Mystery Solved: The Man Who Disappeared Into His Home For Over 60 Years Without a Trace
This is the story of a man who mysteriously vanished in his own house. In 1961, George Carroll disappeared in his Long Island home. His disappearance left great sorrow in the hearts of his four children. They were heartbroken, yet they didn’t know what to do or where to look for him.
As heartbreaking as it is, his disappearance was still a complete mystery until his youngest child, Mike, discovered something strange. After 60 years of wondering about his whereabouts, a finding in their basement brought shocking revelations that answered some of their burning questions. We suggest that you get settled and grab some tissue for this one.
A Brief Family History
Let’s start with the man who vanished: George Carroll. George was born in 1934, in one of the worst years of the Great Depression. It was the year when many people turned their backs on those who had promised a better future. The situation was increasingly dark and depressing.
George married a woman named Dorothy, and they had four children: Patricia, Jean, Steven, and Mike. The four children were all so young when they got news of their father’s disappearance. The eldest, Patricia, was nine, and their youngest, Mike, was less than a year old.
The Year is 1961
The year 1961 was a year to remember. This year shaped the world as we know it today in many ways. A truly remarkable event took place in 1961: Yuri Gagarin and a team of scientists conducted the first human space flight.
In January 1961, John F. Kennedy was sworn in by Chief Justice Earl Warren as the 35th President of the United States. Kennedy was the United States’ first Catholic President and the youngest to be elected. During JFK’s inaugural speech, he encouraged his fellow citizens to “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”
The Carroll Family in 1961
Of all the events of 1961, the most shocking event in the Carroll Family was the disappearance of their patriarch. This was the year their father vanished without leaving any clue. It marked the start of changes in their family, and not for the better.
Only their father’s absence and an abundance of unanswered questions were left behind. It was one of the most challenging times of their life for the children and for their mother. Given that they were so young at that time and couldn’t understand, they were all affected by the trauma in different ways.
The children were left with nothing but questions, and so they turned to their mother for answers. Their mother, who was also shaken by what happened, could only offer sparse details to her children. As they grew older, they asked her multiple times for answers over the years.
But Dorothy would only say a few words about it. It seemed that their mother was unwilling to talk about their missing father. In a New York Post interview from November 2018, Mike said, “They always told me, ‘Don’t ask’… So I stopped asking.”
George’s disappearance was a crisis for the family. Dorothy, who was also baffled by what had happened, was never able to give concrete answers to her children. Without any facts, Dorothy would occasionally tell her children that their father had left the house one night to get cigarettes and that he never made it home.
But there were holes in that story. For example, the children found their father’s wallet somewhere in the house. Why would he have left for the store without it? Their youngest son, Mike, who was only eight months old when his father disappeared, never believed it.
Rumors Started to Spread - The First Theory
Since there were more questions than answers regarding George’s disappearance, rumors started to circulate around the neighborhood. When people don’t get answers to a mystery like that, their curiosity gets the better of them, and they start to believe their own speculations.
The most popular rumor was that their father had left his family behind to fly to Korea, where he had been a decade before. George was one of the soldiers who participated in the Korean War between 1950 and 1953. It’s an odd theory, but it’s what took off.
Theory Number Two
But the speculation did not end there. Instead, people began spreading another, quite sinister, rumor as time went by. George was said to have been buried under the family’s basement, which was being built at the time of his disappearance. People truly believed that his body would be found underneath the house.
If true, it meant that George had never left at all. It’s scary to think that his body might still be there, waiting for someone to discover it. Besides being a frightening thought, this rumor must have been painful for the family to hear and deal with.
The Authorities Didn’t Know
Following George’s sudden disappearance, it was later claimed that no one had actually filed a missing person report. Consequently, the authorities were likely never aware of his absence. Despite their unanswered questions, his family began to move on in the following years.
If there was one person who could have reported that George was missing to the authorities, it was Dorothy. She was the only person who could do that, the only person who should have thought of doing it, but she failed to do so. But why?
Dorothy’s Second Husband
Shortly after George’s disappearance, a man named Richard Darress moved into the Carroll family house. Eventually, he became Dorothy’s second husband, and the two had a son together. When you think about the timeline, it all seems a bit fast.
