When James Sheaffer went missing on April 3, 2013, no one would have thought his neighbor, 41-year-old mother of two Angela Stoldt, was responsible for his disappearance. And they certainly would not have predicted that she was the one who stabbed, strangled and then dismembered the 36-year-old limousine driver.
Angela Stoldt was born in 1972 in Bangkok, Thailand, to a military family. As many military familes do, Angela, her older sister and her parents lived all over the world as she grew up. Angela also suffered from a thyroid condition from birth.
A psychologist told "Snapped," “Individuals with hyperthyroidism, particularly no thyroid which is what she reported, um, they are prone to higher levels of anxiety, and also prone to higher levels of depression.
During her short time in each city her family lived, she struggled with making friends. Her father retired from the military when Angela was in her teens, and the family settled down in Deltona, Florida. Despite finally having some consistency in her life, she continued to struggle socially.
Angela met a boy three years older than her, dropped out of school in 9th grade and moved in with him. Soon they married, but divorced a few years later.
A reporter told "Snapped," “She got married at a very young age. [...] It was a very volatile relationship.”
Angela then married another man at age 20 and had her first child. But by the time she was 23, she was a divorced single mother. She badly needed support and found it in yet another man, marrying him at 25. They had a daughter together. Angela was very happy being a mom to her two children and being financially supported by her new husband.
They soon moved to a new neighborhood, and Angela went about trying to make new friends. During this time, she met a neighbor named James Sheaffer.
James Sheaffer was a limo driver originally from the Philadelphia area. James was well respected in his work and had been in a 17-year relationship with his girlfriend. They had three children together, and his girlfriend had another child of her own, whom James had helped to raise.
James and his family lived across the street from Angela, and their children played together often. Angela usually stayed up late at night, and James worked evening hours. So, the two would hang out together often.
A prosecutor told "Snapped," “He would go over there after work. They would have drinks.”
Around this time, Angela's marriage began crumbling, and her husband became aggressive.
A reporter told "Snapped," “Family members say that he became violent towards Angela.”
And in 2011, her husband walked out on the family. His whereabouts were completely unknown. Angela didn’t search for him. She was actually happy to be without him, despite the the fact that the 39-year old was once again a single mom with no financial support.
She asked her family for help, and she lived off social security checks for her medical issues. James also employed her a bit to help with bookkeeping.
The reporter told "Snapped," “James and Angela’s relationship, it was platonic.”
Then in April of 2013, James disappeared. His parents reported him missing on April 4, 2013. He apparently vanished after work on April 3.
The prosecutor in the case told "Snapped," “Mr. Sheaffer had a limo job, he, ah, drove to Kissimmee, picked up a group of people, takes them over to Tampa, then takes them back.”
Then, he vanished. Investigators questioned his girlfriend, who had not heard from him except for one unusual text that said, “I don’t know when you’re gonna see me.”
While a detective questioned the family, another spoke to the neighbors. Investigators soon learned that Angela was a payee on his social security account. It turned out that James had a disability check for $1,200 a month for depression.
A former investigator said, “And the family, for various reasons, didn’t have a bank account where his check could go into, his Social Security check.”
So, Angela handled his finances and received his checks and gave him the money for a small fee, $100 per month. But, she didn’t know where he had gone and hadn’t seen him in a few days.
James also seemed to owe money to his landlord, the water company and his bookie. He gambled more money than he could borrow or make, he bounced checks and he constantly overdrew his account, using all of the social security income.
His girlfriend didn’t seem to know about his massive debts, but maybe his friends did. Texts to his friends showed he might have been on the run.
The prosecutor told "Snapped," “Saying that he was being followed, that people were after him, that he was going to slip off the radar for a short period of time and that he would make contact again, later when it was safe.“
Law enforcement attempted to track his phone, but the technology wasn’t exact enough to pinpoint him. His records on different cell towers supported the theory he may have been on the run.
Detectives returned to Angela a few days later to see if perhaps she was hiding him or protecting him. She denied knowing his whereabouts, but showed them a text from his phone saying he was being chased by other people. Angela allowed police to do a walkthrough of her home, and while there was no sign of James, the home was notably messy.
