John Schneeberger

Last updated
Dr. John Schneeberger
Born1961 (age 6061)
Occupation Physician
Criminal statusReleased
Spouse(s)Lisa Dillman (divorced)
ChildrenTwo children, plus one stepdaughter and one stepson
Criminal charge Rape, administering a noxious substance, obstruction of justice,
PenaltySix years

John Schneeberger (born 1961) is a North Rhodesian-born criminal who drugged and raped one of his female patients and also his stepdaughter while working as a physician in Canada. For years, he evaded arrest by implanting a fake blood sample inside a plastic tube in his arm, which confounded DNA test results.


Early life

John Schneeberger was raised in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) and received his medical degree at Stellenbosch University in South Africa. In 1987, he moved to Canada. He lived in the town of Kipling, Saskatchewan and practiced in the Kipling Medical Centre.

In 1991, he married Lisa Dillman, who had two children from a previous marriage. Schneeberger and Dillman had two daughters during their marriage. [1] In 1993, he acquired Canadian citizenship and still retained his other citizenship.

Rape case

Schneeberger was accused of serious sexual crimes, and convicted after successfully foiling DNA tests several times. [2]

On the night of 31 October 1992, Schneeberger sedated his 23-year-old patient, Candice (known on Forensic Files as "Candy"), and raped her. While Versed the sedative he usedhas a strong amnesic effect, Candy was still able to remember the rape. She reported the crime to the police. [3]

Schneeberger's blood sample was, however, found not to match the samples of the alleged rapist's semen, thus clearing him of suspicion. In 1993, at the victim's request, the test was repeated but the result was negative as well. In 1994 the case was closed. [3]

Candy, still convinced that her recollections were true, hired Larry O'Brien, a private detective, to investigate the case. [4] He broke into Schneeberger's car and obtained another DNA sample, which this time matched the semen on the victim's underwear and pants. As a result, a third official test was organized. The obtained blood sample was found too small and of too poor quality to be useful for analysis.

In 1997 Lisa Schneeberger found out that her husband had repeatedly drugged and raped her 15-year-old daughter from her first marriage. She reported him to the police, who ordered a fourth DNA test. This time, multiple samples were taken: blood, mouth swab, and hair follicle. All three matched the rapist's semen.

During his 1999 trial, Schneeberger revealed the method he used to foil the DNA tests. He implanted a 15 cm Penrose drain filled with another man's blood and anticoagulants in his arm. [5] During tests, he tricked the laboratory technician into taking the blood sample from the place the tube was planted.

He was found guilty of sexual assault, of administering a noxious substance, and of obstruction of justice, and received a six-year prison sentence. [6]

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan stripped Schneeberger of his medical license and his wife divorced him. She also reported him to the Canadian immigration authorities.

In 2003, Schneeberger was released on parole after serving four years in prison. He was stripped of his Canadian citizenship (granted in 1993) due to having obtained his citizenship illegally, as he had lied to a Canadian citizenship judge in claiming that he was not the subject of a police investigation. In December 2003, Canada authorities revoked his citizenship and ordered his deportation.

Being a permanent resident of South Africa, he was returned there in July 2004. He moved to Durban to live with his mother. [7] According to a report by the Mercury News in Durban, Schneeberger applied to the Health Professions Council of South Africa to work in medicine less than three weeks after his arrival in Durban. The Council was considering the former doctor's registration until Schneeberger suddenly withdrew it in mid-October. [8]

In media

His case was depicted in a 2003 true crime series, 72 Hours ("The Good Doctor") on CBC, and in Canadian film, I Accuse . [9] [10] It was also featured in an episode of Forensic Files ('Bad Blood') on Court TV, now TruTV. [11]

The case also inspired works of fiction, including "Serendipity", a fifth season episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit , [12] and the first episode of the 2009 Japanese drama Kiina.[ citation needed ]

The case was featured on Autopsy episode 7, "Dead Men Talking" (2001) on HBO. [13]

Related Research Articles

DNA profiling Technique used to identify individuals via DNA characteristics

DNA profiling is the process of determining an individual's DNA characteristics. DNA analysis intended to identify a species, rather than an individual, is called DNA barcoding.

Forensic science Application of science to criminal and civil laws

Forensic science, also known as criminalistics, is the application of science to criminal and civil laws, mainly—on the criminal side—during criminal investigation, as governed by the legal standards of admissible evidence and criminal procedure. Forensic science is a broad field that includes; DNA analysis, fingerprint analysis, blood stain pattern analysis, firearms examination and ballistics, tool mark analysis, serology, toxicology, hair and fiber analysis, entomology, questioned documents, anthropology, odontology, pathology, epidemiology, footwear and tire tread analysis, drug chemistry, paint and glass analysis, digital audio video and photo analysis.

Sexual assault is an act in which one intentionally sexually touches another person without that person's consent, or coerces or physically forces a person to engage in a sexual act against their will. It is a form of sexual violence, which includes child sexual abuse, groping, rape, or the torture of the person in a sexual manner.

