Deadly Women Premiered ‘Secrets and Lies’ on Investigation Discovery: Everything You Need to Know About Serial Killer Anjette Lyles (October 28, 2010)

Anjette Lyles felt the best way to deal with her problematic home life was to poison the people around her. -Secrets and Lies, Deadly Women (S4, E11)

In 1947, Anjette Lyles and WWII Army veteran Ben Lyles ran a successful restaurant in Macon, Georgia. Anjette’s shining personality and beautiful face kept the customers coming back. One judge remembered his experience at the restaurant and claimed she was just a nice person. One day, Ben decides he’s had enough and sells the family restaurant. He said he was sick of it and Anjette was angry because she wanted to keep the restaurant; they also had just gave birth to another child. Ben wouldn’t relent and he would come to regret that decision. At first, Anjette practiced black magic and wished for harm to come to Ben. Then she stepped it up and started using a form of ant poisoning she conveniently put in Ben’s food. Ben Lyles was sick with rheumatic fever since his time in the service but once he sold the restaurant, he rapidly deteriorated. Ben was experiencing bleeding from the nose and mouth, swelling of the eyes, weeping skin lesions, and acute liver failure. Nobody could figure out what was wrong. Ben’s death was painful and the baffled doctors decided it was encephalitis. Ben Lyles died on January 25, 1952.

The pair argued bitterly over [Ben selling the restaurant], and the arguments only got worse when the Veteran’s Administration decided to cut Ben’s pension to a tenth of what it was as they’d decided he was now fit to work. As if to prove the VA wrong, in December of 1951 Ben Lyles fell ill. The doctors were confused. It wasn’t a recurrence of his rheumatic fever, and in fact they weren’t quite sure what it was that was wrong with him. He had nosebleeds and convulsions, and had to be hospitalised. When he went into a coma in January the doctors decided it was encephalitis, but by then it was too late for effective treatment. He never regained consciousness and died on the 25th of January. –HeadStuff

With the life insurance payout and the proceeds from the sale of the restaurant, Anjette bought back the restaurant and it became even more popular. She met Joe ‘Buddy’ Gabbert in the restaurant; he was a pilot from Texas. As soon as Joe met Anjette, he was captivated by her and courted her very energetically. They were married in just a few months. But Joe would quickly learn his new wife is not as she seems. Within three months of walking down the aisle, Joe Gabbert was dead on December 2, 1955. At this point, it is clear that Anjette was a sociopath with no feelings of empathy or love for anyone. Before she was 30, Anjette was widowed twice because the secret to her misfortune was arsenic poisoning. Her first husband Ben died shortly after selling the family restaurant; her second husband Joe died of a mysterious illness shortly after they were married. But instead of mourning, Anjette was happy and thriving in her restaurant. With another life insurance payout, this time Anjette bought herself a new home. But then a complication arose when her mother-in-law, Julia Lyles, announced she wanted to move in with her.

Julia indeed moved in with her but Anjette found a way to eliminate her problem and make even more money. Anjette learned that Julia had lots of money in savings. She attempted to change Julia’s will but one judge would not touch it because he needed to witness Julia sign the document and he knew it wasn’t Julia’s signature. Anjette forged her mother-in-law’s will and began to speed up her demise. When Julia fell ill and was hospitalized, Anjette brought her favorite foods for her and all the nurses thought she was so nice. Instead, Anjette was feeding Julia arsenic poisoning while she was laying in the hospital bed. Julia Lyles died on September 29, 1957. Anjette learned the best way to handle family problems was to simply get rid of them, by murdering. After Anjette’s mother-in-law was dead, she started turning on her daughter Marcia because she was an accessory Anjette didn’t want anymore. Marcia died of another unexplained illness on April 5, 1958 and it was reported that Anjette stood in the corner of the hospital room laughing while she was in pain. The doctors at the time could find reasons for the deaths of her two husbands but not this healthy little girl.

This time the police wanted an autopsy of Marcia Lyles and the autopsy results revealed that Marcia died of arsenic poisoning. After learning this information, the police exhumed both Ben Lyle’s and Joe Gabbert’s bodies and again they found traces of arsenic. Anjette’s secrets were finally revealed; she was a serial killer with no mercy. People were stunned to learned Anjette poisoned both her husbands and her daughter Marcia. It was described as a complete shock as the community always knew the kind, happy, helpful Anjette in the restaurant. Anjette Lyles was convicted of multiple murders and sentenced to death in 1958. But she appealed on the grounds of insanity and was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. Anjette was spared execution and lived out her life in an asylum. She died in 1977 of a heart attack at age 55. And in the end, a lot of people didn’t believe she was evil; they just figured she had some kind of mental quirk. Former FBI Profiler Candice DeLong shared her assessment of the case: “Anjette was a very high functioning, dedicated, driven, successful business women. That is not the definition of a paranoid schizophrenic.”

