Crime

The PI Who Solved the Murder of Her SMU College Roommate

A podcast covers the riveting true crime story of private investigator Sheila Wysocki, and gives us an excuse to plug a feature from our April issue.

For the April issue of D Magazine, Mike Mooney wrote about the death of Jonathan Crews, shot in bed in his Coppell apartment in 2014. Crews’ girlfriend, Brenda Lazaro, the only other person in the apartment at the time, says that Crews pulled the trigger himself. But enough questions about the evening persist that the headline “Killer or Victim?” feels appropriate for Mooney’s story.

That story came about largely because of the efforts of Sheila Wysocki, a private investigator attached to the case. Mooney describes her like this:

Sheila Wysocki’s unusual path to working as a PI got her featured on 20/20 and in both People and the Washington Post. When she was a student at SMU in the mid-’80s, her roommate was raped and murdered. The case went unsolved until, 20 years later, living in Nashville, Tennessee, as a stay-at-home mom, Sheila had a vision about her roommate and decided to become an investigator. She started with background checks and cheating spouses and worked her way up to missing persons and murder. At her urging, after hundreds of calls to the Dallas Police Department, her roommate’s case was reopened, and the evidence was retested. The DNA matched a rapist who had been out on parole at the time of the murder.

Today, Sheila talks like a veteran detective, familiar with the unsettling details of far too many crime scenes. She works with a network of experts on everything from speech patterns to handwriting analysis. She’s 5-foot-5, with dark hair and glasses. She looks like a friend’s aunt or your kid’s teacher or that nice lady from church.

Great subject for a true crime podcast, right? The producers of the popular podcast Criminal thought so too, devoting two episodes to Wysocki this month. The first, “Cold Case,” covers Wysocki’s start as a PI, investigating the cold case murder of her college roommate at SMU. The second, “Shadowing Sheila,” goes deeper into her investigative work. I’m about halfway into the first episode, and it’s a pretty riveting listen. About as riveting as the feature from the April issue of D Magazine, which you can read here.

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