Friends: Barbara Sheppard threatened before murder


MISHAWAKA, Ind. – According to those who said they were close to Barbara Sheppard, the 33-year-old mother of two got a number of threatening letters from her ex-husband.

“She couldn’t believe the crazy comments that he was making towards her in these letters,” Kelvin Pullen said the letters started in May or June of this year, when Sheppard first filed for divorce.

“They were very explicit and threatening,” Pullen said Sheppard shared the letters with him and his wife so they could read them.

“Quite a few threatening remarks that he had made to her,” Pullen said, “Like I’m going to get you, you don’t know when but sooner or later.”

Sheppard was found dead outside of Low Bob’s Discount Tobacco Store near the intersection of Lincolnway East and Byrkit Avenue in Mishawaka early Friday morning.

Friends said Sheppard had only worked at the store for a few months.

“She was a very nice person, she got along with everybody,” Charlotte Brewer said she’s lived next to Sheppard for the last five years, “She was a happy go lucky lady.”

Brewer said everyone liked Sheppard, but still, she does not think this was a random attack, “If her purse and stuff was still in her car, it wasn’t no robbery.”

Her boyfriend, Jason Leyba reported her missing Thursday night when she didn’t come home from work,  early Friday morning, just after 2 a.m. Leyba found her body in the alley next to the store.

Since then, some have questioned his involvement in Sheppard’s death, “No, no, no, none whatsoever, Pullen said, “They were very much in love.”

On December 20th, Sheppard posted this message on her Facebook pages, “I’ve been divorced for a week and I’m loving it with my new man and my boys I’m happier than I’ve even been.”

Sheppard’s divorce was finalized ten days before her death, that’s when friends said she also got full custody of her two boys, just ten and three-years-old.

“Everything being so close together, I think that would in my mind put a lot of suspicions on him,” Pullen said.

According to police, Sheppard was stabbed multiple times in the neck. Both the victim’s boyfriend and ex-husband were brought in for questioning Friday morning, but no arrests were made. Later that evening police said they had no one in custody and no suspects.

“He was just so adamant about his hatred toward her that it’s just pretty hard to believe she had nothing to do with it,” Pullen said.

ABC-57 tried to contact anyone with the Mishawaka Police Department or the St. Joseph County Homicide Unit to get an update on the case, but none of those phone calls were returned.

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