Michelle "Shelly" Marie Haensel was killed by Christopher C. Nabors, Ph.D, D.D.S., M.D., a Louisiana State University Medical School doctor on February 17, 1995. She died at the age of 25 in Bayou St. John when the vehicle in which she was a guest passenger vaulted into the Bayou and submerged. Dr. Nabors, driver of the vehicle, was reluctant to cooperate with the police rescuers who arrived at the scene immediately. Shelly's killer, a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania native, was transported from the scene to the emergency room of Charity Hospital in New Orleans where he was an intern. Based on criminal trial testimony, LSU Medical School doctors in the ER room apparently tampered with Dr. Nabors blood work in an attempt to alter his Blood Alcohol Content test results. Dr. Nabors was convicted in spite of the apparent tampering with evidence. He is serving a 15 year sentence for vehicular homicide in a medium security Louisiana State Prison. Articles relating to the incident which became known as Chappaquiddick on Bayou St. John can be found at http://wbhjr.home.gs.net.

Shelly was born on March 30, 1969 in New Orleans, Louisiana. She lived in the New Orleans area her entire life, at home with her parents and sisters. Shelly was Cookie and Bill Haensel's first child. She is survived by two sisters, Nicole Marie and Natalie Marie. Dancing and swimming began for Shelly at the age of 2 along with ice skating. Shelly danced with several local ballet companies.

Shelly attended St. Pius X grammar school in New Orleans, Louisiana and was active in school sports, cheerleading, chorus and plays while maintaining an excellent scholastic record. She also participated in age-group swimming and diving and won many awards for both. Upon graduation from St. Pius X School, Shelly applied and was accepted into Mt. Carmel Academy in New Orleans, Louisiana. She served four years on the Mount Carmel Carmeletts dance team. She was also in the French Honors Society and received the Apostolic Hours Award. While in high school, she became a certified WSI swim instructor, lifeguarded at the Kenilworth Cabana Club in New Orleans, Louisiana, and offered private swim lessons for seven years at home and private pools.

Upon graduation from Mount Carmel Academy in 1987, Shelly attended Nicholls State University in Thibadoux, Louisiana. At Nicholls State she pursued a degree in education, was a residence hall assistant, worked with the university radio station, and was a member of the English Society.

Shelly was very much an unselfish family person. It was therefore not surprising when she interrupted her education to remain home and help care for her terminally ill grandfather until his death in 1994. She continued to help care for her aging grandmother. Shelly worked for several prominent local law firms during this period. In 1995, Shelly returned to college at the University of New Orleans in Louisiana to complete her bachelors degree in English and was just six hours short of graduating at the time of her death.

Shelly's faith, gentle manner, honesty, unselfishness, family values, gentle manner, and wonderful personality will be remembered by all who knew her. She is sadly missed by her mother, father, and sisters every second of their lives and will remain in their hearts forever. May GOD be with us through the remainder of our earthly lives and reunite us in heaven.

A scholarship was established at Mount Carmel Academy in memory of Shelly Haensel. The scholarship fund is in memory of Shelly's love of dancing and is intended to provide partial financial aid to members of the Carmeletts dance team. Anyone wishing to contribute can send their contribution to the Shelly Haensel Scholarship Fund, Mt. Carmel Academy, 7027 Milne Boulevard, New Orleans, Louisiana 70124. Contributions of any amount are accepted.

Submitted by: Cookie and Bill Haensel
Metairie, Louisiana 70002

March 24, 1998


RE: Supreme Court Ruling

I have just learned that the supreme court of the State of Louisiana has ruled to deny Dr. Christopher C. Nabors (LSUMC '95) appeal of his 1995 vehicular homicide conviction and sentence. I write this letter to complement DA Harry Connick's office for their work in this case. Camille Buras, the DA's first assistant, and assistant district attorney Karen Arena are to be complemented for their work during the appeal process. Considering the circumstances surrounding this case, the DA's office was working with one hand tied behind their back most of the time.

I believe the DA's work is newsworthy considering the amount of negative publicity we read about regarding the enforcement of our laws and prosecution of criminals.  The criminal stacked the deck against the NOPD and the DA's office in this case. Only through the DA's perseverance and excellent staff was a conviction achieved.

Through trial and sentencing documents, I learned that the Louisiana State University Medical Center student doctor was a widely known lifelong practicing alcoholic. He was under the supervision of LSUMC since 1989. He was taken to Charity Hospital for treatment the night of the homicide. Trial testimony revealed that LSUMC residents at Charity Hospital apparently destroyed blood samples taken from their friend and intended for drug and alcohol testing at Charity Hospital then later altered blood samples destined for testing by NOPD. Charity Hospital and LSUMC, the institution that operates the hospital, assessed the alcohol-related incident, awarded their student a medical degree just months after the homicide, and then admitted him into their full residency program at Charity Hospital.

Charity hospital and LSUMC withheld critical information from the New Orleans District Attorney's office during criminal prosecution of the homicide. Their code of silence was firm. After the LSUMC doctor was placed in jail, Charity Hospital residents and the LSUMC leadership wrote official letters on State stationary to the judge in an attempt to extricate their doctor from jail. The actions of these institutions made this one of the most difficult cases ever prosecuted by the New Orleans District Attorney's office.

The action and inaction of these institutions revealed their disregard for the judicial system and the problems of alcohol abuse. The leadership of these institutions failed in their duty both before and after the homicide. Some would consider this malfeasance. Some would consider this an obstruction of justice. Without question, their actions represent a breach of the public trust placed in these institutions.

Harry Connick and his staff deserve recognition for their work on the public's behalf.


W. B. Haensel, Jr.

On 5/31/98, I received this from Shelly's father Bill Haensel:

"On another note regarding my daughter's killer, the Louisiana Supreme Court recently rejected the killer's (Christopher C. Nabors MD, DDS, PhD / LSUMC '95)  request for a reduced sentence and a  new trial. I truly believe the killer will now take the federal appeal road ultimately to the U.S. Supreme Court. We can only pray for the correct results."

W. B. Haensel, Jr.


Glides with beauty on the stage
Heart of love appears
Peaceful thoughts of solitude
Captures this premiere

Gracefully she pirouettes
Exquisitely she sways
Twirling in a gentle breeze
To symphony that plays

Swan of beauty magically
Flies through air majestically
Dancing so romantically
Fills all hearts with ecstasy

Moving hands deliberately
Telling story beautifully
Pointed toes this flawless gift
This ballerina has her wish

Dancing on in glowing light
Heart combined with love in sight
Face so filled with much delight
Filled her special dream tonight

Catch her heart it's in the air
Moonbeams falling everywhere
Sparkling in this special glow
Ballerina's first solo.

~ Francine Pucillo ~
Šused with permission






Painting is ŠTom Sierak and used with his permission by 
Moon And Back Graphics to construct this set

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