Where is John McCabe’s Family Now?

It was September 26, 1969, when 15-year-old John Joseph McCabe left his Tewksbury, Massachusetts, home to attend a dance at the local Knights of Columbus Hall, only to never return. Unfortunately, that’s because he’d been brutally murdered — as explored in CBS’ ’48 Hours: The Pact,’ he’d died of strangulation before his tied-up body was left behind in a vacant dirt lot in the neighboring city of Lowell. Though if we’re being honest, arguably the worst aspect of this entire matter is the fact his loving family then had to wait over four decades for at least some sense of justice to be served.

John McCabe’s Murder Impacted His Loved Ones A Lot

Since John was born in March 1954 to school librarian Evelyn Spellman and career engineer William “Bill” McCabe as their only boy yet second child of three, he grew up surrounded by love. In fact, his elder sister Deborah as well as younger sister Roberta still remember him as the adorable yet typically annoying brother who not only treasured pranking them but also seemingly had a passion for wild animals. “It was pretty interesting. You open the closet door, and your closet’s filled with grasshoppers,” the former recalled in the episode with a laugh, to which the latter added his hands were always either dirty with grease or carrying animals like a frog or a goose home.

As for their mother, Evelyn, who’d witnessed her son getting ready on the fateful evening, it is sadly the loss that she remembered more in her old age since she’d always thought he’d be a big shot somewhere, someday. So, with every possibility snatched away from her in 1969, she held on to any reminder of him, including some cash he’d left behind in his room — “I have John’s money,” she conceded in ’48 Hours.’ “I — I can’t spend it. Every now — every now and then I [take it out]– the smell’s gone off of it now. I almost put it in the casket with him. And then I thought, ‘No, I’ll just keep it with me. And when I see him again, I’ll give it to him.'”

The fact Evelyn had heard details of how John had been found on the morning of September 27 by three young kids while officials were relaying the same to her husband, Bill, haunted her too. In fact, there were times she admittedly attempted “to strangle myself just to visualize what it felt like. I wondered … ‘Did he call for me? What kind of a mother was I?’ I wasn’t there for him.” Coming to Bill, although it took him some time, he eventually turned his pain as well as grief into determination and began writing his son’s story in his own words, all the while consistently pushing authorities to find the much-needed answers of who and why.

John McCabe’s Parents Have Since Sadly Passed

It was actually Bill’s perseverance that drove officials to reexamine John’s case in the late 2000s, which then led to the arrests of Edward Brown, Michael Ferreira, and Walter Shelley in April 2011, following the former’s confession. However, it took two more years for the accused to face trial, just for Michael to be acquitted on January 25, 2013, despite Edward’s testimony of how the two other men had convinced him to tag along to hurt the teen over the affections of a then 12-year-old girl.

The heartbreak of this whole ordeal, combined with the stress of the public trials, had apparently become too much for Bill as he unfortunately passed away at at Lowell General-Saint’s Campus from complications of a heart attack four days later — he was 85 at the time. Though it’s imperative to note Walter was convicted around seven months later, bringing relief to Evelyn, Deborah, Roberta, plus all their relatives, long before the former then sadly passed around three years later — she died at home on August 12, 2016, surrounded by loved ones at the age of 84.

John McCabe’s Sisters Now Have Big Families of Their Own

According to reports, following Evelyn and Bill’s demise, their daughters continued pursuing the $10 million wrongful death lawsuit the family had filed against all three accused men, but it seems like it went nowhere — the last public update regarding the same was in 2016. Therefore, today, from what we can tell, it appears as if Deborah and Roberta are simply trying their best to move on from the past with the family they themselves have created over the years, all the while keeping those they lost alive in their hearts.

We should also mention that while Deborah now goes by Deborah McCabe-Atamanchuk and is based in Merrimack, New Hampshire, Roberta is Roberta McCabe-Donovan of Dracut, Massachusetts. The Bite Me Kupcakez owner plus McCabe & Company co-owner are both also glad to still be surrounded by their respective husbands, Stephen and David, alongside their adult children as well as a handful of grandchildren, making them feel fulfilled at every step of the way in life.

Read More: Walter Shelley: Where is John McCabe’s Killer Now?