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Murder of Sheila Bonge by Wendell Popejoy highlighted on Fear Thy Neighbor

Sheila Bonge and Wendell Popejoy photo
Sheila Bonge was killed by her neighbor, Wendell Popejoy, as she was blowing snow into his driveway. Pic credit: Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office

The murder of Sheila Bonge by her neighbor, Wendell Popejoy, is highlighted in the latest episode of Fear Thy Neighbor on Investigation Discovery.

Bonge was reported missing by her relatives, who claimed to have last seen her on December 24, 2017, at her home in the 14000 block of 104th Avenue in Grand Haven, Michigan.

When a search and rescue team went looking for the 59-year-old on December 29, 2017, they found her nude body in a wooded area behind Popejoy’s home.

An autopsy confirmed that Bonge died from a single gunshot wound to the head.

That same day, Popejoy was taken to the police department for questioning. He initially denied having anything to do with his next-door neighbor’s murder, but hours later, he changed his story.

Popejoy asked investigators for a pen and paper and confessed to killing Bonge in writing. He stated that he and Bonge shared a driveway and they were always disputing over it.

On December 26, 2017, Popejoy said when he looked out of his kitchen window, he saw her blowing snow into the driveway and opted to put an end to it.

Popejoy grabbed a .22-caliber revolver from his home, walked outside to where Bonge was snow blowing and shot her in the back of the head, causing her to collapse to the ground.

He picked her up and put her body in a sled, then removed her clothes and burned them in a barrel before dumping her in his backyard. Popejoy said he later threw the gun over a bridge near Allendale.

Popejoy said his actions were stupid as it was a spur of the moment thing, but he doesn’t regret what it did to Bonge. He said, “I’m not really sorry she’s gone.”

Several neighbors testified that Bonge was a horrible and unpleasant neighbor. They added that she was mean to her neighbors and was socially unacceptable. One neighbor stated that Bonge would only behave that way when they got her riled up.

Police officials located several of the victim’s buttons that didn’t get destroyed in the fire, but they were unable to locate the gun.

Popejoy was convicted of first-degree murder in October 2018 and was sentenced the following month to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Fear Thy Neighbor — Games Of Homes, airs at 10/9c on Investigation Discovery.

Angelica N. Sumter is a freelance journalist who has covered true crime for more than 10 years. In addition to Monsters and Critics, her work... read more
Angelica N. Sumter

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