Source: ‘Secrets and Lies’ Deadly Women

Editor’s note: With a cable subscription, you can download the free ID Go app and watch all of the Investigation Discovery programming at your convenience. And for those who do not have cable, you can watch “unlocked” episodes on the ID Go app including the latest premieres. Download the ID Go app and binge away. For those who prefer commercial free programming during your binge session, Prime Video has an ID channel: ‘True Crime Files by Investigation Discovery” available for $2.99 a month. It’s a compilation of older seasons but totally worth the cost if you are a true crime addict.

Macon, Georgia | City Confidential | Anjette Lyles

Related Links:
Anjette Donovan Lyles (1925-1977) | Find a Grave
Lynn and Anjette | View From a Hearse
Anjette Lyles to be one of Discovery’s ‘Deadly Women’
Macon’s Murderous Maidens
Anjette Lyles, Restaurateur Of Death
Murder À La Carte: The Murders of Anjette Lyles
This Murderous Restaurant Owner Was The First White Woman Ever To Be Sentenced To Death In The US
Anjette Lyles: Serial Killer: Whispers and Spells (book)
Whisper to the Black Candle: Voodoo, Murder, And the Case of Anjette Lyles (book)
6 Serial Killers in Georgia
Macon, GA | City Confidential | Anjette Lyles
Secrets and Lies | Deadly Women | Investigation Discovery (S4, E11)

Army Sgt. Amanda Sheldon’s Mom Speaks Out on Suicide; Family Hopes to Inspire Military-Wide Change (October 14, 2010)

The family of Sgt. Amanda Sheldon hopes her death may spark change. The 2004 Belding graduate’s body will return to West Michigan on Thursday night, about one week after Sheldon took her own life while serving at a Fort Bragg, N.C., military base. -WOOD TV8 (October 14, 2010)

“Just like any other soldier, whether she died in combat or some other way, she’s still a fallen soldier. She served her country and she served it well.” -Renee Orcatt (Amanda Sheldon’s mom)

Army Sgt. Amanda Sheldon, 24, took her own life while stationed with the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. Sgt. Sheldon was found unresponsive at her off-post home in Fayetteville and was pronounced dead at the local hospital on October 7, 2010. Sgt. Sheldon was attached to the 18th Fires Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg. She joined the Army in October 2005 and was assigned to Fort Bragg in February 2010. The family of Sgt. Amanda Sheldon hopes the circumstances surrounding her untimely death will spark military-wide change. In 2010, the Department of Defense was concerned about the increase in active duty suicides and since then the numbers have only increased. CNN reported the suicide rates among active-duty Marines and the Navy are at a 10-year high on January 28, 2019. Task and Purpose reported Army suicides reached a five-year high on January 31, 2019. Military.com reported Active-Duty military suicides are at Record Highs in 2018.

Related Links:
Sgt Amanda Ann “Mandy” Sheldon | Find a Grave
Grand Rapids soldier Sgt. Amanda Sheldon, 24, dies in N.C. hospital
Female soldier dies at Fayetteville hospital
Police, family say Belding area soldier took her own life
Soldier’s mom speaks out on suicide (YouTube)
Ada family of soldier who died off-base in North Carolina says death was not suspicious
The family of Sgt. Amanda Sheldon hopes her death may spark change
Army Sgt. Amanda Sheldon’s Mom Speaks Out on Suicide; Family Hopes to Inspire Military-Wide Change (October 14, 2010)
The Challenge and the Promise: Strengthening the Force, Preventing Suicide and Saving Lives (2011)
Air Force TSgt. Jennifer Norris Testified Before the House Armed Services Committee in Washington DC (January 23, 2013)
Retired Marine Stephanie Schroeder Fights for Servicemember’s Rights at the United Nation’s Geneva Conventions (November 11, 2014)
Ali and Josh Hobson: Sexual Assault and Retaliation in the US Air Force (2015)
62 Percent of Military Sex Assault Reports Result in Retaliation (2015)
Highlights of Lt Col Teresa James, Army National Guard, Military Sexual Assault and Retaliation Case (2015)
Heath Phillips, Active Duty Military & Veterans Advocate, a Voice for Male Victims of Crime (2016)
Military Policy and Legislation Considerations for the Investigations of Non Combat Death, Homicide, and Suicide of US Service Members (2016)
What Happens When a Rape is Reported in the Military? (2017)
How do we stop the retaliation from happening so victims of crimes in the military feel safe to report? (2017)
Dignified transfer performed for Fort Carson soldier who died on post (2018)
Failing Private Burnham: How the Army Did Not Protect a Minnesota Soldier after a Sexual Assault (2018)
Tribute to a Fallen Soldier | Amanda Sheldon
In Loving Memory of Amanda Ann Sheldon | Facebook

Military Rape Survivor Army Sgt. Amanda Sheldon Died by Suicide After Suffering With Depression; Family Hopes Her Death May Spark Change (October 7, 2010)

Sgt Amanda Sheldon, US Army (2010)

Sgt. Amanda Sheldon, U.S. Army

Army Sgt. Amanda Sheldon, 24, took her own life while stationed with the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. Sgt. Sheldon was found unresponsive at her off-post home in Fayetteville and was pronounced dead at the local hospital on October 7, 2010. Sgt. Sheldon’s mom, Renee Orcatt, went public with Amanda’s story in an effort to raise awareness, change policy, and save lives. Renee told the local media that Amanda was a victim of rape in the military at the hands of a superior officer. Amanda reported the crime to the Army and informed them she had been drugged and raped. As a result, the suspect was criminally convicted and discharged from the Army. Initially, Amanda sought help from military counselors and the family reported that she was getting better, yet still struggled with depression. Amanda wanted to deal with it and move on to serve her country as she had originally intended to do.