An investigator noted this in "Snapped," saying, “Probably one of the worse houses I had ever seen. Dirty, filthy, trash everywhere.”
Investigators brought her to the station for a formal interview. As soon as Angela was questioned, she changed her story.
The prosecutor on the case said, “Initially she told law enforcement she hadn’t seen Mr. Sheaffer. That changed into, 'Okay, I did see him.'"
She reportedly had seen him the day he went missing and had met him by a bank so he could give her $150 to cover an overdraft of their joint account. Angela said someone had driven James there, but she didn’t recognize the driver. Then she said she had seen James one more time, on her porch later that evening. She claimed James was hurried and asked for money. Again, someone was with him. Angela said she told him the police were looking for him.
Angela told investigators, “He said that people were looking for him, that the, they used the police to find him, and I don’t understand that.”
After Angela told this to investigators, the texts from James stopped. Two and a half weeks since James went missing, Angela’s sister called 911. Angela was reportedly unstable and making threats against her own life.
The prosecutor in the case explained the law in this situation to "Snapped": “If the police reasonably believe that a person may be a threat to themselves or to others, we can take them into our custody, for a period of 72 hours.”
When the police arrived, Angela said she wanted to speak with the investigators of James’ disappearance case.
The investigator remembered, “She was extremely disheveled. Obviously completely upset, looked like she’d been crying, clearly a woman that had done some soul searching and was going through an emotional crisis.”
When she was read her Miranda Rights, however, Angela asked for a lawyer and said she no longer wanted to talk.
But before she did, Angela told the investigator, “You guys should have stopped me. You could have ended this before it got to this point.”
She was then taken to a mental health facility. But only hours later, Angela changed her mind and made a statement to police:
Investigator: “I asked you if you understood your rights, and you said that you wished to speak with me without the attorney. Do you still wish to talk to me?”
Angela: “I feel like I’m hanging myself.”
Investigator: “Well, what you’re doing is telling me the truth.”
Finally, Angela admitted that she had picked up James the night of the disappearance. She said she had picked him up after work around 3 AM with no lights on the car. James had wanted more money and was asking Angela to ask her dying father for help.
Angela told investigators, “He’s like, ‘Hmm, $4,000. Well, he’s got it I’m sure.’ ‘I’ll ask.’ He was like, ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you.’ You know?”
She said she had no intention of asking her father and was fed up with James and his money problems, constantly overdrawing the joint account and forcing her to pay fees.
She said, “At that point, I was so fed up with his lies and his bullshit.”
Angela and James went back to her place and had a few drinks.
The Orlando Sentinel reported that Angela “served Sheaffer a cocktail of vodka and peach schnapps, laced with her father's prescription drugs. The muscle relaxer made him drowsy and confused.”
Then around 5 AM, Angela told him she was taking him to her dad's house to ask for a loan, but she drove him to the edge of town to a cemetery and told him the loan wasn’t going to happen:
Angela: "He lied to me so many, many times."
Investigator: "Right. So, you wanted to turn the tables and lie to him."
Angela: "I just wanted to lie to his face and see how he felt. And that’s when I turned to him. I said, 'How’s it feel to be lied to, Jimmy?'”
Investigator: "And his reaction?"
Angela: "His reaction, 'What the fuck?' and then I tell him, I said, 'My dad’s not gonna give you any money. I’m not gonna give you any more money. And I’m going to turn off the check cashing advance.'”
Angela: "He’s yelling at me at this point. I don’t know. It just went so bad."
Angela: "He said he was gonna kill me."
Angela: “'I’m gonna fucking kill you.' And I took him seriously. I don’t — fear took over."
Angela grabbed the closest thing to her, an ice pick and stabbed James in the eye.
Angela told police, “And then, I don’t know how deep it was. I don’t even know if it was that deep.”
Angela also said he kept coming at her, saying, “God dammit, I trusted you. And I need that money because our whole family’s gonna be kicked out. Don’t you, fucking care that my children are gonna be homeless and...?”
