The Squonk & The Hag

Lindy Sue Biechler: How DNA Solved a 46 Year-Old Cold Case | Episode 4

Lindy Sue Biechler: How DNA Solved a 46 Year-Old Cold Case | Episode 4 - Listen on Spotify


A beautiful 19 year-old newlywed, Lindy Sue Biechler, was brutally murdered in her apartment in 1975. Follow the twists and turns from tragedy to modern day forensics finding her killer. 

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Show Notes

I’m from Pennsylvania. Born here, raised here. I currently live in Lancaster County. If you don’t know much about PA, it’s sort of a rectangle with squiggly bits on the right and a little hat on the left. Lancaster County is in the south central area of the state. Lancaster City is a combination of residential and commerce like many others with a current population a bit over 500,000. The art scene is amazing with an entire district focused on galleries and performance spaces.

The city is a harsh contrast to what a lot of Lancaster County is famous for: Amish Country. There are tourist attractions and even tours to see “how the Amish live”. To outsiders, it’s quaint and fascinating. To residents, it’s commonplace to the point of sometimes being annoying. It’s common to be cursing behind the wheel of your car as you’re stuck behind a horse and buggy, unable to pass on a two lane road. Friday night is “date night” at the local Walmart and the young Amish couples slowly meander the aisles, getting in your way as you just want to grab that one thing and get out.

Don’t get me wrong. I love this place. I don’t live directly in Lancaster City, but I’m not far from it in a smaller little town. This is a type of area that when a big crime happens, people talk.

Back to 1975

Let’s take a trip back in time a little. It’s 1975. In the UK, Margaret Thatcher became the first woman leader of the British Conservative Party. The Vietnam War was raging with the Battle of Ban Me Thuot and Operation Babylift before South Vietnam finally surrendered. Patty Hearst hit the Most Wanted list and was arrested for armed robbery. And the very first blockbuster, JAWS, hit theaters.  

The Murder of Lindy Sue Biechler

In Manor Township, just outside Lancaster City, Lindy Sue Biechler was a beautiful 19-year old newly-wed who worked in a flower shop. 

On December 5, her husband Phil went to work at his job at a local rental car agency. Lindy ran a few errands after work and returned home between 7pm and 7:15pm with some groceries and then waited for her husband to get home.

For weeks, she told friends and family that she felt she was being stalked. She would see someone peeking through the sliding glass door of the apartment. She was so uncomfortable with the situation that she didn’t like being home alone. Knowing her concern, her aunt and uncle visited to keep her company until her husband returned home. At 8:40pm they let themselves in through the unlocked front door. Instead of spending time with their niece talking and exchanging recipes as planned, the couple discover what has been described as “a horrific scene with blood on the front door, entrance-way wall and carpet.

Lindy’s body was on the floor near the living room. She had been stabbed 19 times, and an 8” butcher knife was still protruding from the back of her neck. Wrapped around the handle of the knife was a towel. Both the knife and the towel were confirmed to be from the Biechler’s kitchen. It was later determined that two different knives were used in the brutal attack. The second knife was not recovered and had been believed to have been brought to and removed from the scene by the killer. She had wounds consistent with a struggle, but the only disturbance at the scene was a knocked over lamp. The groceries she had purchased were still sitting on the dining room table. A footprint was found in the kitchen, believed to be left by a man.

The autopsy determined her time of death was between 6pm and 7:30pm. Since she was known to arrive home around 7:15pm, there was a very small window for when the attack occurred. Of the 19 stab wounds, 3 were to the neck, 11 to the chest and 6 to the back. Her carotid artery, lung and heart were all cut by wounds leading to massive bleeding and death. The autopsy confirmed she had not been sexually assaulted.

The Murder Investigation for Lindy Sue Biechler

A few days later, newspapers reported that police were asking for information about a dark-colored, standard-size American car that had been double-parked outside of the apartment complex between 7pm and 8:40pm the night of the attack.

One month after the murder in January 1976, police caught a break and arrested 18-year old Mark Dominic Capalupo for assuaulting 4 women and attempting to attack a 5th between December and January. In these attacks, he would threaten the victim with a screwdriver before tying them up and sexually assaulting them. While he was cleared for Lindy’s murder, Capalupo was arrested for the heinous acts he did commit. A year later, he was fatally shot while attempting to escape from prison.