Unfortunately, their relationship did not last. Dorothy and Richard did not have a happy ending, as their marriage ended in divorce. We can’t imagine how difficult it must have been for the kids, first to lose their father and then see their mother go through a divorce.
Darress and Dorothy’s Divorce
The splitting of Dorothy and Richard had nothing to do with the disappearance of Dorothy’s last husband. In 1983, Dorothy filed for divorce on the grounds that Richard had been unfaithful. She had already asked him to pack her bags sometime in the late 1970s.
Whether her suspicions were true or not is not certain. What is certain is that this must have added fuel to the fire when it came to neighborhood rumors. It must have been hard for the kids to go through all that.
What Happened to Darress?
Richard Darress went to Mexico after his divorce from Dorothy, where he remarried. However, according to court records acquired by Fox News, Darress’ new wife sought a temporary protection order against him in 2000, before her divorce.
Although there’s not much information about Richard Darress, all of this raises uncomfortable questions about his relationship. The cheating allegations—and now the protection order—say a lot about his character. As for Darress, he passed away in June 2018 at the age of 77.
George Abandoning His Family Still Continues
The rumors about George abandoning his family were still going strong as his children grew older. It was because of Dorothy that many believed that George had left them of his own volition. It wasn’t clear why she thought of that in the first place, given that there was never any evidence to back the theory up.
And because she kept on giving the same answer to the question, the children stopped asking. In November 2018, her son Steven told WABC, “There wasn’t a lot of conversation about it. We grew curious about where he may be as grownups.”
A Son's Search For Answers
Mike, the youngest son, bought the Carroll family house before Dorothy died in 1988. He still lives there to this day. As many memories were made with the rest of the family in that house, it’s just right that one of the family members should have it.
But it wasn’t just about memories for Mike. He began to wonder if the rumors about his father being buried in their basement were genuine after all those years of hearing them. We get it; there’s no harm in wondering. Better to know than to not.
Mike Starts His Own Search
We can say that George and Dorothy’s children were deprived of answers simply because there were no clues whatsoever. Dorothy wasn’t able to share any information with her children. It’s not surprising that they wanted to uncover the mystery themselves.
“It didn’t happen overnight. It’s something that’s been spoken about for years,” Mike said of the theories that his father’s ultimate resting place was in the family basement, adding, “This is something that, as we got older, you know, we heard various stories.”
The Digging Begins
Since Mike owned the family house, he could start doing whatever he wanted to do to it. In 2012, Mike decided to dig down into the basement to find some answers. It was a courageous act, knowing that the results could haunt him for the rest of his days, but he continued.
He was forced to abandon his plans shortly after excavation began. Mike informed News 12, “I was actually digging in the wrong place. So it got to the point where it became dangerous because I was afraid my house would collapse. So I stopped digging.”
The Search Was On
Just because Mike’s first attempt was stopped by an engineering issue, he didn’t lose hope. Mike and his family never gave up their quest to find out the truth. If you are that desperate to find answers, no one can stop you from hunting for them.
Soon after they gave up their first attempt, they began again. This time, however, they recruited a team of experts to assist them. Not content to let other people do all the work, Mike did all of the heavy lifting, raising enormous concrete chunks out of the basement piece by piece.
The First Clue
With the help of the experts, Mike and his family were able to find their first clue. Someone who worked with ground-penetrating radar was one of the people Mike got on board. This type of technology examines subsurface structures using electromagnetic radiation to create an image of what’s underneath.
They discovered a mysterious mass six feet below the basement’s concrete floor using the ground-penetrating radar. It was a huge discovery because it exposed something that a mere human could never reach with their senses. Technology really is groundbreaking sometimes.
Using All The Available Means
Yes, the first clue was helpful. But for Mike, it still wasn’t enough. Mike was willing to do anything to get to the bottom of his father’s disappearance. If we were in Mike’s shoes, we would also do whatever we could to find what truly happened to our father.
Following the advice of one of his sisters, Mike sought the aid of a psychic. Mike was eager to hear what the clairvoyant would say, even though he was more of a believer in science than the supernatural. Mike said to the New York Post, “There are, of course, premonitions, hunches, things like that.”
Mike’s Childhood Ghost Encounter
Mike later disclosed to News 12 that he had seen “spirits” in his residence as a child. It’s typical for children to say they saw something only they could see. Childhood is a time when our imaginations have no limits.