David Milgaard was a Canadian man who was wrongfully convicted for the 1969 rape and murder of nursing student Gail Miller in Saskatoon and imprisoned for 23 years. He was eventually released and exonerated. Up until his death, he lived in Alberta and was employed as a community support worker. Milgaard was also a public speaker who advocated for the wrongfully convicted and for all prisoners' rights.

Guy Paul Morin is a Canadian who was wrongly convicted of the October 1984 rape and murder of his nine-year-old next-door neighbour, Christine Jessop of Queensville, north of Toronto, Ontario. DNA testing led to a subsequent overturning of this verdict. On October 15, 2020, the Toronto Police Service announced a DNA match identifying Calvin Hoover as the one whose semen was recovered from Jessop’s underwear. Hoover killed himself in 2015.

Colin Pitchfork British child-murderer and rapist

Colin Pitchfork is a British double child-murderer and rapist. He was the first person convicted of rape and murder using DNA profiling after he murdered two girls in neighbouring Leicestershire villages, the first in Narborough, in November 1983, and the second in Enderby in July 1986. He was arrested on 19 September 1987 and was sentenced to life imprisonment on 22 January 1988 after pleading guilty to both murders, with the judge giving him a 30-year minimum term. He was granted parole in June 2021, and was released on licence on 1 September that year. On 19 November the same year, he was recalled to prison for breach of licence conditions.

A rape kit is a package of items used by medical personnel for gathering and preserving physical evidence following an allegation of sexual assault. The evidence collected from the victim can aid the criminal rape investigation and the prosecution of a suspected assailant. DNA evidence can have tremendous utility for sexual assault investigations and prosecution by identifying offenders, revealing serial offenders through DNA matches across cases, and exonerating those who have been wrongly accused.

Murder of Marcia Trimble American child murder victim (1965–1975)

Marcia Virginia Trimble was a nine-year-old girl who disappeared on February 25, 1975, while delivering Girl Scout Cookies in Green Hills, an affluent area in Nashville, Tennessee.

Differential extraction refers to the process by which the DNA from two different types of cells can be extracted without mixing their contents. The most common application of this method is the extraction of DNA from vaginal epithelial cells and sperm cells from sexual assault cases in order to determine the DNA profiles of the victim and the perpetrator. Its success is based on the fact that sperm cells pack their DNA using protamines which are held together by disulfide bonds. The protamines sequester DNA from spermatozoa, making it more resilient to DNA extraction than DNA from epithelial cells.

Forensic biology Forensic application of the study of biology

Forensic biology is the application of biology to associate a person(s), whether suspect or victim, to a location, an item, another person. It can be utilized to further investigations for both criminal and civil cases. Two of the most important factors to be constantly considered throughout the collection, processing, and analysis of evidence, are the maintenance of chain of custody as well as contamination prevention, especially considering the nature of the majority of biological evidence. Forensic biology is incorporated into and is a significant aspect of numerous forensic disciplines, some of which include forensic anthropology, forensic entomology, forensic odontology, forensic pathology, forensic toxicology. When the phrase "forensic biology" is utilized, it is often regarded as synonymous with DNA analysis of biological evidence.

House v. Bell, 547 U.S. 518 (2006), is a United States Supreme Court case challenging the permissibility of new DNA forensic evidence that becomes available post-conviction, in capital punishment appeals when those claims have defaulted pursuant to state law. The Court found that admitting new DNA evidence was in line with Schlup v. Delo (1995), which allows cases to be reopened in light of new evidence.

Morris Solomon Jr. American serial killer on death row

Morris Solomon Jr., known as The Sacramento Slayer, is an American convicted serial killer on death row in San Quentin, California for the murders of six women.

Rape Type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse without consent

Rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual penetration carried out against a person without that person's consent. The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority, or against a person who is incapable of giving valid consent, such as one who is unconscious, incapacitated, has an intellectual disability, or is below the legal age of consent. The term rape is sometimes used interchangeably with the term sexual assault.

Murder of Teresa Cormack

Teresa Maida Cormack was a six-year-old murder victim from Napier, New Zealand. After fifteen years, advances in genetic analysis led to conviction of Jules Mikus for the crime. He had been identified as a potential suspect early in the investigation, but had offered an alibi that was accepted at the time.

Debbie Smith Act United States federal criminal legislation

The Debbie Smith Act of 2004 provides United States federal government grants to eligible states and units of local government to conduct DNA analyses of backlogged DNA samples collected from victims of crimes and criminal offenders. The Act expands the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) and provides legal assistance to survivors of dating violence. Named after sexual assault survivor Debbie Smith, the Act was passed by the 108th Congress as part of larger legislation, the Justice for All Act of 2004, and signed into law by President George W. Bush on October 30, 2004. The Act amended the DNA Analysis Backlog Elimination Act of 2000, the DNA Identification Act of 1994, the Violence Against Women Act of 2000, and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The Act was reauthorized in 2008, extending the availability of DNA backlog reduction program grants, DNA evidence training and education program grants, and sexual assault forensic exam program grants through fiscal year 2014.