The case sadly cooled off after the arrest of Capalupo. In December of 1976, visitors to Lindy’s grave discovered it to be vandalized. Red paint covered the headstone and was then slashed and chipped with a sharp instrument. It was undetermined if it had been a prank or the killer attempting to relive the crime.

A Chilling Letter

Only a few weeks later, a chilling letter was sent to the Lancaster Police Chief Donald Sheeler. A mix of hand printed and cursive, the letter appeared to be from two separate parties. 

hi sheeler

Just Eats up your heart knowing you havn’t caught me yet, still around, Lindy’s marker on her grave just turned me on like she did, and the way she looked all bloody, like the paint on her Marker, the scratch and nick marks represent the knife stabes.

Count them.

you wondered if the guy at the gas station in Mountville were related to Biechlers murder. forget it man, no way.

I’ll tell you what Chief Pig, you print this Letter in the paper along with a Picture in Friday nights Lancaster Paper and saturday mornings paper, and I might confesss When I get off my trip. You see the world owes me a living, maybe I give you a few hints who I am.

got busted once for Drugs a few years back

Live in West end of Lancaster Suburbs

I am 5’10” tall 205 LBS fat and Beautiful

and capable of killing again without knowing it

Dec. 5, 1975 was under the stupor of amfetamines Like right know.

Well educated man in the Community, single, good job but god please chief help me I am loosing my mind help me before I kill again, the headaches kill me Every time it aches, the Drugs only Calm it temporarily.

Will god forgive me ———

Please print this Chief in the paper so I know you got it. v then I write you again, god I need a priest what have I done.

Help me please

P.S. chief sheeler my friend has confess to the killing of Lindy Sue biechler, as god is my withness Do as he asks, print this letter on the front page, I am not aware of his intentions right now but contemplating murder is not his intentions, he is mentally sick. When the letter appears, then he will turn himself in, he described the relationship he and Lindy had before he killed her. He only realizes it now when your on Drugs your not responsible for your actions. Please he is asleep now. That’s why I finished the letter. All I can tell you my friend frequents manor shopping center in the Evenings and the fields around it. Mostly weeknights. He will contact you very soon and oh when he Does please bring a Catholic priest to the police station. Janice Crum

The police decided to not share the letter with the paper as the killer requested, potentially missing an opportunity to continue communication with the possible killer. They did try to find Janice Crum, but were unable to find anyone of the name in the area.

Cold Case to Modern Marvel

The case went on to become the oldest cold case in Lancaster County. Lindy’s younger half-brother, Mike, was only 7 when he lost his sister. Though young at the time, he still remembers her to be vibrant and lively. He has said “When she was there, you wanted to be around her” and considered her to “maybe be the most beautiful person I ever knew.” In 2007, Mike even personally funded a billboard asking the public to contact police if they knew any possible information on the crime.

In 2018, another Lancaster County cold case utilized genetic genealogy to solve the 1992 murder of 25-year-old Christy Mirack. This brought hope to the surface once again for Lindy’s friends and family.

Evidence from the case which was now cold for over 40 years, was still in police possession. Even though DNA testing was not part of the legal system in 1975, all evidence was collected for possible advances in crime technology in the future. 

In September 2019, that technological advancement paid off. While the autopsy determined the victim had not been sexually assaulted, semen was found on her underwear, and two drops of blood were found on her stockings. It is believed both were deposited after her death. Genetic Genealogist CeCe Moore from Parabon NanoLabs was able to analyze the DNA and two sketches were released: one of the suspect at 25 and one at 65 years of age. From the sketches, phenotyping (the determination of specific characteristics by our DNA, such as eye color, skintone, freckles, etc) and family trees, police were reinvigorated.

Catching the Murderer of Lindy Sue Biechler

A new prime suspect was found: David Sinopoli.

Police monitored Sinopoli at the Philadelphia International Airport. As soon as he discarded a used coffee cup, they grabbed it from the trash and obtained his DNA. That DNA was an exact match to the semen and blood from the crime scene. In 1975, he lived in the same apartment complex as the LIndy Sue Biechler.

Sinopoli is currently in the Lancaster County Jail with no bond while he awaits court proceedings.


Sources: The Murder in My Family Episode 19, True Crime Diary, FOX43, NPR, LNP, LNP, PennLive

Researched by Mo from The Squonk & The Hag.

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