“My friend came over from Georgia and said, ‘Mike, I came out of your bathroom, and I saw a guy standing there, like, you know, the shadow of a man, standing up and coming down the stairs’—But that’s beside the point,” Mike said, shuddering.
What The Psychic Revealed
It may seem unlikely and unscientific, but there have been stories about psychics helping out in police investigations. Although some people are skeptical about them, psychics say that they can actually help to solve cases just like this one.
Mike got valuable information from his visit to a psychic. When asked about what transpired during the paranormal investigation, Mike told the New York Post, “There was a guy who came into my basement. And he went to the right place and said, ‘The energy is here.”
Mike and His Sons
To make matters more complicated, Mike suffered a stroke during the course of his investigation. But because his family was there to support him, the search continued in his absence. His two adult sons, Christopher and Michael Jr., took over.
Mike explained to News 12 how his sons got interested in the project: “I told my kids, ‘Guys, come here and help me,’ They’ve been watching me do this,’” he explained. “I think they felt bad for me because they knew this was important to me.”
The Turning Point
It was just another day when Christopher and Michael Jr. hit the jackpot. As Mike’s sons were excavating the psychic’s specified site, they made a huge breakthrough. What they found was surreal. They couldn’t wait to let their father know.
Christopher and Michael Jr. discovered something they felt was interesting several feet underground. Imagine being them and being able to eagerly tell their father about it. We are 100% sure their father was thankful for what they did, not just because they found something, but because they were there for him all throughout the project.
After his son notified him about their discovery, Mike rushed down to the basement. “It’s not easy for me to go up and down the stairs,” he said. But despite his limited mobility, he was eager to view the new discovery. “I actually got into the hole where they were digging,” Mike told News 12.
When Mike got down into the pit, he found what seemed to be the remains of a person. Given that Mike suffered a stroke not long before, we can’t imagine how he handled that situation. It must have been a great relief and a great tragedy at the same time.
What Was Buried
The sight that Mike and his sons uncovered was gruesome. “He was twisted into a knot, weird-looking,” he explained. “He was lying twisted in the dirt… he wasn’t totally exposed either,” Mike told the New York Post. We can’t imagine what kind of person could treat a human body like that.
Mike didn’t forget to reach out to his siblings when he recovered from the shock. He made sure they were the first to know. They also alerted the police the next day (which actually happened to be on Halloween).
The Real Investigation Begins
After contacting his siblings, Mike alerted the authorities about the discovery. He knew that by doing so, the police could finally help to put an end to their family’s misery. We think that calling in the police was probably something their mother, Dorothy, should have done all those years ago.
Before the Suffolk County Police Department could identify for sure who (or what) the bones belonged to, they would need to do a DNA test and maybe study the dental records as well. The police confirmed that the bones were indeed human.
Mike was relieved that his role in finding his father’s remains was over. Even if the results from the police were still ongoing, Mike was certain that the bones he found belonged to his father. That kind of thinking makes sense, given the kind of rumors that had been around for all those years.
He told the New York Post, “[They’re] going to be [of] my father.” Mike continued by saying, “This is going to be a great thing for him—to be emancipated from that place where he didn’t belong,” revealing that he took the revelations with a good attitude.
Not a Single Doubt From Mike’s Heart
Mike was very confident that the bones belonged to his lost father. He was entirely at ease when they uncovered them. It was as though he could see his father in the distance, thanking him and offering him closure on all those years of pain.
“I felt a vindication for my dad. I felt like he was dancing in the sky,” Mike told News 12. And when the authorities confirmed that it was really his father’s remains, he felt that his father was watching from above with a smile—they found him, or at least what was left of him.
The Big News
In December 2018, after a couple more months of testing, the officials from Suffolk County confirmed that the bones did indeed belong to their father, George. This was the news the Carroll family had waited on for over 60 years.
“The DNA was extremely well preserved within the skeletal remains, even after nearly 60 years,” county medical examiner Michael Caplan told Newsday. Mike and his brothers finally had definitive answers about their father’s fate after such a long time.
What Happened to George?
