Man Arrested in Connection with 1971 Murder of Natalie Scheublin in Bedford

Natalie Scheublin
Natalie Scheublin

BEDFORD – Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan and Bedford Chief of Police Ken Fong have announced that after more than 50 years, a man has been charged in connection with the murder of Natalie Scheublin, a 54-year-old woman who was brutally murdered in her home on June 10, 1971.  Arthur Louis Massei has been charged in connection with allegedly tying up Natalie Scheublin, stabbing her multiple times and then striking her in the head causing her death.

Today, a Middlesex Grand Jury indicted Massei, 76 of Salem, MA, on the charge of first-degree murder. He was subsequently arrested at his residence and is expected to be arraigned tomorrow in Middlesex Superior Court in Woburn.

“More than half a century ago, Natalie Scheublin, a wife and mother, was violently murdered in her own home,” said District Attorney Ryan. “Today, we were able to tell her son and daughter that we were finally able to take the first step in holding the alleged perpetrator accountable for her death.  This situation is exactly what we envisioned when we created our Cold Case Unit in 2019.  In this case, our prosecutors, Massachusetts State Police troopers and Bedford Police detectives pored over old documents and developed information to reach this result.  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.”

“I’m hopeful that the arrest in this case will provide some closure and sense of justice for Natalie Scheublin's family, as well as assurance to all in our community who were shocked by this brutal crime,” Chief Fong said. “I want to thank all the investigators whose determination and perseverance made this moment possible, from those who responded to the Scheublin’s 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.”

In the early evening of Thursday, June 10, 1971, Raymond Scheublin, the President of the Lexington Trust Bank, returned from work to find the body of his wife, Natalie Scheublin, in the basement of their Bedford home.  She was face down on the floor, her ankles bound and a makeshift gag tied around her neck.  Mr. Scheublin immediately contacted the Bedford Police Department, whose officers arrived within minutes. Based on the state of her body it appeared that Mrs. Scheublin had only been dead for a short time.  An autopsy subsequently determined that Mrs. Scheublin had been stabbed with a knife multiple times and struck with an unidentified object, causing a massive blunt force injury to her head. 

The investigation revealed that nothing of significant value was missing, but that Mrs. Scheublin’s automobile, a blue and white 1969 Chevrolet Impala, had been taken.  Police immediately canvassed the area, interviewed neighbors and looked for the missing vehicle.  At 8:42 PM, police located the Impala in the parking lot of the nearby Veteran’s Administration Hospital, less than half a mile away from the murder scene.  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.  Police at the time followed several leads, but a suspect was not identified at that time.   

In 1999, fingerprint examiners from the Massachusetts State Police used a new tool, the FBI’s Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS), to attempt to identify the fingerprint found on the Impala and the other latent fingerprints found at the crime scene.  Through AFIS, they were able to identify the defendant as a candidate to review.  Subsequent analysis of that print by a State Police fingerprint expert confirmed that the latent print recovered from the victim’s vehicle matched the defendant’s left thumb.  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.

In 2019, the Cold Case Unit created by District Attorney Ryan refocused on this case. 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.

This case was investigated by the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office Cold Case Unit, Massachusetts State Police Detectives assigned to the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office, and Bedford Police Department detectives, with assistance from the Massachusetts State Police Violent Fugitive Apprehension Section, Massachusetts State Police Detectives assigned to the Essex District Attorney’s Office, Salem, MA Police, and Massachusetts State Police Crime Scene Services.  The prosecutors assigned to this case are Assistant District Attorneys David Solet and Jamie Charles.