Unfortunately, according to Renee, this wasn’t the last time Amanda would have to confront her past while serving in the Army. When Amanda was up for promotion, she was asked why she was going to counseling. She would go on to get her promotion, but this line of questioning was something she never wanted to experience again. After making the realization that her past and seeking help was not confidential, counseling was out of the question in her future if she wanted to preserve her career. Sgt. Sheldon felt judged for seeking treatment for military sexual trauma. Her mom reported that Amanda recognized she needed counseling again and was planning on getting out of the military. When she died, she was serving out her final year of enlistment, had plans to go to college, and wanted to start a new life outside the military, with her new love. But her unit got tasked with a deployment to Afghanistan and she set about making plans to go to Afghanistan with her unit before she was discharged from the Army.

Amanda would learn that in order to accomplish this, she would need to re-enlist for two more years. Amanda didn’t want to stay in for two more years and made the devastating decision to stay back. She felt like no matter what decision she made, she was letting someone down. Renee observed that Amanda never came to grips with this decision and entered into depression. Amanda’s mom begged her to get counseling but to Amanda that was no longer an option. Sgt. Sheldon was attached to the 18th Fires Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg. She joined the Army in October 2005 and was assigned to Fort Bragg in February 2010. The family of Sgt. Amanda Sheldon hopes the circumstances surrounding her untimely death will spark military-wide change. In 2010, the Department of Defense was concerned about the increase in active duty suicides and since then the number of suicides in the military has increased.

Editor’s Note: CNN reported the suicide rates among active-duty Marines and the Navy are at a 10-year high on January 28, 2019. Task and Purpose reported Army suicides reached a five-year high on January 31, 2019. Military.com reported Active-Duty military suicides are at Record Highs in 2018. 

“Just like any other soldier, whether she died in combat or some other way, she’s still a fallen soldier. She served her country and she served it well.” -Renee Orcatt (Amanda Sheldon’s mom)

Source: Soldier’s Mom speaks out on suicide, WOOD TV8 (October 14, 2010)

The family of Sgt. Amanda Sheldon hopes her death may spark change. The 2004 Belding graduate’s body will return to West Michigan on Thursday night, about one week after Sheldon took her own life while serving at a Fort Bragg, N.C., military base. -WOOD TV8 (October 14, 2010)

Related Links:
Sgt Amanda Ann “Mandy” Sheldon | Find a Grave
Grand Rapids soldier Sgt. Amanda Sheldon, 24, dies in N.C. hospital
Female soldier dies at Fayetteville hospital
Police, family say Belding area soldier took her own life
Soldier’s mom speaks out on suicide (YouTube)
Ada family of soldier who died off-base in North Carolina says death was not suspicious
The family of Sgt. Amanda Sheldon hopes her death may spark change
Army Sgt. Amanda Sheldon’s Mom Speaks Out on Suicide; Family Hopes to Inspire Military-Wide Change (October 14, 2010)
The Challenge and the Promise: Strengthening the Force, Preventing Suicide and Saving Lives (2011)
Air Force TSgt. Jennifer Norris Testified Before the House Armed Services Committee in Washington DC (January 23, 2013)
Retired Marine Stephanie Schroeder Fights for Servicemember’s Rights at the United Nation’s Geneva Conventions (November 11, 2014)
Ali and Josh Hobson: Sexual Assault and Retaliation in the US Air Force (2015)
62 Percent of Military Sex Assault Reports Result in Retaliation (2015)
Highlights of Lt Col Teresa James, Army National Guard, Military Sexual Assault and Retaliation Case (2015)
Heath Phillips, Active Duty Military & Veterans Advocate, a Voice for Male Victims of Crime (2016)
Military Policy and Legislation Considerations for the Investigations of Non Combat Death, Homicide, and Suicide of US Service Members (2016)
What Happens When a Rape is Reported in the Military? (2017)
How do we stop the retaliation from happening so victims of crimes in the military feel safe to report? (2017)
Dignified transfer performed for Fort Carson soldier who died on post (2018)
Failing Private Burnham: How the Army Did Not Protect a Minnesota Soldier after a Sexual Assault (2018)
Tribute to a Fallen Soldier | Amanda Sheldon
In Loving Memory of Amanda Ann Sheldon | Facebook