The discovery of George’s body was one thing. It dashed the rumors that he had left his family to fend for themselves all those years ago. However, one question remained: What really happened to him? Obviously, he didn’t climb into the hole after digging it himself.
After investigating the body, the police concluded that George had been murdered. According to the medical report, it was revealed that he had received blunt force trauma to the skull. However, experts suggested that the impacts may have been made after George had already passed away.
The Investigation Aligns With the Psychic's Information
Finding out that their father had been murdered was quite a surprise for Mike’s siblings, but not so for Mike. Unlike them, he was not as taken aback by the revelations. The psychic Mike had hired earlier in his investigation clued him into this detail.
In December 2018, he told the New York Post, “The psychic informed me it was blunt force trauma,” adding, “She informed me it was a pipe, that he was buried after being struck in the head with a pipe.”
“There’s so much unfinished business here. There’s a story behind the story behind the story,” Mike told News 12. While one question was answered, several more questions appeared. For Mike, this wasn’t the end—it was just the beginning.
However, Mike took some time to grieve with the rest of his family. Finding his father’s remains was initially his ultimate goal, and he achieved what he set out to do. After all his efforts, he deserved a good, long rest.
The police, on the other hand, had their own theories, according to The Washington Post. They reportedly wanted to speak with Mike’s ex-stepfather, Darress, for example. However, they were unable to question him since he had recently passed away. As a consequence, Mike had maintained an open mind about it, telling Newsday, “I’m trying to avoid pointing fingers right now.”
If only they had found the body a little earlier, they would have had potentially more answers. And what of Darress? His sudden arrival to the family all those years ago was a little off; you have to admit. And of course, what about their mother? She seemed very nonplussed for someone whose husband had just disappeared without any trace. Questions, questions, questions. But Mike didn’t want to get wrapped up in creating false theories and blame.
Life Must Go On
The Carroll family opted not to speculate about what could have happened to George while the police completed their investigation. They were just ecstatic to have found him after all these years. Mike told Newsday, “I feel great that my dad has finally gotten out of that nasty hole.”
Given the situation, we think that what Mike and his siblings did was the best thing to do. They had found their father. Although there were still questions, they had peace of mind. And sometimes, peace of mind is enough.
Is It Time To Move On?
George’s disappearance happened long ago. Many of the other residents in the neighborhood had already passed away, and many had left to other places. The number of potential leads would have been endless.
Even Mike had doubts about solving his father’s case. In one of his interviews in the New York Post, he said, “Justice passed when we dug it up because we just interrupted the perfect crime. They almost got away with it.”
A New Start
Finding his father was something Mike had always dreamt of doing. Now that he had, he needed to celebrate. He told the New York Post, “I tell my kids … we hit a grand slam in the bottom of the ninth, two outs,” adding, “We found our dad, so we won.”
It’s just comforting to know that Mike has been able to find solace in the answers which had been hidden for so long under the earth. If he hadn’t acted, he might have been left with this pain for the rest of his days. Finally, he can now move on.
The Heartwarming Message of Steven
Steven, another one of George and Dorothy’s sons, was also relieved to have found his father’s remains. He was five years old at the time of his father’s disappearance. He was too young to understand what had happened. He never believed that their father had abandoned them like their mom told them all those years ago.
In November 2018, he told the New York Post, “I was surprised that he was here the whole time, and it’s wonderful. The grandkids can now say they found Grandpa,” he added. We know that they had been waiting all their lives to find out what had happened to their father.
Steven was still baffled by who would do this to his father, though he was grateful. We couldn’t bear to think about such an idea—who would do that to someone we loved so dearly? Someone may have done something horrible to their father in their house, but they had no idea who.
The memory of George’s final moments haunts Steven. In an interview with Newsday, he asked, “How does something like this happen? How do you get rid of someone and bury them in the basement and pour cement on them without anyone knowing?”
The End of Their 60-Year Saga
There are still many questions regarding the discovery of their father’s body, and the siblings still desire to find out more information. The Carrolls can now begin to think about finally laying their father to rest. After all, they’d always wanted to give their father a proper burial.
They want to give him a military-style burial in Long Island’s Calverton National Cemetery. Mike mentioned to WABC, “I want him to be a soldier. I want him to get what he needs.” We wish Carroll’s family the best of luck finding real happiness and peace for the future.