On April 16, 2003, 54-year-old Colonel Philip Shue left his Texas home and headed to work. Two hours later, he was found dead in his car, an apparent victim of a car crash.
The car was caved in on the driver’s side, and Philip suffered major head trauma as a result. He was killed instantly.
Right away, this case was bizarre. When police officials showed up at the scene, they discovered more than they bargained for.
Philip had a tear in his T-shirt under his fatigues. There, they could see a 6-inch vertical gash in his chest. Above the 6″ gash entrance were at least five scratch marks, which the autopsy report said were consistent with hesitant marks. Both his nipples had been removed with surgical precision. The fifth digit on his left hand had been amputated, and his left ear had been lacerated down to the bone. Duct tape was dangling from both of his wrists and the top of his boots.
The initial ruling of this bizarre incident? Suicide.
Dr. Vincent Di Maio performed the autopsy and came to this finding. He said there were traces of lidocaine – an anesthetic – in his system, which signaled to him that Philip injected it into himself so he wouldn’t feel the pain from the mutilation. He would have injected it into each nipple and in the middle of the chest.
The problem with the suicide ruling (one of many) is that 1) there were no injection marks found on his body and 2) the levels of lidocaine were not high enough to relieve pain, according to the world-renowned pathologist, Dr. Cyril Wecht, who examined the autopsy report per request by Philip’s wife, Tracy.
So, if it was murder, who wanted Philip dead?
Well, it turns out Philip’s ex-wife, Nancy Shue, had a $1 million life insurance policy on him. And you know how some people get with money – they will kill for it.
Apparently, as part of the settlement to Philip and Nancy’s divorce in 1992, she received the right to own his life insurance policies. Starting in late 1990, Philip demanded that Nancy cancel them, but of course, she refused. He even went to the insurance companies where the policies were written and told them he feared his life. But they told him that because Nancy was the owner, he could not cancel the policies. They remained in force.
Interestingly, Nancy was a board-certified sex therapist who had studied the practice of sadomasochism.
Here’s what Tracy had to say about this during her interview with Troy Roberts of “48 Hours Mystery”:
“Do you believe that your husband was tortured by someone familiar with sadomasochistic techniques?” Roberts asks.
“I believe that the injuries that he sustained are consistent with an act of sadism. And they certainly are sexual in nature,” replies Tracy.
“Forgive me,” Roberts continues, “but I have to ask this question. Did your husband have an interest in this fetish himself?”
“No, he did not,” Tracy says. “And it’s interesting that you would ask that question. Because you are actually the first person, out of the entire five-year time frame, that has ever asked me that question. And I do believe it is an appropriate question to ask.”
When Nancy was asked to take a polygraph test, she refused.
Two months after Philip died, Tracy filed a lawsuit against Nancy and the insurance companies, USAA and Northwestern Mutual, to stop Nancy from collecting the insurance money. Tracy claimed that the insurance company had been warned about the threat to Philip’s life and had a legal obligation to cancel the policies, but they did not.
Tracy’s lawyers demanded that Nancy answer their questions at the deposition, but she pleaded the Fifth, which she would do 20 more times.
Does this sound like an innocent woman to you?
Tracy believes her husband was abducted, tortured, murdered, and believes Nancy was involved somehow.
Before his death, Philip had received an anonymous letter telling him to “be careful” because this person was worried that something terrible would happen to him.
And it did.
Apparently, this letter meant nothing to law enforcement and military officials.
Two years after Philip’s death, the military issued a 20-page report called a psychological autopsy. It concluded that Philip was depressed, paranoid, and suicidal.
But Philip’s own psychiatrist, Dr. Douglas Dionne, said Philip responded well to treatment and did not believe his patient committed suicide. Dionne did say that six months before his death, Philip had a disturbing dream in which his car spiraled out of control on the way to work, and great violence was done to him.
The lead investigator on the case, Roger Anderson, never believed Philip’s death was suicide, and today, he completely supports Tracy in her efforts to bring justice for her husband.
After years of a persistent fight to have Philip’s death ruled a murder, Judge Bill Palmer changed the ruling from suicide to murder during the insurance lawsuit in 2008, five years after Philip died.
To this day, not one person has been arrested for his murder.
Sources: 48 Hours Mystery, and Facebook (images)