FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - Ten years after a mother of two was found brutally murdered in her Fort Wayne home, the victim's family is still in search of answers.
Indiana's NewsCenter sat down with Sheila Wimes' family members and officers with the Fort Wayne Police Department to find out where the case stands today.
Sheila's brother, Dwayne Wimes, remembers the morning of April 5, 2001 well. "We were real close, and we spoke every day." So, it was a strange occurrence that her brother couldn't reach the 36-year-old mother of a 12-year-old and 16-year-old.
"I just went over there and stopped by, and the television was loud. You could hear it from outside," says Dwayne Wimes.
"He told me he was going to go in and I said wait until I get over there," says Sheila's mother, Marilyn Williams.
"I forced my way in the back door, walked up to the living room, and found her on the floor covered up," remembers Dwayne. "Someone had murdered her."
"When I saw her my legs just went weak," adds Marilyn. "I was down on the floor. I couldn't stand up."
Sheila had been strangled. A curtain cord was tied around her neck, and a curtain rod had been used to tighten it.
The family tried everything - from giving interviews to local newspapers to hanging up flyers all around town - hoping that someone would step forward with new information. A decade after the murder occurred, officials with the Fort Wayne Police Department say there are still no new leads, but that doesn't mean that the case is over.
"We do rely on people coming forward with information that they didn't share with us before," says FWPD Spokesperson Raquel Foster. "We also rely on advancements in technology - evidence that may have been collected years and years ago that wasn't processed because it couldn't be processed. Technology may exist now to process it, and we rely on that. That would generate a lead for us."
But the family thinks the Fort Wayne Police Department hasn't been looking for leads hard enough from the beginning.
"It wasn't a high profile case. It was an inner-city crime," says Dwayne Wimes. "I don't think they made a priority of it."
However, Foster says that it's always the priority of officers to get criminals off the streets. She says officers work with small, dedicated teams on each homicide in an attempt to identify and apprehend suspects. "Even if there were another homicide or significant investigation, each would receive the appropriate attention."
But one thing the family and police agree on - it's important to keep the memory of Sheila Wimes alive. Both hope that someone will see remember a detail from ten years ago and come forward. Even if the detail is seemingly insignificant, Foster says it could be a crucial link in the case.
Marilyn Williams is now suffering from kidney failure and on dialysis three times a week. She says finding closure is more important than ever. "Let Sheila rest in peace. Let us have some closure. Let us have some peace."
If you have any information on the death of Sheila Wimes or any other case, please call CrimeStoppers at 260-436-STOP. To view the story as broadcast on Indiana's NewsCenter, click on the attached video.
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