[Nameplate] Overcast ~ 54°F  
High: 56°F ~ Low: 43°F
Tuesday, May 3, 2016

One year after Essie McVey murder, frustration reigns

Thursday, August 30, 2012

(Photo)
Essie McVey, 85, was attacked one year ago today in her Greencastle home. She died two days later in an Indianapolis hospital.
Easily the most exasperating case in his 25 years as a Greencastle Police detective has unceremoniously etched frustration and concern into the face and voice of veteran GPD Det. Randy Seipel.

Frustration that a year has now passed and authorities are no closer than they were 12 months ago to knowing who killed 85-year-old Essie McVey in her Autumn Glen Village condo last Aug. 30.

Frustration that little evidence has ever emerged. Few leads have ever materialized. And anyone remotely considered a suspect has long ago been cleared of involvement.

That all translates into Seipel's continued concern for Mrs. McVey's extended family. As well as his continued concern for a community devastatingly shocked that an elderly woman could be shot and killed in her own home in broad daylight in the middle of town without anyone apparently witnessing anything.

Her next-door neighbors were even home but heard nothing, saw nothing out of the ordinary.

"It is frustrating," Seipel assured in an interview with the Banner Graphic this week. "Absolutely the most frustrating (case) of my career.

"It's been a very time-consuming, frustrating (there's that word again) year," he added. "Not a day goes by that I don't pull that binder out of the credenza behind my desk and look at the information again.

"We want to solve this as much as anyone for the family, and for this community. At this point, it takes patience and determination and finding the right pieces to put the puzzle together."

So far, not even a spot on Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana (and its $1,000 reward) has helped bring the case to justice.

Only two calls ever emerged from that Indianapolis television exposure and its related website presence, Seipel noted.

The first call pointed to a person who had already been cleared in the case, the detective said, while the second caller offered a theory and some possibly valid information but left investigators no name or contact number to follow up the lead.

Authorities honestly don't know much more than that a lone perpetrator shot Mrs. McVey once in the head with a small-caliber handgun.

"There was no ransacking," Seipel said, "nothing really out of place. As far as we know, we discovered nothing of value missing."

There was no forced entry. And no murder weapon has ever turned up, despite searches of nearby fields, dumpsters, drainage ditches, storm sewers and hours of looking at video pulled from businesses and buildings in the vicinity.

Greencastle detectives, working alongside Indiana State Police crime scene technicians, turned up little physical evidence at the scene.

"Therein lies the problem" Seipel assured. "There's so little physical evidence."

What police do have is an accurate timeline of Mrs. McVey's activities that morning, leading to a maddening, unaccounted-for 76 minutes that include the final conscious moments of her life.

The elderly woman was home at her Autumn Glen Village condo that morning, waiting for her home health care worker to make a scheduled visit. Authorities know the health care nurse phoned Mrs. McVey at 9:01 a.m. to verify that she was coming that morning.

However, the nurse got behind in her other stops and had to call Mrs. McVey back at 10:17 to advise she'd be late, Seipel said.

"She got no answer," the detective said, "so she continued to call the house while driving in, concerned that she (Mrs. McVey) was sick or unable to get to the phone to answer it."

The home health care worker arrived at the McVey condo at 10:35 a.m., finding the front door unlocked but not open. Inside she discovered the victim, barely alive, on the floor of the living room-dining room area of the condo.

Immediately she dialed 911, and Operation Life and GPD Capt. Mike Hanlon arrived simultaneously a few minutes later.

"So we have 76 minutes unaccounted for," Seipel said of that 9:01-10:17 a.m. timeframe, "from when she was OK and answering the phone to when we know the event had already taken place."

Authorities subsequently interviewed about 75 people, Seipel said, including every health care worker who had ever been in the house, every family member who lives in the area, neighbors, anyone investigators were aware of was ever in the home and anyone who ever visited the condo while health care workers care of the victim.

All family members have been ultra-cooperative in the investigation, Seipel said, despite the unimaginable grief the survivors have endured.

Yet none of those people saw anything unusual or heard anything out of the ordinary or had any idea who may have been involved.

"There's more information out there, there's no question in my mind," the veteran GPD detective says of his seventh and most frustrating homicide case.

"Somebody knows something that would be helpful to us but they haven't shared that information or we don't even know to talk to them. It may not be the piece of information that says 'John Doe did it,' but it might lead us to that," he said.

On sleepless nights Seipel says he often finds himself going over and over aspects of the McVey case in his head, running scenarios through his mind.

"One of the working theories," he shared, "is that someone came into her condo, and she interrupted them in the process of taking something. And in the framework of not wanting to be caught ..."

The mystery intruder shot her. At least that's one of the theories.

But even then, with the woman nearly lifeless on the floor, wouldn't the gunman have hurriedly ransacked the place in a search for cash or valuable prescription medications (all her meds were accounted for)?

The intruder may have panicked, Seipel reasoned, and assumed that with the closeness of the condo units someone nearby would have heard a gunshot. Or perhaps about that time, the home health care worker was leaving a phone message and could be heard saying, "I'm on my way, I'll be right there."

"We believe only one person other than the investigators knows the extent of what happened in that room that day," the GPD detective said.

While police have not successfully identified a suspect in the 2011 case, they have narrowed the field.

"We have successfully cleared several people who were on our list," Seipel said, "so that's helped narrow the scope."

Regardless, the fact that a year has passed and a killer remains at large gnaws at Seipel.

"We remain absolutely dedicated to solving this case," he stressed. "Whether it takes a week, a year, five years or 10 years, we will continue to follow any leads.

"If this case isn't a priority," he concluded, "I don't know what is."

An additional $4,000 reward (beyond the $1,000 from Crime Stoppers) is being offered by a donor through the Greencastle Police Department for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Mrs. McVey's killer. Anyone with information can call Det. Seipel on his direct line at 655-2308 and leave a message, and vitally important, a call-back number.


Comments
Note: The nature of the Internet makes it impractical for our staff to review every comment. If you feel that a comment is offensive, please Login or Create an account first, and then you will be able to flag a comment as objectionable. Please also note that those who post comments on bannergraphic.com may do so using a screen name, which may or may not reflect a website user's actual name. Readers should be careful not to assign comments to real people who may have names similar to screen names. Refrain from obscenity in your comments, and to keep discussions civil, don't say anything in a way your grandmother would be ashamed to read.

THIS IS SUCH A TERRIBLY SAD SITUATION. I CANNOT IMAGINE WHAT THE FAMILY IS GOING THROUGH. FOR SOMEONE TO MURDER AN INNOCENT ELDERLY WOMAN IN HER HOME IS THE MOST HORRIBLE INCIDENT I CAN IMAGINE. I STILL BELIEVE SOMEONE IN THIS TOWN KNOWS INFORMATION ABOUT THIS CRIME, BUT IS JUST NOT WILLING TO COME FORWARD. SOMEONE KNEW HER ROUTINE AND THAT SHE WAS ALONE. I COMMEND DETECTIVE SEIPEL FOR HIS HARD WORK. I'M SURE HE IS FOLLOWING ALL CLUES AND INFORMATION HE HAS BEEN GIVEN.

CAN THE POLICE CONTACT "AMERICA'S MOST WANTED" TO SEE IF THEY WOULD BROADCAST THIS CRIME?

-- Posted by lhmh on Thu, Aug 30, 2012, at 4:13 PM


Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: