Nipomo man arrested for murder in 2009 cold case

December 3, 2014

Jail handsA 64-year-old man accused of killing his wife in Morro Bay in 2009 was arrested at his Nipomo home Tuesday afternoon. [Tribune]

On June 23, 2009, Sherre Ann Neal-Lypps’ husband James Lypps called 911 to report his wife had died while he was at the grocery store. Officers arrived to find Neal-Lypps submerged in the bathtub.

The San Luis Obispo County Coroner’s office ruled Neal-Lypps died from strangulation and drowning, a homicide. However, police did not arrest Lypps at the time.

In 2010, the Morro Bay Police Department hired Dale Cullum and asked him to review two cold cases. Cullum then discovered evidence taken at the time Neal-Lypps died was never processed for DNA.

In October, Neal-Lypps’ fingernail clippings were discovered to have Lypps’ DNA on them.

The Morro Bay Police Department worked with investigators from the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office, San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office, California Department of Justice, and the FBI during the investigation.



  1. OnTheOtherHand says:

    Not all crimes are solvable and having the resources of a small town police department doesn’t help. No one wants to see a murder go unpunished but it is better to fail to find/convict the right person than to find/convict the wrong person just because what little evidence exists could indicate that person might have done it.

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  2. ml1999 says:

    Boy, they really did a bang up investigation 5 years ago. Not. Can the crew be fired?

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  3. Stunned says:

    Morro Bay – You’ve got a dandy little crime fighting set of investigators huh? So, someone went to the trouble to clip the mans fingernails and then another someone supposedly sent them to forensics for DNA matching then…..what someone was watching for the results to return to finally determine he wasn’t a suspect?

    I can think of three someones that need to look for work somewhere….

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  4. Jorge Estrada says:

    Evidence shows that Lypps service has too often been a strategy for success. Fortunately that is changing and legal will again become the driving force.

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  5. BeenThereDoneThat says:

    So the only difference between 2009 and now is that they finally ran the DNA. This sounds like a case of the Keystone Cops to me. Worse it wasn’t even being actively investigated for awhile? Hell the corner listed all the comments about marks on neck, broken blood vesels in eyes etc. that lean to strangulation and they take five years!? Sad indeed.

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    • Theo P. Neustic says:

      The only good thing is that the guy has probably been sweating about his discovery for the past five years.

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  6. achillesheal says:

    Sounds pretty thin…my wife scratched my back last night and likely has my DNA under her fingernails as well. Fortunately, she’s alive…..

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    • Theo P. Neustic says:

      From another article, that’s not the only evidence. There are marks on the neck that are indicative of strangulation and a large amount of water on the floor around the tub indicative of a struggle.

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      • OnTheOtherHand says:

        That is nothing new though — the original report concluded that she died of strangulation and drowning. The question is was Mr. Lypps the one who did it. If they don’t have better evidence than small fragments of his skin under her nails, I would be hesitant to vote to convict if I was on the jury. (I am not saying he didn’t do it, just that one needs better proof than that to prove he did.)

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