Death by Unknown Event  By  cover art

Death by Unknown Event

By: Danielle Elliot - writer,Eliza Smith - editor,Skybound Entertainment & Kamala Films - producer
Narrated by: Pamela Adlon
Episodes
  • Sep 14 2021

    For seven years, Vancouver nurse Cindy James reported more than 100 separate incidents of harassment, ranging from threatening phone calls to home invasions to ritualistic assaults, including strangulations and stabbings. Canada’s Royal Mounted Police spent over a million dollars investigating her claims and found zero evidence of foul play, leading them to suspect she was making it all up. Then, in 1989, Cindy was found dead, bound and naked, half a mile from where her car was parked in a shopping mall. What happened to Cindy James remains one of the most bizarre and perplexing true crime stories in recent memory.

    Death by Unknown Event illuminates the enigmatic context around James’s life, the efforts and failures of law enforcement, and the lingering theories around how she died from those closest to the case.

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    1 min
  • Oct 21 2021
    Cindy James was last seen depositing a paycheck in June 1988. Nearly two weeks later, a construction worker discovered her body in a ditch beside a busy road. Police ruled her death a suicide. Her family and friends insisted that she was murdered. In the years leading to her death, Cindy reported more than 100 incidents of stalking. Now the Vancouver community was left to solve this enduring mystery: Had the stalker taken Cindy’s life? Or had there never been a stalker at all?
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    26 mins
  • Oct 21 2021
    Cindy’s stalker is becoming bolder. What started with calls and letters soon escalated into a brutal attack. The Vancouver police interrogate Cindy, and start to search for the perpetrator. At the urging of Officer Pat McBride, the police turn their attention to Cindy’s ex-husband, Roy Makepeace.
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    41 mins

Death by Unknown Event Trailer

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About the Performer

Pamela Adlon is an Emmy-winning, critically-acclaimed actor, writer, producer, and director with one of the most distinct and celebrated voices across today’s television landscape. Her current semi-autobiographical, award-winning FX comedy series, Better Things, won a 2016 Peabody Award for her raw, insightful voice and unapologetic, elevated commentary on motherhood, feminism and the complexity of modern life. She has been nominated for multiple Emmy, Golden Globe, and Writer’s Guild Awards for her work on Better Things and on FX’s hit show Louie. She is a prolific actress and voice actor with a long list of noteworthy roles on eminent TV shows, including her role as "Marcy" on Showtime’s Californication and voicing the character of "Bobby Hill" on Mike Judge’s animated series King of the Hill, for which she won the 2002 Emmy for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance. Her breadth of venerated work on and off screen makes her one of the most esteemed and well-regarded voices in entertainment.

What listeners say about Death by Unknown Event

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Thoughtfully presented

I loved the expert narration from Pamela Adlon - far better than what you get in most true crime podcasts, and I love her voice anyway (more Better Things, please).
I think this was a great example of how to do this well. A potentially salacious story, sensitively handled. Especially thoughtful with the ending, not just a 'hey guys I guess we'll never know', which is what you sometimes get (although, spoiler, the mystery is not fully solved). A fascinating and tragic story.

13 people found this helpful

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  • AK
  • 10-24-21

Very Engaging

This podcast is extremely engaging. So much so, I had a hard time not listening to it in its entirety over one sitting. The fact the case is still so much of a mystery is what really draws me in. But, the story telling and interviews are so well executed that it plays much like a audio book & keeps your attention from start to finish. Really great poddie(podcast) in my opinion, & worth the listen for sure!! 😁

10 people found this helpful

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LORD JESUS CHRIST THANK YOU. 10/16/21 Saturday

I've heard and read about this story, I always feel bad that it seems know one believed her and now she's dead, it sooooooo very sad.

Date 10/16/21 Saturday
Time 8:03pm

9 people found this helpful

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Grabs you and doesn't let go. Very recommended!

First of all, I love the narrator's voice!! She sounds a lot like Leah Remini.

Secondly, this was really great unbiased information. It seems great lengths were taken to look into any side of the story of what could have happened, and no gentle steering toward one theory being more plausible than another seemed to happen either.


Everything below is a spoiler:

*No matter what happened, whoever was responsible was both lucky & incredibly intelligent. Think about it. If it was Cindy, she's lucky she was never caught in any way. The knots in the stockings around her neck all those times, and hands, would have been done in a sufficient way to be believable that someone else did it... the hidden video cam that was blocked by the plant leaf was in her favor... and numerous other things you can see throughout the podcast. If it was her (now ex) husband, he's lucky he and/or the people he hired to do these things to her, were never caught in any way, or seen by others; and the same goes if it was some other unknown person who kept this up for years for who knows what reason. If it was the doctor, he's lucky neither Cindy nor anyone else he might have brainwashed, never was able to pin these actions on him.

*I don't think we will ever know what happened. There's some evidence to suggest she really did do this to herself. The tool in Pat's toolbox, which he'd recently cleaned, he showed to someone had obviously been used and in fact had matching wire filaments and pieces on it, and no one really had access to the box but Cindy. UNLESS some extremely intelligent person who wanted to leave that evidence behind, used his tool on purpose to cut those wires so it would be discovered and blamed on her (very very long shot.) It was also pointed out early on in the podcast, how unlikely it was someone threw a lit paper into such a small 6" crack in a window 8-9 feet off the ground and it would actually land in there and stay lighted AND actually start a fire. That is what made the one female investigator suspicious right from the start, and IMO with good reason. I don't believe she consciously did this though. If anything she was dissociating and forgetting, terrifying herself.

