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Vancouver cold case files: Murder in Mole Hill

In 1996, a Vancouver woman who had beaten cancer and was prepping to move into a new apartment was killed by an unknown assailant delivering fatal blows to her head and larynx.

Muriel Lindsay, 40, had recently beaten cancer and was about to move into a new apartment overlooking Vancouver’s English Bay. But before she could finish packing, she was found beaten to death in her room in a West End boarding house.

Muriel grew up with her brother Kent in the exclusive British Properties area of West Vancouver. Her father, Eric Lindsay, was a celebrity photographer with the Vancouver Sun and her mother, Marjorie, stayed home to look after the family. When Muriel was 12, Eric took a job with CBC’s The National and the family moved to Toronto. Soon after they separated, Marjorie and Kent moved back to Vancouver, and Muriel’s mental health started to unravel.

Muriel eventually followed her mother back to B.C., and in 1983, moved into a room in a heritage house on Comox Street in the West End’s Mole Hill. She stayed there for the next 13 years.

In the months before her death, Muriel received bizarre anonymous letters. One of her much-loved cats was taken and a note was slipped under her door saying she owed a vet bill. Magazines and newspaper subscriptions were taken out in her name using her credit card, and someone had made a donation to the United Way in her name.

Muriel was also receiving strange letters and was disturbed enough by them to have all her mail forwarded to her mother’s apartment in West Vancouver. She told her father that she was being harassed by two men who lived in her rooming house.

Eric Lindsay thought Muriel was being stalked.

On February 16, 1996, Muriel finished her shift at the Canada Post building on West Georgia Street at 11 p.m. As they did most nights, Muriel and a co-worker walked through downtown Vancouver to their homes in the West End. The two parted company when they reached Muriel’s house.

Muriel and her mother spoke on the phone every day, so when Marjorie repeatedly failed to reach her daughter, she started to worry. She and a friend drove to Muriel’s place the next day. They got a key to her apartment from the landlady and found her body. She had died sometime in the early hours of the morning, Muriel died from blows to her head and larynx.

Muriel was not the only member of her family to suffer a violent death. In 1914, her great-grandfather Richard Levis, a 28-year-old Vancouver police officer, was shot and killed while hunting down a criminal known as “Mickey the Dago.” His wife Estelle was left to raise their three children—Cyril, Carroll and May (Muriel’s grandmother)—all under the age of five. Estelle was hired as a matron in the women’s division of the Vancouver Police Department and worked there until 1919.

If you have any information about Muriel Lindsay’s murder, please call the Vancouver Police Department at 604-717-3321, or if you wish to remain anonymous, call crime stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or visit the website solvecrime.ca

Eve Lazarus is a reporter and author, and she hosts and produces the Cold Case Canada true crime podcast. Her books include the B.C. bestsellers Murder by Milkshake; Blood, Sweat, and Fear; Cold Case Vancouver and Vancouver Exposed: Searching for the City’s Hidden History. She blogs at Every Place has a Story