Law enforcement authorities announced Tuesday they have arrested a man for the murder of a Pine Hill Road resident in her home more than 50 years ago.
Arthur L. Massei, 76, of Salem, is being charged with first-degree murder, according to Interim Police Chief Ken Fong and Middlesex District Atty. Marian Ryan, who held a joint press conference Tuesday afternoon. Massei is expected to be arraigned Wednesday in Woburn Superior Court.
Police say Massei bludgeoned 55-year-old Natalie Scheublin to death in her home on June 10, 1971. She was the wife of Raymond Scheublin, who discovered her body in the basement. Mr. Scheublin was a bank president in Lexington at the time. He died in 2011. The couple had two children, one of whom is now a grandmother.
According to a detailed announcement from the DA’s office, advances in technology and dogged investigative work resulted in the arrest.
It began with the discovery right after the murder of the victim’s car, in a far corner of a VA Hospital parking area. “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, including one from the right rear window.”
Almost three decades passed. “In 1999, fingerprint examiners from the Massachusetts State Police used a new tool, the FBI’s Automated Fingerprint Identification System…Through AFIS, they were able to identify the defendant as a candidate to review.” Police interviewed the defendant, “who denied ever having been in Bedford or having any knowledge of the murder.”
“Over the course of the investigation of the case, the defendant was interviewed again, at which time he allegedly claimed that he had been solicited by an organized crime associate to murder the wife of a banker and to make the murder look like a break-in. He claimed that he had refused the solicitation. Investigators found no corroborating evidence that Mr. Scheublin was involved in a plot to kill his wife.”
The DA’s office said her new cold-case unit “refocused on this case” in 2019. “Throughout 2020 and 2021, Massachusetts State Police troopers and Bedford Police detectives carefully examined the case, gathering information about the defendant’s past in an effort to identify new witnesses.”
“During the course of this wide-ranging investigation, they identified a woman who admitted that she had been involved with Massei in schemes to 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. That information, along with the other facts of the case, was presented to the Middlesex County Grand Jury, which returned an indictment of the defendant for the charge of murder today.”
“Our prosecutors, Massachusetts State Police troopers and Bedford Police detectives pored over old documents and developed information to reach this result,” Ryan announced. “This indictment is the culmination of years of investigative work and I am truly grateful to all of our law enforcement partners who worked tirelessly to ensure that we could get to this day and provide some answers to Natalie’s grieving family.”
Chief Fong, a retired Boston police captain who was named a month ago as interim replacement for former Chief Robert Bongiorno, stated, “I want to thank all the investigators whose determination and perseverance made this moment possible, from those who responded to the Scheublin home that day more than 50 years ago, to everyone along the way who has pursued leads and ultimately identified the suspect we arrested today.”
According to an account by a Bedford-based reporter at the time, the nearby VA Hospital “figured prominently in the case due to the fact that four patients were missing during the time of the murder.”
They were soon exonerated. But “the hospital has borne the brunt of adverse publicity.” Indeed, the headline in The Lowell Sun read, “Seek four VA patients in Bedford murder.”
More than 10 years ago then-Middlesex District Attorney Gerald Leone told a reporter that authorities were “conducting an active investigation and following new leads that have been developed.”
Mike Rosenberg can be reached at [email protected], or 781-983-1763
Wow great job I remember that murder Bedford lost its innocence that day! I really thought it would never be solved and I am glad at least her family finally has some closure Gob bless……