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Editor and Contributing Writer

Feature Photograph: Mary Ellen Scott wearing her wedding dress. (Photograph courtesy of Donna Wyble.)

Donna Wyble is unsure what emotions will appear or whether she can control them as she discusses details with the Discovery Channel later this month about her family and the life and death of her mother, whose cold case murderer was sentenced in April.

“In a way I guess I’m kind of scared. I’ve done several interviews since (the sentencing and conviction). I’m going into this blind and I might break down, but I do want this to be real. I want it to be about my mother and her life and to show that she was a good person,” Wyble says.

Donna Wyble (Photograph by Freddie Herpin.)

For several decades Wyble said she and her sister Christine – the only children of Mary Scott — knew none of the details surrounding her mother’s death or even why Mary Scott left them with her paternal grandparents in Opelousas and returned to California where at the time of her death, she was working as waitress and dancer in San Diego.

Wyble was four years old and living in Opelousas with her older sister Christine when her mother, Mary Scott then 23, was brutally attacked and murdered in her San Diego, Ca. apartment on November 20, 1969.

Perhaps relating her family’s entire story for the Discovery Channel audience with interviewer Paula Zahn will ironically add another chapter for Wyble’s pursuit of her own self-discovery and mitigate the anger she has felt since John Sipos, 76, a retired hospital administrator, was arrested Oct. 24, 2020 in Schnecksville, Pa. for the murder rape and murder of Mary Scott.

“I’ve had so much anger. (Sipos) took everything away from me and my sister. I also want to know why (Sipos) did it and I’m not letting go until I find out. He broke my mother’s jaw, broke the chain on the door getting into her apartment, raped and killed her,” Wyble said during a St. Landry Now interview.

Wyble thinks Discovery Channel producers feel her family story, the cold case element and the familial DNA match that investigators used to link Sipos to the murder are intriguing enough to capture viewers who will eventually watch the episode at a later date.

 Sipos was sentenced for seven years to life for the death of Mary Scott, according to an article in the San Diego Union.

Wyble, whose sister Christine died in a 1989 vehicle accident, was in the courtroom for Sipos’ evidentiary hearing, where the details of the case were laid out by prosecutors.

Christine Wyble (Photograph courtesy of Donna Wyble.)

For years Wyble said San Diego law enforcement tried to determine who murdered her mother. Due to lack of suspects, Wyble said, the Mary Scott case went cold – totally frigid in fact.

 Scott’s death was ruled a homicide by authorities after she was found dead in her apartment. Police was called to the apartment by Scott’s co-workers when Scott failed to appear at work, according to an Oct. 28 , 2020 article in the New York Post.

There were no leads until April 23, 2020 when genealogical DNA found in Mary Scott’s apartment by the initial investigators, pointed to either Sipos or his brother as her mother’s killer, Wyble said.

“Around 1998 DNA became a significant tool that led to arrests and later investigators began using genealogy and eliminating and including suspects that way,” Wyble said.

Sipos entered a not guilty plea in connection with the murder of Mary Scott after he was extradited from Pennsylvania to California, according to the story in the Union.

Wyble said Sipos and his defense lawyers entered pre-trial plea bargain negotiations with prosecutors in the case, but Wyble said she and her family members didn’t agree to that strategy.

“(Sipos), who was in the U.S. Navy at the time of my mother’s death, wanted to plea to a lesser charge, but we weren’t having any of that. We wanted the case to go before a jury. The prosecutors had to drop the rape charge because the statute of limitations in California had run out,” Wyble added.

Wyble said it was somewhat unnerving for her to stand just a few feet away when she attended court proceedings in connection with Sipos’ trial.

“I also felt the experience for me was disheartening. (Sipos) has shown no emotion since his arrest (in 2020) and he again was unrepentant at the time he was sentenced following one and a half weeks trial. Again there was no emotion. It’s evil. That’s all,” Wyble added.

Criminal and Other Discoveries

Wyble said her mother married Patrick Wyble in 1963 and moved to his hometown of Opelousas.

Apparently the marriage had its difficulties and after a while and following her daughters’ births, Mary Scott moved back to her original home in San Diego and began working at a nightclub there, according to Wyble.

“From what I remember and from what her family has told me, my mother was always happy, upbeat, looking on the bright side. She was smart, book smart and she also liked to dance. Early on Christine and I were confused about my mother, why she left us. We were both real young at the time,” Wyble said.

Eventually Wyble said she and Christine without the help of her grandparents, began stealthily obtaining information about her mother, a few pictures of them with her, a marriage license and a wedding dress, but framing the life portrait of Mary Scott was for Wyble, still incomplete.

“We didn’t know anything originally. We did know something was wrong. We couldn’t put all the pieces of the story together. The only thing we did know was we didn’t have a mother,” said Wyble.

Mary Scott’s sister Rosalie Santz however was persistent in solving the puzzle of her sister’s death.

The New York Post story quoting information taken from the San Diego Union article, said Sanz eventually contacted a law enforcement friend to get Mary Scott’s cold case file, after reading how DNA and genealogy act to solve homicides.

Sanz 16, when Mary Scott was murdered, said in a San Diego Magazine article that Scott was “the kindest and (most gentle) person” she knew.

According to the New York post story, Wyble admitted she was “overwhelmed” when she found out an arrest had been made in her mother’s death.

Wyble also isn’t sure whether there will ever be closure for her until a few more details about the life of John Sipos become apparent.

“He (Sipos) was living less than a mile from my mother from June until November in 1969. I would like to know what he was doing all that time. No one seems to know,” said Wyble.

However there is an ethereal confidence Wyble said she now feels about the mother she hardly knew.

“It seems now that I am with her. I really can’t describe why I feel that way, but I just know that she’s happy,” Wyble added.