Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Cue the Dragnet Theme Music

Solve This MysteryOkay so I'm no Joe Friday but what do you think about this? My sister was talking to me last week about what had happened to her neighbors and I'd love to get your theories . . .

This winter my sister's next door neighbor knocked on the door and asked her if they'd like to have a basketball hoop. "Sure! Thanks!" was the easy reply and the hoop sat on the side of the house ready to install once the spring came.

Well winter plugged on and Kendall (my brother in law) happened to mention to Carinne (my sister) one day not long ago, "Have you seen the neighbors lately?"

"Well sure," she said, thinking that of course she must have seen them coming and going at some point.

"Really?" He said, "Because I don't think I've seen them all winter."

This isn't that unusual, people tend to stay inside their homes in the winter, so they kind of tossed that idea around for a minute before forgetting about it until later that week when Carinne got another knock on the door. It was a stranger standing there on the front step. He wanted to know if she'd seen her neighbors recently.

How odd. (Yes, that was my thought too). Turns out the man was with an insurance company and was checking to see if Carinne knew the whereabouts of her neighbors because they had disappeared.

Yup, disappeared. As in vanished. The house was there and all the stuff inside but the people were gone. The house was declared abandoned and the bank was starting into foreclosure proceedings and the man had been sent to determine the amount of damage the house had sustained by not being properly winterized--i.e burst pipes, water damage, whatever.

Now before you dismiss this with a wave of your hand Miss wanna-be-Marple just give it a thought. First--Why would they abandon the house? If someone was having financial trouble then they would have declared bankruptcy and tried to keep at least some of their possessions. Even if you were an illegal immigrant afraid of deportation (and these guys didn't exactly fit the profile) one doesn't just walk away from a house and all the stuff inside--if you were an illegal it would be hard to even buy a house in the first place without proper documentation.

Second--Why would they just voluntarily disappear? If you wanted to avoid the creditors it's awfully hard to just disappear in this techy age--not unless you change your identity which isn't as easy as the movies would make it appear and would of course bring up all sorts of new issues.

Third--Why would they take an old lady? You see the family was a husband and wife but the wife's elderly mother was also living with them. The couple had two children, the oldest being in college and the youngest either still in high school or getting ready to graduate--Carinne wasn't sure. You can't exactly conveniently go on the lam with grandma in tow. Or maybe you can--who'd suspect someone collecting social security of running from the law? But what did they do with their kids? Did the kid in college disappear too?

So, given this stream of thought I'm thinking there's only one logical conclusion: my sister's neighbors were in the Witness Protection Program--probably for giving evidence in a mob killing--and somehow their cover was blown. Probably from someone on the inside which is why they had to make a run for it and not even take time to empty the house. That's the only possible solution.

But while I'm over here excitedly taking notes in my steno pad and dusting off my trenchcoat and best Bogart imitation Carinne only had one question: "So do we still get to keep the basketball hoop or what?"

***

So who won the two This Is Me Keepsake Journals? Stacy from Austin, Texas and Michelle from Killeen, Texas are our lucky winners this week (Texas was the lucky place to be this weekend I guess) but more is coming this Saturday. Don't give up yet! Thank you so much for the nice comments you often leave with your entries, they're such a nice thing to read each Monday morning and I appreciate every one of them.

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47 comments:

Jeana said...

Crazy! But I think you missed the more obvious answer, which is that they were aliens, their mission was over, and they were suddenly beamed back to their home planet.

Scary, really. You'll have to let us know what happened, if you ever find out.

Bunny B said...

Whoaaa!!! I'm sorry, I can't think of anything interesting. But if they were baddies, how scary is that that they're neighbors.

Like Jeana, I'd like to know what happened too. If you find out, that is.

ps: So how are those basketball games coming along? :P

Rebecca said...

I think I kind of agree with you - Witness Protection and had to be moved quickly. But would the banks etc not be told? To avoid drawing attention to them? Maybe not, I dunno. Yeah, Witness Protection makes sense.

Lori said...

Oh man, you are going to have to keep us informed on this mystery. Perhaps it would make for a good writing contest!

Nan said...

The weirdest part of this for me is that she didn't realise they were gone for such a long time! It must be so strange not to know your neighbours. But at the same time, kinda nice? Our neighbours are so ever-present that some days I wish we didn't know them! But then there will be a bush fire or something and everyone comes running, and I love them all over again.