Then she grabbed the next thing she saw — a length of rope — and strangled him. The Sentinel reported that she "pierced him in the other eye moments after his last breath."
Angela said she realized she had to make the body disappear. So, she took him back to her garage and cut him up with a hacksaw.
“I was gonna try to cook it to ash,” she said.
She had tried to cremate his entire body in her oven, but she had difficulty.
The investigator remembered her saying, “If you had come into my house that very first day, you would have seen that his head was in a pot on the stove. [...] If you would’ve walked just a little bit further towards my house, you would have smelled it.”
The Orlando Sentinel reported, “Stoldt's house in Deltona smelled of burning flesh, but she assured her daughter it was just a rat broiling in the oven.”
She put the remains in garbage bags and told her teenage son she had hit a deer and asked him to help her throw the heavy bags out. Then, Angela used James’ phone to send text messages and make very short calls to make it seem like James was alive and on the run.
Police then had Angela take them to the body. They found the garbage bags ripped open by animals and dumped at an illegal dumping ground by the cemetery where she killed James.
At trial, the prosecution presented Angela as a gruesome killer motivated by money.
The prosecutor remarked, “She had her own financial struggles. Every day appeared to be a financial struggle for Angela Stoldt, and I think that James Sheaffer’s banking activities made things worse for her.”
They said the routine overdraft fees and questioning from social security outraged Angela to the point of murder.
The prosecution also had a very powerful witness in the case, Angela’s own sister.
Her sister had initially called 911, claiming that Angela was suicidal.
However, there was more to her story on the stand.
Her sister testified that two weeks after James disappeared, Angela assembled her family at her parents home and told them what she had done.
Angela claimed she sedated James and said “When he was completely out, I strangled him.”
She had put an icepick in his eye afterwards to ensure he was dead.
The News Journal Online quoted the prosecutor, reporting, “You’ll hear that when he stopped moving that she pulled the ice pick out of his eye, and she jammed it in his other one just to be sure, her words not mine.”
After he was dead, Angela wrapped his head in plastic that she had purchased at Walmart with some rubber gloves the same day as the murder, reported The News Journal Online. The prosecution also reminded the jury that Angela had used her two children to discard of James’ body, telling them it was a deer carcass.
According to The News Journal Online, the medical examiner on the case testified that “among the things recovered was a soup pot containing Sheaffer’s thigh bone, knee cap and some soft tissue.”
When Angela’s sister called 911, she said that Angela was hugging her children and saying goodbye.
The 911 dispatcher had asked why, and her sister replied, “Because she came to the house and she told my parents that she committed a crime and that she’s being investigated for it.”
The defense strategy was to show that Angela acted in self-defense. They claimed her confession to her family was useless, as she was admitted to a mental health facility shortly after.
A psychologist told "Snapped," “She was emotionally distraught, she was so vulnerable, she hadn’t slept in days.”
Angela had panicked after killing James and had tried to cut up the body.
A prosecutor told "Snapped," “Just because she did those terrible things to the body, okay maybe that’s abuse of a dead body, maybe it was tampering, but that doesn’t make it murder.”
Angela’s self-defense case depended on her own testimony, and it didn’t go well.
The prosecutor recalled, “I mention, ‘When you’re going out there and telling the police that no you haven’t seen him you knew full well that he was cooking in your kitchen,’ and her response was, ‘No, no I wasn’t cooking him, I had turned the stove off.’”
She continued to talk about how the head wouldn’t fit in the pot with the ice pick still in it, so she had to pull it out.
The verdict came back on December 5, 2014. After a mere three hours, Angela was found guilty of first-degree murder, abuse of a dead body and tampering with evidence.
According to NBC New York, Angela was sentenced to life. She was 42 years old when she was sentenced.
An investigator on the case told "Snapped," “We didn’t have any suspicion that she was responsible for any harm to Jimmy until she told us that she had killed and dismembered him."
James’ head was never found.
[Photo: Volusia County Branch Jail]
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