Little did Michelle Cable and her son, William “Billy” Cable, know about the horrible fate that would befall them on July 5, 2004. Michelle was shot dead at point-blank range by a home invader, while William somehow escaped with severe gunshot wounds. Investigation Discovery’s ‘Your Worst Nightmare: Living In Fear’ chronicles the cold-blooded attack and follows the subsequent police investigation, which unraveled a terrifying crime fueled by rage and hatred. Let’s take a detailed look at this intriguing case and find out where the perpetrator is at present, shall we?
How Did Michelle Cable Die?
A loving human being and a valued member of society, Michelle Cable resided with her family in Grindstone, Fayette County, Pennsylvania. Described as a lively person and a wonderful mother, she shared a close bond with her children. Having estranged herself from a dangerous ex-boyfriend, Michelle was finally looking forward to life, which made her untimely death even harder to accept.
When authorities received a desperate 911 call on July 5, 2004, they rushed to the Grindstone residence to find Michelle Cable collapsed on the floor. She had a severe gunshot wound behind her ear and was bleeding profusely. A few feet away from her lay William with a bullet lodged into the back of his neck. Both victims were immediately shifted to a nearby hospital, but even after trying their best, doctors weren’t able to save Michelle, who succumbed to her wounds.
Later, an autopsy determined that Michelle had died from the bullet wound and determined the manner of death as a homicide. Back at the crime scene, officers found Larry Newman, a family friend, who was present on the scene at the time of the murder. Larry provided a detailed description of the murderer who had invaded Michelle’s residence armed with a .22 caliber semiautomatic handgun.
Who Killed Michelle Cable?
Apart from the description provided by Larry, authorities interviewed Jessica Cable, Michelle’s daughter, and learned that she was babysitting at a neighbor’s when she saw the invader approach their house. She even tried to run back and warn her family but was too late. Meanwhile, Larry stated that the invader approached him and forced him to reveal Michelle’s whereabouts. Moreover, after shooting Michelle and William without remorse, the perpetrator turned towards Larry and tried aiming at his head. However, Larry was lucky to escape with his life, and the invader bolted.
Furthermore, both Larry and Jessica confirmed that the home invader was none other than Michelle’s ex-boyfriend, James VanDivner. Based on the information and description provided by eyewitnesses, the police launched a massive manhunt which ended two days later with James VanDivner’s apprehension. The police were able to corner him in a nearby field and, upon arrest, even recovered a .22 semiautomatic pistol quite similar to the one used in the homicide. Surprisingly, Vandivner confessed almost immediately and told authorities that he was ready to take the guilty plea.
Through their investigation, the police learned that VanDivner already had a lengthy criminal record and was released from prison in March 2003 after serving a ten-year sentence for kidnapping and assaulting his estranged wife, Judith VanDivner. Moreover, authorities believed that he bore a grudge against Michelle for parting ways and thus, hunted her down before murdering her in cold blood. The evidence against VanDivner was pretty convincing, as the doctors recovered the bullet from the victim’s brain and found it to match Vandivner’s revolver, confirming it as the murder weapon. Besides, quite a few eyewitnesses saw Vandivner murder Michelle and were ready to testify at his trial.
Where Is James VanDivner Now?
Although James VanDivner had confessed to the police, he pleaded not guilty when on trial, and his defense claimed that the perpetrator was not in control of his senses while committing the murder. However, VanDivner was ultimately convicted of the first-degree murder of Michelle Cable as well as the attempted murder of her son, William. The first-degree murder charge saw him get sentenced to death, while the attempted homicide and aggravated assault charges netted him additional sentences of 20 to 40 years and 10 to 20 years, respectively.
For years, VanDivner bided his time on death row and filed multiple petitions before the Supreme court determined that he did not have proper mental capabilities since eighteen years of age. Based on this Supreme court opinion, his death penalty was overturned in 2016. Besides, in 2019, the court further decided to strike off the aggravated assault sentence but refused to vacate the punishment for attempted murder. Thus, James VanDivner is currently incarcerated at SCI Greene in Greene County, Pennsylvania.
Where Is William Cable Now?
William Cable was just eighteen when he witnessed James VanDivner murder his mother in cold blood. James then trained the gun on William and shot him in the back, leaving a bullet lodged in the back of his neck. Although William received proper care in the hospital and was lucky to escape with his life, doctors were not immediately able to remove the bullet lodged inside him.
William was quite active during VanDivner’s trial and did not hesitate to take the witness stand and testify against his mother’s ex-boyfriend. His testimony proved quite helpful and went a long way towards confirming VanDivner’s conviction. However, since then, William has chosen to lead a private life and has a limited presence on social media. That coupled with no reports on his life makes his present whereabouts pretty unclear.