Chris said...

Wow, I've heard of people moving out in the meddle of the night to avoid paying rent, but they take their stuff with them!

The WPP theory sounds plausible. Hmmm. How about they went to a foreign country for the winter and either (A) were kidnapped by rebels or (B) decided that this was the life and leave everything behind them, including their stuff...and debt.

Megan (FriedOkra) said...

I like Chris's theory. And you know, from News of the Weird, that stranger things have happened. I wonder if giving away the basketball goal was part of the disappearance or just coincidental? Maybe, just maybe, they'll show up again. Now stay just behind the curtains and keep those eyes peeled like a good little Jessica Fletcher and keep us all informed. You'll be penning that best-selling murder mystery in no time!

Pendullum said...

Crazy....
Keep us posted...
Very strange story...

Edi said...

I can imagine not seeing my neighbors all winter - at least the older lady on one side...I rarely see her.

Perhaps the basketball hoop was given away in anticipation of a quick get-a-way. Why give that away and take nothing else?

Hmmmm have they searched the hoop for any hidden messages????

I LOVE mysteries....how about this theory - the old mother was "done in" kind of an accidental killing in the heat of the moment - they panicked and took off to hide the body. They didn't come back home after that b/c when they were returning to their home there just happened to be a police car down the street - they figured it was the police looking for them and so they decided to go on the lam.

I would think if you were in debt you'd try selling stuff off or pack it up and take it with you...maybe they figured their creditors could just take it all to settle the debt without them having the humility of being around when it happened.

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

Yes, I don't think we can ignore the importance of the basketball hoop in all this. Why, if they were running for their lives, did they stop and think, "Oh, wait, our neighbors would really love that hoop..."

I think they all went on a car trip, the car pitched over into a deep icy chasm, and (since the entire family was in the car)(was the car still at the house, by the way? you left out that important detail), no one knew that they were missing.

Prisca said...

I LOVE it! I would be all over that mystery. Even better that the insurance adjuster was there. You suppose they figured that out by unpaid bills? I'd think they would've had to go unpaid a LONG time to get the insurance guy there. Then again, if it's a foreclosure....

I have heard of this happening once before, but it was a family of folks from Africa and they just left the entire contents of their house -- poof!

Great mystery.

lifemoreabundant said...

Actually: regarding your illegal alien point: it's very easy to purchase property as an illegal, actually. I'm a legal alien, but both times I've bought property, no one has even asked. As long as you have a job and an SSN you're good. All the banks care is that you'll pay your bill.

This happened to my sister, and it turned out that no one actually lived next door. They were growing drugs in the house. Of course it wasn't a bank who rang her doorbell, it was the leader of a SWAT team telling her to keep her children inside until they were finished raiding. It was very exciting.

Lori - Queen of Dirty Laundry said...

Okay, I'm so nosy that this would drive me crazy - in fact, it probably will way over here in Texas.

I just can't figure why they would leave their stuff! Clothes, too? Was there food left in the house? KEEP US POSTED!

I just saw on the news last night where neighbors had police check on an elderly lady, and her skeletal remains were found on her couch. Here's the kicker - the lawn had been mowed and the mail picked up. What the heck?

Tamara said...

Wow, if I'd realized TX was going to be so lucky, I'd have entered. But, since we don't have kids yet, it seemed greedy to enter.

I totally thought Witness Protection Program as I was reading your post. That seems like the most likely answer. After all, who cares if your credit is ruined if you're not you anymore?

Either that, or the whole family went on a cruise & fell overboard.

My Ice Cream Diary said...

Well, I have an in-law that has, several times, just up and left. Not quite this mysteriously, but they left their car and house (sadly they also left several family heirlooms) to be repossesed because they didn't want to be bothered with the work of paying for them or trying to save them.

I would think the Witness Protection group would take care of the loose ends. Did her neighbors have foreign accents? Were they illegal or unfamiliar with the Amercan ways of bankruptcy or moving? Were they clean neighbors? Maybe they were just lazy.

I think that they had a stolen grandma and had to run before her real family could find her.

Amy G. said...

