Dr. John Boyle… a murderer and me

As I was trying to decide between Motrin and  something stronger,  I recalled my strange encounter with Mansfield, Ohio physician-turned-murderer, Dr. John Boyle.

My back was killing me on the flight home from Boca, just like it was during the winter of ’89 when I met the esteemed doctor.  I was moving from my tiny apartment in Lexington to my boyfriend’s duplex when I lifted something heavy and felt my back give way.  Days turned to weeks and it never really got better.

One blustery morning with pain and tingling I could no longer bear, I recalled the osteopathic physician who was known for successfully treating back problems.  We were lucky to get an appointment the very same day, especially since it was Friday.

Seated in the waiting room, other patients began to arrive, most of them in much worse shape than me.  A lady being pushed in a wheelchair breathing oxygen from a tank was told that Dr. Boyle had to leave unexpectedly, and she would need to reschedule.  Another patient, a man too pale and too thin to be turned away, said he needed a refill for his medication.  The receptionist dismissed him, too, and said he should come back Monday.

As I got up to ask the receptionist if I should reschedule, John Boyle opened the door to a short hallway and asked me to come right in.  Dressed in khaki pants and dock shoes with a touch of gray hair, he wore a Catawba Island Club sweatshirt bearing the prestigious insignia.  His reputation for being handsome was fitting.

My boyfriend, Sam, still seated in his chair as I got up to go in, was fuming.  He, too, was handsome and charming, and overprotective where I was concerned.  I could tell by the look on his face that he did not approve of John Boyle and was puzzled by any doctor who would turn away one sick person after another and still have time to spend with me.  His attire suggested he was  heading north to the private Lake Erie yacht club for the weekend, leaving little time to care for his patients.

He was flirtatious and charming, no wonder people adored him.  As I expected, he was an expert at diagnosing and treating back problems, and wrote me prescriptions for muscle relaxants, X-rays, and a round of physical therapy.  He was more talkative than most doctors, not being in a hurry to see the next patient since there wasn’t one.  He spent nearly an hour, mostly just chatting.  I know this because Sam was still in the waiting room logging every minute.

Leaving the office, I held my ground.  “He was very professional.  You can’t fault a man for taking his work seriously.”  But Sam said, ”Something is wrong with this picture, he spent too much time with you.  I have a bad feeling about Dr. John Boyle and we’re not coming back.”  We filled the script, end of discussion.  Sam always was a good judge of character.

Comfortable enough to travel a few days after my appointment, I took a muscle relaxant as we headed up I-71 toward Pittsburgh to visit Sam’s dad.  It was a clear day in January, and I looked forward to the ride.  We were nearing the Ohio/PA line when the radio announcer interrupted the programming with a breaking story.  A Mansfield physician was just taken into custody for the alleged murder of his wife.

Noreen Boyle had recently filed for divorce. She was found buried in the concrete basement floor of an Erie, Pennsylvania home, the one Boyle was building to share with his pregnant, much younger girlfriend.  Receipts for all the grizzly supplies necessary for carrying out the murder–  a rented jackhammer, concrete mix, and two pieces of green indoor-outdoor carpeting that lay over the burial site, all showed transactions with local Mansfield vendors.

Sam had too much class to say, “I told you so.”  I knew he was just as shaken as I was to hear these accusations against the man I had been alone with just a few days before.

The drama played out on local TV and is still, to this day, called the trial of the century.  The lead witness was Boyle’s 12-year-old son, Collier, who testified about a series of bumps and a thud he heard in the night.  It was New Years Eve the night be bludgeoned Noreen to death.  When their mom wasn’t at breakfast the next morning, he told Collier and his adopted little sister that she went on vacation.  It was well known that the doting mom would have never left her kids.

Opting for the stronger of the two pills, I readjusted the flight attendant’s makeshift ice pack and starred at the glow of my laptop, strangely drawn to revisit the details and newspaper accounts that followed.  Strange memories, even for me…

Serving a life sentence for  murder and abuse of a corpse, Boyle had been incarcerated 20 years when his parole was denied in 2010.  Collier and Elizabeth were adopted shortly after the murder, presumably by relatives.   Now 34, Collier is living in California and recently visited his father in prison.  For the first time, John Boyle confessed to the crime.

Almost home on our ride from the airport, we followed the winding road down the shoreline and past the CIC where John and Noreen were members, just around the bend from our house.  Happier times, indeed.

*          *          *          *

Interested in all the details?  You can read newspaper accounts and legal documents here.


© 2011 – 2012, Shoes for an Imaginary Life. All rights reserved.

