John Schneeberger

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Dr. John Schneeberger
Born1961 (age 57–58)
ResidenceDurban, South Africa
OccupationFormer physician
Criminal statusReleased
Spouse(s)Lisa Dillman (divorced)
ChildrenTwo children, plus one stepdaughter and one stepson
Criminal chargeRape, administering a noxious substance, obstruction of justice,
PenaltySix years

John Schneeberger (born 1961) is a North Rhodesian-born former physician who drugged and raped one of his female patients and his stepdaughter while a physician in Canada. For years, he evaded arrest by planting a fake blood sample inside his own body to confound DNA tests.

Early life[edit]

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 practised 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[edit]

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, and raped her. While Versed—the sedative he used—has a strong amnesic effect, Candice 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]

Candice, 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, however, found to be 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 complained about 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]

In media[edit]

His case was depicted in a 2003 true crime series, 72 Hours ("The Good Doctor") on CBC, and in Canadian film, I Accuse.[8][9] It was also featured in an episode of Forensic Files ('Bad Blood') on Court TV, now TruTV.[10]

The case also inspired works of fiction, including "Serendipity", a fifth season episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,[11] 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.[12][13]


  1. ^ WENTE, MARGARET (26 May 2001). "The endless nightmare of Lisa Dillman". The Globe and Mail Inc. (UPDATED 29 MARCH 2017). 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. ^ a b 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. ^ "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.
  9. ^ Reporter, Staff (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.
  10. ^ "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 --CS1 maint: Date format (link)
  11. ^ "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.
  12. ^ ""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
  13. ^ "Autopsy on iTunes". iTunes. 11 March 2001. Retrieved 18 January 2018. a beloved doctor whose rapes might have gone unpunished had it not been for a persistent victim;

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