Wow--that is really strange. We have a house in our typical suburban neighborhood that had an "auction it all" last Sunday. The family has been gone for a couple of months, which is sad, but I thought it may have been the mortgage meltdown. Except the contents of the house were auctioned, and that's unusual.

I hope your neighbors are OK, wherever they are.

Kelly @ Love Well said...

The zombies strike again.

I tell ya, they're coming for us all.

Karen said...

Well, that is certainly odd. I think you're on to something with the whole federal witness protection program. Unless they were murdered. Yikes.

Cocoa said...

You never can tell about those people from Alaska . . .

Jordan (MamaBlogga) said...

Very strange! Unfortunately, I have no theories, because I cued the Perry Mason theme instead of the Dragnet theme.

(Though I do have one theory, really: wait till breakup's over, then see if they're still missing....)

Heidi said...

This is my theory - they went for a drive and took a wrong turn onto an old logging road. It started to snow, they got lost, they...well...they never made it out. This actually happened to a mother and her son in Montana where I live. They didn't find them until spring and everyone thought they ran away...

Scribbit said...

A couple extra details: I don't think anyone suspects foul play because my sister never noticed police over at the house and you'd think if they thought something like that had happened there would have been police all over the place.

I wish I knew if the car was missing or if food was left. That would have made for interesting details.

But Kelly? I loved your comment so much I had to read it to my husband while he was getting ready this morning. You're hysterical (you too Jeana)

But I sure hope they're okay, wherever they are.

Scribbit said...

Oh and a stolen Grandma? Liz you're a crack up.

It's actually not that odd to not see your neighbors all winter. I mean we notice ours coming and going but we don't have too much interaction with them when it's full of snow outside. Once the snow melts everyone emerges from their homes to catch up and see if we all made it through.

Alice Wills Gold said...

Witness protection was mt first thought, but maybe they were all killed in a boating accident or something?

You should watch mobsters and mormons...I heard it is funny.

Beck said...

Eeeep, that's kind of scary! I can think of a few more frightening possibilities, too.

The Source said...

Speaking as someone who has shown tons of foreclosed properties...they do tend to take their important stuff with them when they leave. Sometimes they will also take the kitchen cabinets, light fixtures, towel bars, fireplace inserts and air conditioning duct work. And sometimes they will leave every scrap of garbage or food they don't want.

I say it was a family of time travelers...Quantum Leap style. When they gave away the hoop, their job here was done and POOF! they moved on to the next Leap!

Motherhood for Dummies said...

all I know is that curtis and I want to buy that house! Well....if it goes for about $150,000... maybe :)

imadramamama said...

That is just weird! And it's the sort of thing that will just fester until you find out what really happened...

But I have to admit that I was also curious about the basketball hoop by the end of the story, LOL!

Anonymous said...

Hi Scribbet,
This is off the subject of Dragnet, but instead a question concerning leaving comments. I've noticed that my comments have never appeared in the comment section whenever I have signed up for one of your fabulous give-aways. (I don't care so much about others reading the comments, but would like to be considered for these drawings! )
I always click on to the entry page, fill out my email and name, and usually leave a comment. You replied once to me, so I know that at least one made it through. Any suggestions?

Thank you so much and keep up the great blogging,
Melanie Glenn (an avid, faithful reader of yours and mom of four, in Northern California)

Scribbit said...

Dear Melanie (anonymous)

Since I can't respond to you any other way I hope you check back here so I can answer your question.

If you fill out the giveaway entry form just as you say you have been doing then I've had your entry. People will leave comments on the giveaway posts themselves but that's completely separate from the entry form I use.

To explain: I have a separate entry form set up and every time someone enters it sends a generic message to a separate email account of mine where all of the entries collect until Monday morning when I do the drawing. I get between 400-900 entries for each giveaway (depending on how specific to a certain group of people the giveaway item is) so it's an easy way to collect the entries and for people to remain anonymous (they may not want their email info setting out here in the comments section for anyone to read you know?)

So don't worry, if you filled out the form I got your entry and you were included. And if people leave comments on the post it's very nice for me to read but that doesn't count as an entry.

Does this answer your question?

So none of the entries show up here, they go to my email account to await the drawing.

Janet said...