*Any way you look at this, it's tragic. Her sister pointed out at the end that Cindy wasn't living, she was just surviving, muddling through in fear. In that respect it doesn't even matter what the reason behind it was-- it's just a loss all around. :-( Poor Cindy. Not to mention all the man hours and money that was put into the investigation of all the events.

6 people found this helpful

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Unfortunate, narrow depiction of psychiatry

What a sad indictment of psychiatry. This very unfortunate case is used to highlight the bad or negligent behavior of a few psychiatrists. This podcast may instill more mistrust in a medical specialty that can provide relief to many, many people. Whoever wrote the story has no idea how very mentally ill and terribly self-destructive people can be.

5 people found this helpful

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Amazing Podcast

I loved it. So informative and I love that the writer, narrator, producers, whoever was involved were unbiased and had no agenda toward perpetuating conspiracy theories which I'm so tired of seeing on other platforms. It seems they just reported on the facts which is what good journalists are supposed to do.

5 people found this helpful

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simply excellent

wow!! what a nice change. Full, unbiased reporting. loved it. Will look for other works by this Team.

5 people found this helpful

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Waste of time- it’s all in her head!

The narration is good enough. The story is barely interesting, certainly not worth 12 episodes. Lots of sensational conjecture with no evidence.
Here’s a spoiler to save you the time you might waste on this non-story:

All the “abuse” was in her head. You’re welcome. There’s absolutely no evidence for anything else, but much of this program was about dangling intriguing possibilities that never pan out. No cults, no stalker, just a severely mentally ill woman. They don’t tell you this until the last episode, of course.

Waste of time!

4 people found this helpful

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huge disappointment

melodramatic in the extreme; repetitive; could have been half as long; over-and-over, theories are expounded in an interview followed by a disclaimer saying “we were unable to confirm any of this.” sloppy “journalism.” my heart goes out to the victim, Cindy James, no matter what happened to her, but this series adds nothing to what was already known nor does it serve her tragic life and death.

3 people found this helpful

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Fascinating Podcast!

This one just pulled me in and kept me listening.
Great narration and presentation.
The real life event, true crime is one of the most shocking in Canadian history.
Initially, I thought there was no way Cindy James could be capable of doing some of these things to herself. I mean come on, her body was found in a hog tie. There is no way someone could do that to themselves right?
Was she murdered or did she do this to herself?
Being somone who loves to research, I found a lot about the Cindy James case including some shocking photos.
Just listen to the podcast and let me know your thoughts.

This story was compelling,  tragic and shocking.
Triggers: Violence, Suicide, sexual assault & cults.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Laura Lee Murray
  • 11-03-21

Finally The Inside Story of This Strange Case

I absolutely loved every minute of this audible. To hear from those who where part of the case or family and friends of Cindy was very insightful. The most off putting thing about this is detective Halidays comments about Cindy saying degrading comments about her appearance and yet also saying she was suffering mental health crisis. The two don't sound great to me and her pretty looks should have nothing to do with a case.

Highly recommended

8 people found this helpful

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  • Storm
  • 10-29-21

Chilling case, compelling listen

I'm very familiar with this case - I even based one of my own novellas (Faces of Darkness) on it. But all the other podcasts I've heard covering the case have done so in the space of, at most, an hour long episode. Death By Unknown Event dives DEEP, not padding out episodes with fluff, but including interviews with actual witnesses and friends of Cindy James, the unfortunate victim.
The case itself is completely weird - was she doing it all to herself? What about her bizarre accusations against her husband and their boat trip? THAT answerphone message....I mean, if you are interested at all in true crime, Cindy James's death will draw you in and have you thinking about it - about her - for a long, long time.
I would suggest this podcast is the perfect place to start. The narration is good, the production - with the music and interviews - is very professional but never overdone and, from what I've heard so far, they're treating the whole thing with the respect it deserves. Despite the fact I DO know a lot about it, I still find myself completely hooked on listening to this, it's superb.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Forestwalker
  • 11-02-21

Gripping account

I enjoyed this fascinating account of an unusual unexplained death, but it was spoiled by the strangely intrusive and inappropriate (and frankly, unneccesary) background music. An odd choice.

6 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Sarah
  • 11-01-21

Could have been 4 episodes

I listened to it all. It was fine, got a bit boring and repetitive in parts. Was an interesting case though and the narrator was good.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Nguyen Minh Chau
  • 10-26-21

Great narration!

Just a great audiobook from Audible. Nothing to add more. The storyline leads the audience through a complicated journey involving different perspectives. The main narrator shows empathy to the victim to some extent.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Fantasy reader
  • 11-14-21

Loved it!

Couldn’t stop listening. I’ve never heard of this case before and it’s fascinating. Definitely could see that it could be a murder or a suicide. There’s compelling evidence for both sides.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Patrick O'Donnell
  • 10-29-21

Open Ended

Between the first and last chapter we learn quite a bit about what happened to Cindy but are none the wiser about WHAT happened to Cindy.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Monique Styles
  • 01-25-23

Very well structured and read

Enjoyed this immensely. Very well read and put together. And balanced discussions around mental health views in the ‘80’s

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  • Ms. Deborah Klayman
  • 08-20-22

Interesting overall , but light on facts

Overall this was a very interesting podcast, up to the final episode where there are some really tenous suggestions about what happened, such as attempting to link two occurrences without a shred of evidence (other than citing Reddit feeds) yet giving it a similar weight to mental health diagnoses discussed at great length. Last episode ruined it for me really.

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  • Ian Dawson
  • 06-22-22

Awful,

Really terrible series. Dragged out over exaggerated sensationalised drivel. At times irresponsible. I only listened to the whole series so I could say how bad it was having given it a fair chance. Avoid!