Woman Became PI to Help Solve Her Friend's Murder

The case had been cold for 20 years
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 30, 2016 1:10 PM CDT

Angie Samota was raped and murdered in Texas in 1984, when she was 20 years old. Twenty years later, her case was still unsolved when her former college roommate, Sheila Wysocki, saw a vision of Samota standing at the edge of her bed. "I know it sounds crazy," Wysocki, now 53, tells People in a new interview. The vision prompted the mom of two to take it upon herself to figure out what happened to Samota, but it took more than 750 phone calls over four years before the Dallas Police Department found the crime scene evidence it had supposedly lost. That evidence included DNA from serial rapist Donald Bess, who was ultimately convicted of her murder and received a death sentence in 2010. Police initially brushed Wysocki off, the Washington Post reports. So Wysocki became a private investigator in the hopes that police would take her more seriously.

She assumed she'd retire after Samota's murder was solved, but she ended up hearing from so many other people looking for answers in cold cases that she started her own company, Without Warning Private Investigation, and has taken on dozens of cases. In the process of helping to solve Samota's murder, Wysocki helped to clear the names of two men: Samota's friend Russell Buchanan, with whom she had gone out dancing on her last night alive, and Samota's boyfriend, at whose home Samota stopped by before heading back to her own apartment that night. Police say Bess knocked on her door asking to use her restroom and her phone after she got home, and she let him in. She was on the phone with her boyfriend when the line went dead, prompting him to rush to her place and, ultimately, call police when she didn't answer the door. Her body was found inside. Bess just lost an appeal in April. (More cold cases stories.)

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