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35 Responses to Dr. John Boyle… a murderer and me

  1. Theresa says:

    Wow. That is creepy. There are so many things that go on in the world that I don’t understand.

    • Linda says:

      So you’re a night owl, too… I love to write when it’s quiet and nobody is saying my name. Once John Boyle got in my head that day, I had to tell it.

      Good to see ya! Hugs…

    • michele walker says:

      Glad he is in till at least 2020, and it doesn’t seem this blogger is around anymore, would be helpful to close down..

  2. Debbie says:

    You can retell events in such detail, in a gripping way. I’m so sorry for his wife and children, and sorry that it ended up touching your life too. It gives me the shivers, how he could be so talkative and charming on one hand, and then so cold and dangerous on the other.
    God bless you, lovely lady, and keep you tenderly in His care.

  3. Christel says:

    Hi Linda It’s nice to have you back in Ohio. My scrapbook friends just left, and I was showing my friend Pat what I could do on the computer. Then I discovered your new blog. I never knew that you went to see Dr. Boyle. As soon as I started reading, I remembered the whole story. What a scary time . I’m surely glad that he’s still in jail. No parole for him. The story is also so well written. It was interesting reading. You are a wonderful writer, Linda. Love, Your Mom

    • Linda says:

      What a wonderful comment… and thanks for your kind words. You know who “Sam” is, right? I suspect “Sam” is reading my blog because I have a secret way of finding these things out. Didn’t want to write about anyone who may wish to remain anonymous.

      I was moving to Middle-Bellville Rd. when I got hurt, and ended up seeing that wonderful old chiropractor who taught me those stretching exercises. I never went back to Dr. Boyle, since he was in jail and “Sam” would have thrown a fit! The newspaper accounts that have followed the story through the years are fascinating. They made the flight go faster.

      Great job commenting. When you’re ready to start your own blog, I’ll come down and get you started.

      Looking forward to next Thursday. Love and hugs, Mom… : )

  4. HolyMama! says:

    i’d tried to leave a comment here and had odd computer issues when i submitted yesterday… and then i forgot all about it.

    today i really came by to tell you thanks for suggesting cha cha cherry. But that hardly seems appropriate on this post. My original comment for this post was more like, “WHAT?! YOU HAVE ANOTHER ONE OF THESE ‘MY BRUSH WITH A MONSTER’ POSTS?!” Because you have more of these stories than any one wonderful human should ever have! you know? You really do! I hope there aren’t any more coming, because I WORRY.

    and thanks for the cha cha thing. perfect.

    • Linda says:

      Call me a monster magnet, with or without the lipstick. I think murderers have a certain charm and confidence about them that makes them more interesting than ordinary people. You’re the student of such things… I posted the link just for you! With age I’ve become more discerning, and viewing life without the haze of alcohol also helps. Thanks for worrying, girlfriend.

      I was happy but not surprised to read about your recent succes in school. Good job, as always! Hugs… : )

  5. Ferd says:

    Ooh, that gives me the heebie jeebies!
    He was obviously interested in you. Glad you didn’t become an obsession and part of some basement’s subflooring! LOL, but not funny, really.

    • Linda says:

      Can you believe it? Who thinks of these things? It makes excellent “fodder” for blogging, but looking back I realize how important it is to question situations that just don’t seem right. I didn’t mention this, but they determined the time of death by looking at her Rolex, asking the local jeweler how long it would run without motion, and then they did the math. Strange memories a bad back will bring…

      Hugs… : )

      • krissy says:

        wow small world! watchn forensic files, i pulled up Noreen Boyle’s name when i saw this was semi local in mansfield, Oh. Little did i know, until i read your story about dr boyle wearing a CIC shirt caught my attention! ive worked at CIC 17yrs now. I wasnt there when Boyles were members. I was hired in June 1998. crazy scarey!

  6. Jim Travis says:

    Hi Linda,
    Hope your travels are safe, and you get home okay. Glad you made it through this experience intact, it kind of sends ice up ones spine to look back at something like this and think you trusted yourself in the hands of a murderer. When you see a doc, you don’t expect him to be capable of something like that.
    God Bless

  7. bendedspoon says:

    It is hard to imagine that the person whom you think could be trusted with your life can kill. Dr. John Boyle isn’t sweet. Your mom is!

