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New Evidence Helps Authorities Charge Man With Killing Banker’s Wife More Than 50 Years Ago
Arthur Massei once told authorities an organized crime associate requested that he kill Natalie Scheublin back in 1971, but he declined the offer.
A 50-year-old mystery may finally be solved after authorities arrested a man for the “brutal murder” of a Massachusetts woman, officials say.
Natalie Scheublin, 54, was found dead in the basement of her Bedford home on June 10, 1971, according to a joint announcement from the Middlesex District Attorney’s office and Bedford Police Chief Ken Fong. Now, more than 50 years later, a decades-old fingerprint and new witness testimony from a bank fraudster have helped authorities identify Arthur Louis Massei as a suspect in the case.
Massei, now 76, was indicted on Tuesday on charges of first-degree murder by a Middlesex County grand jury.
“More than half a century ago, Natalie Scheublin, a wife and mother, was violently murdered in her own home,” said District Attorney Marian Ryan. “Today, we were able to tell her son and daughter that we were finally able to take the first step in holding the alleged perpetrator accountable for her death.”
Natalie Scheublin’s husband, Raymond Scheublin, found his wife’s body in the early evening hours after coming home from work. She was face-down in the basement with a makeshift gag around her neck and a binding around her ankles, according to the announcement. Authorities responded to the scene just minutes after Raymond contacted them and determined she’d only been dead a short time.
A post-mortem examination revealed Natalie was stabbed multiple times with a knife and “struck with an unidentified object, causing a massive blunt force injury to her head.”
Officials had little to work with at the time. Their most significant lead came from Natalie’s 1969 Chevrolet Impala, the only thing with any considerable value missing from the home. The vehicle was recovered hours after the murder in the parking lot of a local VA Hospital less than half a mile from the Scheublin home.
“Although the car appeared to have been intentionally wiped down to remove fingerprints, police were able to observe and collect several latent fingerprints from it,” stated the district attorney’s office. “Including one from the right rear window. Police at the time followed several leads, but a suspect was not identified at that time.”
If there were any suspects or leads in the decades that followed, they remained unknown to the shaken community. Children were made to come home before dark and kept away from the six o’clock news, according to a 2011 article from Boston’s Wicked Local news site.
“It was such a strange crime, and there was the feeling that this couldn’t happen, not in Bedford,” said one neighbor. “I went to school with her daughter, and the Scheublins were a very nice family.”
The case was reexamined in 1999 when troopers with the Massachusetts State Police utilized the then-new Automated Fingerprint Identification System (known as AFIS) with the FBI. The computerized database matched a thumbprint to Massei, a Salem man who’d be interviewed several times over the course of the investigation.
Massei initially denied knowing anything about the murder but then claimed he was “solicited by an organized crime associate” to murder the wife of Raymond Scheublin before staging the crime scene to look like a break-in.
Raymond Scheublin was the president of the Lexington Trust Bank.
“Massei said that he had been told that the banker was friendly with members of the Winter Hill criminal organization,” prosecutors wrote, according to the Boston Globe, citing court records referring to a 2005 interview with Massei. “Massei claimed he had been offered a large sum of money to carry out the murder, but that he declined to participate.”
Massei told authorities his late cousin carried out the murder instead.
Prosecutors do not believe Raymond Scheublin was involved in a plot to have his wife murdered, according to the announcement.
The case began heating up once more in 2019 with the creation of the Cold Case Unit under District Attorney Marian Ryan’s administration. Throughout 2020 and 2021, State Police troopers and Bedford Police detectives sifted through Massei’s past and identified a woman who admitted to helping Massei defraud banks in the 1990s.
“She revealed that Massei habitually carried a knife and had bragged to her about having killed someone with a knife,” according to the district attorney’s office.
The woman’s statement, coupled with “other facts of the case,” led to Tuesday’s decision to charge Massei with Natalie Scheublin’s murder.
Local reports say Massei has a lengthy criminal history, including convictions for armed robbery, financial crimes, and assault and battery against corrections officers, according to the Globe.
Raymond Scheublin died during the course of the investigation. His and Natalie’s children, now in their 70s, watched Massei’s arraignment remotely.
“I’m hopeful that the arrest in this case will provide some closure and sense of justice for Natalie Scheublin’s family, as well as assurance to all in our community who were shocked by this brutal crime,” said Bedford Chief Ken Fong.
Arthur Massei pleaded not guilty on Wednesday, according to the Globe. He is currently being held without bail.