On October 30th, 2018, one day before Halloween, Michael Carroll discovered a skeleton 8 feet under the basement of his Long Island home. He felt relief. His years-long search for his father, George, had finally come to an end.
Who was George Carroll?
He was born in the early 1930s and served as a corporal in the army during the Korean War.
He got married to a woman named Dorothy. They had their first child, a girl they named Patricia, in 1952. After two years, their second daughter, Jean, was born.
In 1955, George bought a small cottage in Lake Grove, Long Island. It was on Olive Street, a wooded road that was far from everything else. His family moved there.
Steven was born in 1957, and Michael came along in 1961.
The last time George was seen was in 1963. His kids were 11, 9, 6, and 2 years old.
He was said to have left to “do something” and not come back.
The silent Lake Grove home
As they grew up, George’s kids naturally wanted to know more about him. They were told things like “He just left and didn’t come back” and “Don’t ask, it’s not important.”
They remembered as adults, “It was just not talked about.”
Life went on without George. Dorothy never told the police that he was missing. She married Richard Darress at some point, but it’s not clear when. He was a handyman who was working on the Lake Grove house when George left. They had a son.
But George’s kids were still not sure what to do. They were afraid to ask what happened to their dad.
People thought he might have gone back to Korea.
Some people thought he might be buried under the basement. It was “family lore” that George had been “buried under the house since 1961.”
Where did these thoughts come from? We don’t know because we’re not part of the Carroll family. We have no idea what was said in secret inside the Lake Grove house. We do know, though, that George’s kids were told as kids not to ask about their dad, and they couldn’t let him go.
Now that she was an adult, Jean said she prayed every day to find her dad. Steven and Michael, the two youngest, were also determined to find out what was going on.
Dorothy and Richard split up in 1983. There was a move.
Dorothy died in 1998, fifteen years after she was born. Before that, Michael begged her again to tell him what really happened with his dad. “He just left and never came back,” she said again.
Michael’s mother, who was dying, didn’t answer. But he bought the house in Lake Grove from her. He moved in soon after.
Digging up bones
Steven and Michael, George’s sons, spent years trying to find answers. They talked to neighbors and psychics.
When Michael finally bought the house, a psychic went inside, pointed to a place underground, and said that’s where George is buried.
This was the last thing Michael needed to find out if the family rumors about his father were true. He began digging in the basement.
George was 20 years younger than Michael was when he disappeared. Michael was in his 50s at that point. He had his own family and two grown sons named Michael Jr. and Christopher.
His siblings were in their sixties or getting close to it. Since George went missing, a generation had lived and begun to get old.
Michael’s plan to dig up the basement did not go as planned. It was possible for him to damage the foundation of the house, so he had to stop and start several times. He was able to keep doing his work after years of changes to technology.
Furthermore, he wished to speak with Richard Darress, the handyman who had worked at their house in 1963 and had since married Dorothy. He moved to Texas from Mexico. Michael was going to go see him and ask about the death of his father. But Richard died in June 2018, when he was 77 years old. It was the day before Michael was supposed to arrive.
Michael’s only chance to find out what happened was to dig up the basement. Both his mother and Richard were dead. He put all of his strength there.
After that, he had a stroke. He was no longer able to dig. He asked his two sons to take over, so he called them.
One of them came up from the basement on October 30, 2018, and told his father, “There is something you should see.”
Michael, who is 57 years old and still recovering from his stroke, climbed down the stairs slowly. He peered into the hole his kids were making. And saw a dead body.
Someone finally called the police fifty years after George Carroll went missing.
It was Michael, his 57-year-old son. He told the police that he thought the body parts he found in his basement belonged to his father.
The man who was buried under the house was found to be George after some tests. The fact that his skull was broken shows that he died from being hit hard. The police officially said it was a mu*rder.
The case was so strange that it made the news right away. Reporters spoke with both Michael and his older brother Steven. All 2018 news stories say that George went missing in 1961, which is what all four of his children learned as adults. Family stories say that Michael was “only 8 months old” when his dad left.
Everyone, including the police and the news media, thought Dorothy had gone missing in 1961 because she never filed a missing person report.
Cops looking into the mu*rder didn’t find much during the dig, but they did find court records from a case George was involved in while living at the Lake Grove home. It happened in 1963.
The lawsuit didn’t seem to have anything to do with George’s death.
But it turned out that all four kids’ memories of when their dad went missing were two years off. Patricia and Jean, who were 11 and 9 years old when he “went away,” thought it happened in 1961 as kids.
It looks like as much of the truth about what happened to George Carroll as was possible was hidden and changed. It worked in some ways. His kids never gave up on him, though.
Soon after the dig was over, George Carroll was buried at the Calverton National Cemetery in Riverhead. He was given full military honors.
Fifty family and friends came to the service to say their last goodbyes.
It was a sad and happy time for Patricia, Jean, Steven, and Michael. They agreed that they would never know what really happened to their dad in the 1960s. They had to deal with their loss all over again. They ran into some old friends of George’s who told them stories and showed them pictures of their dad. And they were at peace at last.
For his final resting place, they chose the words “He never left.”