    Glad that you are safe and sharing. Hugs :)

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  10. Duane Fulk says:

    If anyone knows of a video or any show like “Forensic Files” covering the Mansfield, Ohio Doctor Boyle murder case, would you please inform me of it?
    Thank You. Duane

  11. Michael Davis says:

    He was our family doctor back in the day. I liked him professionally. Very soft-spoken and understanding (I was in a lot of pain back then). It was so hard to believe he was capable of such a gruesome crime. Though having her corpse in proximity could believably ease his mind, the evil it must take to bury thoughts of his family walking on her grave every day … just wow. The stories about the smell of her rotting buried in cement were like something that only happens in horror fiction. It makes me wonder how often (or seldom) others get away with murder. He could have, if he didn’t think he was smarter than everyone else. You’d think a doctor would know better than most how to make a corpse disappear.

    I’ll tell you, I haven’t lived there in quite a few years, but Mansfield is one hell of a place. Someone needs to write a book.

  12. I hope someone reads this I found dr john a great dr a good person not the momnster u all make him out to be yes collier and krissie went to see him no he did nit confess any such thing you said charming yes I do not beleive he acted inappropriate to the lady on this site he has been only a gentleman judge not or…..we all have that fine line in us I pray for all

    • lukebandit says:

      If he was such a saint as you claim, why would he send away patients that truly needed to see him and allow this young lady to come back, check her medical problems and chat for an hour almost? I believe her. Her story thinking back about this monster is believable and well written.

    • Catlady says:

      A good person he is not. Good people don’t kill their wife or anyone. Hes a monster, put on your glasses

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  14. lukebandit says:

    I have a similar experience that you went through Linda. I am in a nursing home, only 52 years old and my 2nd shift nurse mon-fri, beat, strangled her roommate which resulted in her death. She killed her on a Friday around lunch, called off at work for her shift claiming she was sick, had the weekend off. She came back to work on Monday at 3 pm. She came into my room, just like normal, and said, I need to take your sugar. I handed my hand into hers! She checked it and everything was like always, normal. But the woman had picked up a hammer, bashed her roommate in the head and then strangled her to death, then placed her into a big blue tote and sit it out on the front porch! When it came out that she had killed her, the way she killed her, strangling her with her bare hands, and then I handed MY hand into hers so she could check my sugar! I flipped out! Of course, we, I didn’t know that she had killed this woman, who was her roommate. Then I found out who it was. She used to work at the same place and she used to be one on my CNA’s and she has a little 10 yr. old daughter. I cried when I found out that she had killed her and left her daughter without a mother to raise her! God bless her daughter. What a horrible way to go. Her name was Leanna.

  15. Jonah says:

    Thank you for writing this. I work in the hotel business and I have a lot of free time on the clock and I love the show Forensic Files. In fact, I have seen 398 of 400 and I do like to read up on a lot of these cases and stumbled upon this. I find it interesting to read past what the shows tell you about. This one was a very bizarre and brazen murder and coverup! I’m sorry for the families that were affected by this murder and you are a lucky girl to not be one of his victims! Again than you for sharing this very nice and well put story!

  16. Laura says:

    Just watching forensic files about this case and decided to look up what happened to Dr. Boyle’s situation and found your blog. I wonder, from your description, why he saw just you. Glad nothing bad happened when you saw him.

  17. rashad says:

    I don’t remeber him but he was my family doctor including mine. I was actually seeing him according to my mother for stomach issuess. I must of been about 3 years old. I vaguely remember .I do remebered him wanting my dmom to collect my stool but,I dont remember his face I was to young. Anyways my kept going to his office by this time he was making regular trips to Erie. They had a substitute Dr. Little did my family know he had mudered his wife and buried her in the basement…..CREEPY and BIZARRE

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  19. Larry Blong says:

    It is amazing how a doctor could be so stupid as to think the cops wouldn’t check out his home. When you are a suspect, and the spouse always is, the police check out everything that you have done recently, like what you bought, your bank account etc. This dummy buys a jack hammer and puts her in the basement. Truly one of the world’s dumbest criminals!

  20. Diana says:


    I was just thinking about Noreen, and came across your blog. It brought back many memories.

    My in laws were good friends of the Boyles, and sponsored them at the CIC. Maureen was at my mother-in-laws house a day before she went missing. She was crying and very afraid. She stated that if anything happened to her, Jack would be the person to look at. Peg tried to get her to stay with her, but she felt she had to get back to her children. Jack’s mother was home with Elizabeth and Collier at the time.

    Peg learned Maureen was missing and called the police, and testified at the trial. She knew Jack was responsible for Maureen’s disappearance. The police kept Peg updated on the progress of the case.

    We were glued to the tv watching that trial.
    Jack was very charismatic and fooled a lot of people.

  21. Diana says:

    I was busy typing and wrote Maureen instead of Noreen. Sorry, should have proofread.

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