Rape investigation is the procedure to gather facts about a suspected rape, including forensic identification of a perpetrator, type of rape and other details.

Forensic serology is the detection, identification, classification, and study of various bodily fluids such as blood, semen, saliva, and urine, and their relationship to a crime scene. A forensic serologist may also be involved in DNA analysis and bloodstain pattern analysis. Serology testing begins with presumptive tests which gives the analyst an indication that a specific bodily fluid may be present, but cannot completely confirm its presence. Following the presumptive tests, confirmatory tests are done on the same sample to confirm what the unknown substance actually is.

This is a list of notable overturned convictions in Canada.

Juan Rivera (wrongful conviction) American man (born 1972)

Juan A. Rivera Jr. is an American man who was wrongfully convicted three times for the 1992 rape and murder of 11-year-old Holly Staker in Waukegan, Illinois. He was convicted twice on the basis of a confession that he said was coerced. No physical evidence linked him to the crime scene. In 2015 he received a $20 million settlement from Lake County, Illinois for wrongful conviction, formerly the largest settlement of its kind in United States history.

Frances Gertrude McGill Canadian forensic pathologist and allergologist (1882–1959)

Frances Gertrude McGill was a Canadian forensic pathologist, criminologist, bacteriologist, allergologist and allergist. Nicknamed "the Sherlock Holmes of Saskatchewan" for her deductive skills and public fame, McGill influenced the development of forensic pathology in Canadian police work and was internationally noted for her expertise in the subject.


  1. Wente, Margaret (26 May 2001). "The endless nightmare of Lisa Dillman". The Globe and Mail Inc. Canada: Phillip Crawley. Retrieved 18 January 2018.
  2. "Sask. doctor sentenced for rape". Regina, Saskatchewan: CBC News. 2000-11-10. Archived from the original on 2012-11-09. Retrieved 2009-01-28.
  3. 1 2 Morton, James (2015). "13 False Forensics?". Justice Denied: Extraordinary miscarriages of justice. Little, Brown Book Group. ISBN   9781472119414 . Retrieved 18 January 2018.
  4. Pacholik, Barb; Pruden, Jana G. (2007). Sour Milk and Other Saskatchewan Crime Stories. University of Regina Press. pp. 115–116. ISBN   9780889771970 . Retrieved 18 January 2018.
  5. Khan, Dr. Firdos Alam (2011). "9 - Medical Biotechnology". Biotechnology Fundamentals. CRC Press. p. 303. ISBN   9781439897126 . Retrieved 18 January 2018. It turned out that he [Schneeberger] had surgically inserted a Penrose drain into his arm and filled it with foreign blood and anticoagulants.
  6. SWANK, MORGAN (22 March 2014). "10 Baffling Forensic Cases That Stumped The Experts - Listverse". Listverse. Listverse Ltd. Archived from the original on 19 January 2017. Retrieved 18 January 2018. Schneeberger was convicted of rape—as well as obstruction of justice—and was sentenced to six years in prison.
  7. "Saskatchewan's sexual assault doctor now in South Africa | CBC News". CBC News. CBC/Radio-Canada. 22 July 2004. Archived from the original on 13 December 2017. Retrieved 19 January 2018. A Zambian-born doctor who planted a tube in his arm filled with someone else's blood to divert a Saskatchewan sexual assault investigation arrived in South Africa Wednesday after Canada deported him.
  8. "Schneeberger seeks work in new home". CanWest News Service. The StarPhoenix. 12 November 2004. Archived from the original on 12 November 2004. Retrieved 12 March 2020. A notorious former Saskatchewan doctor, John Schneeberger, jailed for drugging and raping a patient in a rural Saskatchewan hospital, applied to work in medicine days after being deported to his South African homeland from Canada.
  9. "Film based on Schneeberger airing as parole begins". CBC News. Saskatchewan, Canada: CBC/Radio-Canada. 24 November 2003. Retrieved 19 January 2018. I Accuse, traces the courageous battle that a woman engaged in getting her family physician charged and convicted of sexually assaulting her in a small rural town.
  10. Staff Reporter (22 June 2004). "Disgraced SA doctor expelled from Canada". The M&G Online. Mail & Guardian. Retrieved 18 January 2018. A TV documentary titled "I Accuse" follows his first victim, Candice Foley, then 23, who found herself ostracised by a small-town community that resented her "false" charges against one of its most respected members.
  11. "The best of Forensic files - NLM Catalog - NCBI". U.S. National Library of Medicine. 2002–2004. Retrieved 18 January 2018. —Bad blood : the Dr. John Schneeberger case --
  12. "10 Real-life Crimes That Became Fictional TV Episodes". HowStuffWorks. InfoSpace Holdings LLC. 11 March 2011. Retrieved 18 January 2018. Seem far-fetched? It is. But not very. In 1992, Dr. John Schneeberger, a physician living in Saskatchewan, drugged and raped Candace Foley.
  13. ""Dead Men Talking"". Autopsy. Episode 7. United States. 2001. HBO. Retrieved 18 January 2018. ...a beloved doctor whose rapes might have gone unpunished had it not been for a persistent victim