards searched, mattresses turned over and pieces of aluminum foil were found scattered throughout the house. The money that she had hidden was missing, suggesting that robbery was the motive for this crime and was again consistent with the phone call received by the Citizens Inquiry Board.

At about 11:15 a.m. on Friday morning, about the time the call is received by the Citizens Inquiry Board, one of Mrs. Sheen's neighbours reported seeing an old panel van drive away from the front of her house. The neighbour felt that the license plates on the van were not from Manitoba, but looked familiar to him and believed they may have been issued by Washington State. While this van has not be connected with any certainty to the murder, the reason it was there and its owners have never been identified.

Mrs. Sheen lived alone. She was extremely conscious about home security and kept all her doors locked. Due to failing eyesight she would not open the door to anyone unless she had confirmed his or her identity. Mrs. Sheen would go so far was to refuse entry to a delivery person, insisting that the package be left on the step. As there appeared to be no sign of forced entry, it is possible that Mrs. Sheen let the suspect(s) into her house believing that she knew them.

While some neighbours were aware that Mrs. Sheen kept a large amount of money in her house, her family believed that generally no one outside of the family knew to what extent she had hidden money about her home. In total, the last time the money was counted; there was roughly $15,000.00, many of the bills being the old King George IV series $20 bills. Present at this time were Mrs. Sheen's daughter and her granddaughter.

Shortly after the money was counted the granddaughter split from her husband and moved to Florida. It is unknown whether or not the ex-husband was aware of the money, however he was out of work, in debt and trying to obtain credit at the time. On September 16, 1975, shortly before the murder, he bought a one-way ticket to Florida with a bad cheque to visit his ex-wife. He arrived in Florida on September 17, dropped off their son and left. It is unknown if he returned to Winnipeg but he has never been interviewed by the police and has not been seen or heard from since, indicating he may have changed his name or passed away.

Two days before the murder Mrs. Sheen called her daughter and indicated that she had just received a surprise visit from her late husband's brother's ex-wife ("Mary") and her new young boyfriend from Oakland, California. She indicated they were hungry and looking for something to eat before traveling to on to Edmonton. Apparently Mrs. Sheen was not happy with their company as they drank too much and sent them on their way.

Police investigation has never identified "Mary" or her boyfriend, as the real "Mary Sheen" of Oakland had died several years earlier. However neighbours did report seeing a blue Lincoln Continental with California license plates parked across the street from Mrs. Sheen's house on September 23, 1975, and two new picture postcards from Oakland, California, were found beside Mrs. Sheen's phone.

It would appear that only someone known to Mrs. Sheen, or whom Mrs. Sheen believed she knew, could have gained entry to her home. Furthermore this person would have been well aware that she kept large amounts of money secreted in her home. As such the killer knew Mrs. Sheen or knew enough about Mrs. Sheen to convince her that she knew them and let them into her home. The killers probably did not intend on killing Mrs. Sheen, but may have panicked when they caught her on the phone to the Citizens Inquiry Board.

While there is no indication whatsoever that Mrs. Sheen's granddaughter's ex-husband was in Winnipeg at the time of the murder, because of his financial situation at the time and his suspicious disappearance, the police would still like to speak with him today. 

If you have any information about this case, please contact Crime Stoppers at 786-TIPS (8477), or e-mail Sgt. Al Bradbury and Det. Jon Lutz of the Cold Case Homicide Unit.