true crime

'My co-worker hired someone to kill her husband. I was not surprised.'

She had a tone deaf quality, an aura of entitlement that felt so out of place. It's clear to me now that it was a shield against her own feelings of entrapment in an unhappy life.

Mirinda was short and slightly too thin, with long brown hair and brown eyes. Her hair was wavy, and she used a lot of gel to hold it in place.

She was tan all year round. Even when snow poured down in the winter months of Central Pennslyvania. 

Despite living more than 400 kilometres from the ocean, she always looked like she came from the beach.

She never formally introduced herself to me, but we worked together every day for 13 months.

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In the summer of 2009, Mirinda hired someone to kill her husband, Samuel. The hired hitman, Ronald Heichel, and an accomplice, Kermit Butts, killed Samuel in his garage while he was getting ready for church. 

When she was arrested, I wasn't surprised. To me, if there was ever a person who would have tried to have her husband killed, it was Mirinda. 

I met Mirinda on my third day working at Sprouting Tree Daycare, located in the basement of a church. 

I was hired to be a caregiver in the older infant room. A low paying, but noble job. I was young and single.

Mirinda was slightly younger than me, but she already had two young children, and one stepdaughter. Her mother owned the daycare.  

Mirinda was adopted as an infant by her parents. 

Her father owned a large and successful funeral home in Centre Hall, Pennsylvania. Centre Hall was a rural town with only one traffic light sandwiched between The Pennsylvania State University and a sparsely populated Amish community.  

It was made up of dairy farms, mostly, and vast nothingness. Beautiful and picturesque, but small. 

To say Mirinda worked at the daycare was perhaps overzealous of me. 

As the boss’s daughter, Mirinda was not a teacher at the school assigned to a caregiver room, but she was paid an hourly rate twice as much as my own hourly rate.

She was not a teacher, or the director, or the assistant director of the daycare. Her role was never clearly defined. 

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I started my day at seven in the morning. But Mirinda always arrived later at her own discretion. She went from classroom to classroom making small talk and gossiping with the employees she liked. 

She left her kids in the care of other employees at the daycare as she left for tanning appointments, manicures and pedicures, or shopping trips. 

These moments were random, and her arrivals and departures were often unannounced.

One of her children was a mobile infant, and her disregard for the routine of my classroom was highly disruptive. 

She made no attempt to give me a schedule, or ask me what time was better for dropping her son into my lap when my lap was already filled with five other children.

Her son did not adhere to a schedule, but neither did Mirinda.

This may seem slight, or insignificant, but it speaks volumes to Mirinda’s disrespect for other people. It’s not solely entitlement, but a general lack of adult experience and responsibility. 

Mirinda had never held an actual job or had to learn to cooperate with other people. To consider my feelings was beyond her abilities.

In my mind, she was stuck in adolescence, with a self-serving selfishness that everyone around her enabled. 

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It left her trapped in a life of unhappiness. She was never able to grow up, learn from her mistakes, or live with any of the consequences of her bad decisions. Until she was arrested for conspiracy to commit murder.

Mirinda created a shield against her insecurities by putting others down. As she became an adult, living a life without being allowed to fail led to an inability to develop empathy. In my opinion, narcissism kept Mirinda from recognising other people even existed, let alone feeling anything towards them.

She married her husband, Samuel, shortly after graduating high school. She quickly entered motherhood, and she was financially enabled by her wealthy parents who took care of her every need.  

Eventually, her marriage to Samuel fell apart when her compulsive shopping led to incredible debt, and the novelty of the relationship wore thin. 

Mirinda told at least one person close to her that Samuel was abusive. That was the rumour told to me when I worked at Sprouting Tree Daycare, or at least the gossip I was privy to by other employees. 

I didn’t ask for that information, but it was freely shared with me.

I always want to believe women. I never saw bruises on Mirinda, and she never went to the police. Questions about Samuel’s abusive behaviour towards Mirinda have since been discredited by Samuel’s family. It was also discredited by the prosecution during her trial for Samuel’s murder. It’s hard to know the truth. 

My job eventually ended at Sprouting Tree Daycare after it was forced by the church to permanently close. 

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Sometime after the daycare closed, Mirinda met and started an affair with Ronald Heichel. 

I am not sure when Mirinda planned to kill her husband, or when she convinced Ronald to take Samuel’s life. But in my mind, it's too simplistic to think of Mirinda as someone who just lost control. 

To consider she snapped into a killer makes a great story. We want to believe that someone capable of hiring a hitman to kill another person, especially the father of their children, to be clearly identifiable in society. The only way to prevent it from happening would be a Google search away in a concise checklist.

In my opinion, people like Mirinda don’t just snap. 

They often live among us, out in the open. They are mothers, wives, and daughters. Their murderous tendencies are present, living just under the surface of normalcy.

After the murder, we hear neighbours describe them as quiet, or a loner. They don’t have friends who rush to their side. It’s usually a long life of unbecoming behaviour. It’s more essays like this one.

When Mirinda was arrested, I heard about it on the local news. Personally, I wasn’t shocked that Mirinda had asked Ronald to kill her husband. I wasn’t surprised at all. I didn’t predict the crime, it just brought every part of her full circle in my mind. It just made sense. 

I was not the only one who thought the same about Mirinda. Except for the apparent fact she was not very intelligent about committing the crime, a family member coordinated with police to get a confession. 

She got caught because she left a trail of text messages. She was unaware text messages could be retrieved even if she removed them from her phone. As per The ExpressRonald wasn’t even the first man Mirinda had asked to kill Samuel. 

According to reports, she was shopping around for the right lover she could manipulate into giving her what she really wanted. Her husband dead in the driveway.

For Mirinda, in my opinion, it’s a story of entitlement, greed, immaturity, and a general lack of empathy. 

All the things I saw in Mirinda when I knew her led to her apathy about taking the life of someone she loved. They are not the clear-cut traits of a killer waiting in the wings all the time. You can never predict the worst tragedies.

Mirinda Boob was a woman set on a path of destruction. It was evident to those who knew her on the periphery and saw the small sparks of devastation she was setting all around herself as she grew closer to her true calling. 

In my opinion, women like Mirinda don’t magically appear. They are made. They are obvious. 

Mirinda Boob is currently serving a life sentence for conspiracy to commit murder. 

Feature Image: Oxygen.

Joy Ellen Sauter is a freelance writer who writes human interest stories for interested humans. You can reach her at [email protected]

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