Indy Unsolved: Police suspect personal motive in pregnant woman’s murder 27 years ago

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Shelia Tabari was pregnant and unhappily married when she was murdered early on the morning of January 18, 1992.

Detective Roy West recalls responding to a snow covered northwest side neighborhood several hours after residents heard gunshots.

“It was a Saturday morning at 11:36 a.m. when she was found in the 2900 block of North Moreland Avenue,” he said. “She was found shot to death in the front seat of her dark gray 1987 Chevrolet Camaro. The unique thing about her car, it had a personalized plate on the front SHELIA E, and that’s how many people knew her from that vehicle.”

Tabari worked at a phone company payment center just north of downtown where coworkers remembered she had been in an argument with a man in the lobby the day before she died, but West doesn’t think that dispute had anything to do with her murder.

“The marriage isn’t going well, she’s out doing cocaine all night long, didn’t want to go back home,” said West, indicating her husband of less than a year was home with Tabari’s son while Shelia partied with friends. “She spent the night out with these particular people.”

A neighbor on the far west side told Detective West he saw Tabari pull into her apartment complex at about 4 a.m., but suddenly squeal her tires and drive away only to be followed by a car driven by her husband.

It wasn’t until 90 minutes later that residents not far from Cardinal Ritter High School heard gunshots.

“A witness reported on the morning this happened that approximately 5:30 a.m. she was up waiting on her newspaper and looked out the window,” said West, “and saw a car slowly rolling up the street towards the corner of 30th and Moreland and heard what sounded like popping sound and saw a subject get out the right passenger side of the vehicle carrying something and disappear from the area.”

West thinks whoever was in Shelia’s car knew her.

“Shelia Tabari was known to have a firearm, and that gun was never recovered. Her purse was never found,” he said. “Multiple gunshots which indicates anger.”

Detective West said he never got a satisfactory answer to his inquiries about the murder from those closest to Tabari.

West is hoping a witness is willing to come forward in the next couple weeks before he retires to reveal the clue or confession that would close this case.

If you have any information into the murder of Shelia Tabari, call Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana at (317) 262-TIPS.  You can remain anonymous and your tip could be worth a $1000 reward.

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