That is so weird. I think I'd have to agree with the theories of driving into a snowbank or something. One time in Atlanta a man was investigated on suspicion of killing his fiancee on the WAY TO THEIR WEDDING. She was behind him in her car. They found her 6 months later - her car had gone off the road for some reason. The reason they didn't find her in June? The kudzu had swallowed her up and closed in again over her. Evil stuff, kudzu.

Kim Priestap said...

Ooh. What an interesting mystery. I'd love to know what your sister learns.

Rebecca said...

I don't know why everyone is dancing around the obvious....Alien abduction!

that girl said...

sometimes a black hole opens and then shuts reaaaally quick.

I'm thinking the Universe swallowed them up.

planetnomad said...

They probably stumbled upon some doorway to an alternate world, like Narnia only one on the same time schedule as our own world. They'll be back, assuming they can slay the dragon and survive the quest. Do you think they will?

Patience said...

I'm not sure about that family, but I'd be concerned about your sister. Maybe there is some sort of espionage going on and that basketball hoop will ultimately lead the bad guy/mafia to her. I'd definitely check for bugs!

Keep us "posted" on the outcome!

chelle said...

cue X-File theme song!!! creepy!

John & Laura said...

Aaugh!! I want to know the end of the story! (not that anyone may ever know) I used to love/hate "Unsolved Mysteries" -- so interesting, but so annoying to not know the whole story. Guess that's why it's "unsolved". ha ha

Thanks for the great stories. You are such an entertaining writer.

Audra Marie said...

Did they take their clothes? Purse? Wow - what an interesting mystery for sure. And now I'll be wondering what happened to these people I've never met lol.

dpenguin said...

On the serious side... has anyone been IN the house? Is it possible they are in there, deceased? Such things DO happen, occasionally. Although that wouldn't explain the kid in college... unless he did it and skipped out... or was home at the time and is one of the deceased... :-/

alotalot said...

I'm with Edi...search the hoop for a hidden clue to their wear-abouts. I have to agree an alien abduction does seem more likely than witness protection.

Anonymous said...

It's not so far fetched to be the Witness Protection Program. When I was a kid, my mom had a really close friend who (with a husband and two daughters) had to enter the program. Her husband was a corrections officer who had been threatened by someone "powerful" in the jail system. It broke my moms heart to see her friend go, but they were gone within hours and could have absolutely no contact with anyone they had known.

I've often wondered about the daughters who were close to my age. As adults, did they resent what happened?

In regard to the basketball hoop, take it for what it was. They knew they were leaving and that all their stuff would be left too. They were doing a kind deed by making sure it went to someone who appreciated it.

Sometimes close relatives can enter the program too. It makes things a bit more difficult (more people, more worries), but it may have been for her protection too.

You will probably never know the complete story of what happened.

diane allison-stroud said...

funny you... my sister and i are always doing the miss marble with each other over the phone, me in n.c., she in fla. i must agree, it was the WPP... had to be!

Rina said...

I was straight away suspicious about the basketball hoop. Even if they were leaving voluntarily; WPP or in hiding, they didn't have to give away the hoop. Did they?

I have to agree with patience, the basketball hoop might implicate your sister in some way. Or could be just the clue to find their whereabouts. Or the clue what had happened to them (check for cleaned up blood!).

But of course, it could be that there were on a winter vacation and got killed or murdered and it was just coincidental that they give the hoop away.

I'm curious why the police haven't showed up. Maybe there hasn't been a police report so nobody suspects anything. This could only mean that the whole family (their relatives) haven't made a police report. Or maybe they haven't realized that the missing family are missing. Or it's too early to get suspicious. Or this could support the WPP theory.

My mind is racing right now! I've seen too many CSI haven't I? Please keep us updated!

Babystepper said...

Actually, it's not nearly as unusual as you think. I know of at least three instance that just I've seen where exactly that happened. I've cleaned out rent houses with all the food still in the fridge, the dirty clothes on the floor. We even found family pictures and a couples marriage certificate in one of them. Also their guns, coin collection...everything.
My grandpa couldn't count on his hands how many times he's seen it happen. (He owns rent houses.) There are some stupid, messed up people out there.

Juno said...

I read this whole thing to my middling, the detective wannabe...he is convinced they were abducted in the middle of the night and will never be found. I think you are on to something with the witness protection program.

Juno

Giovanni Amato said...

OMG! So, did we find out what happened yet? That is really crazy!