In 1968, her husband went hunting and disappeared. 50 years later, the wife and children discover the shocking truth. The story I’m going to tell you today took place 63 years ago because that’s when a loving family man and husband and father and successful businessman, Douglas Grenstead left home and disappeared without a trace. It’s hard to imagine that for many years his family mourned him and it was only decades later that they learned the shocking truth. Now the faithful wife and daughters will have to take the rap for the sins of the head of the family and live with this for the rest of their lives.
And it all began back in 1968 when Douglas, granted owner of a lucrative ritual agency, kissed his wife Barbara, hugged his daughters and went for a couple of weeks in the woods to Hunt.It was worth noting that his wife and daughters let him go at ease, as Douglas was a skilled Hunter and was often away hunting in the woods for days at a time.
But when more than a week passed, Barbara became nervous because Douglas was never late. It was worth waiting a few more days. But so it went. For two and even three weeks, the father of the family never came home. The desperate woman realized that she could not wait any longer, so she contacted the police.
The town’s people knew that Douglas was a respectable family man and well versed in the wilderness, so it was clear that he was in trouble. It wasn’t long before the whole town was on the lookout for the missing man. Several hundred volunteers searched for Douglas for a month. The woods were scoured by all the family’s neighbors, police with dogs, rescue workers, the FBI and the National Guard. Even some prisoners were sent out to search.
Photos of Douglas were plastered all over town, printed in local newspapers and media, and soon the first leads were discovered. With the help of a helicopter. In the third week of the search, rescuers managed to locate the man’s camp as well as a tent, some hunting permits, a sleeping bag and even his car. The whole problem was that Douglas himself seemed to have evaporated. There was no sign of him, nor any sign of his death.
Since the strange disappearance of an experienced Hunter said only one thing. The forest does not forgive mistakes. The decision was made to end the search. It was worth noting that even when the authorities gave up inconsolable, Barbara did not abandon attempts to find her beloved husband. She hired private detectives and for years shuddered after every doorbell, each time hoping that her beloved Douglas still miraculously survived and made it home.
Every time someone passed our house, Lynn and I would run to the window to see if it was dead. But every time it was, someone else told reporters. Half a century later, Beth, who was only 13 at the time of her father’s disappearance, and her younger sister, Lynn, was eleven without her husband to come home to. Months later, Barbara was forced to sell the business and move with her children across the state, closer to her parents. She soon found a job as an accountant, bought a small house in the Santa Cruz mountains, and started a new life, all the while never forgetting her Douglas.
The years passed, and after seven years the authorities officially declared Douglas dead. Social Security began paying the family survivors pension. It is worth noting that the woman received generous compensation from the government. Barbara was paid $87,000 over several years, and her daughter’s got $22,000. This was enough to pay for College and other needs.
As for Barbara, she never married again. She continued to wait for the man she loved and hoped for a miracle. For years, she and the girls wondered what could have happened to Douglas. They could not accept his death and console themselves with the idea that he had amnesia, and that’s why he had not returned. Perhaps that would have been the end of the case, and it would still be gathering dust as unresolved.
But as you may have realized, the story soon took a twist. About a year after the disappearance, a man came to the Social Security office and said he had lost his identity card. This stranger introduced himself as Richard Morley and soon received new documents. The grandstand family would probably never have found out the real truth without Richard Morley’s own wife. The fact is that when the woman retired, she complained to the Social Security office about not being paid to which she received a very absurd reply, namely that her husband was not only alive but had continued earning money for years and even paid his taxes in full.
Can you imagine that it was only in May 2015 that Morley’s wife found out that her husband was supposedly alive, according to the documents, but in fact he died in 1968, in the very town where Douglas lived with his wife and daughters. Of course, an FBI investigator became interested in the case. It was he who succeeded in putting a bold end to the tangled case. As it turned out, the false Morley had died of pneumonia seven months earlier, this time for real. As you have already realized, it was the same Douglas who disappeared into the forests of California.
The man was 87 years old at the time, and all those years he had never contacted his wife, daughters, old acquaintances, or even his parents. His parents died without knowing the truth about their son. But what really happened there? And why did Douglas disappear? Looking ahead, it turned out to be trivial.
Shortly before he died, the man wrote a handwritten letter to Social Security with his signature. My current name is Richard Morley, but I stole his identity. I was named Douglas Granstead at birth, and I have no birth certificate for Richard Morley. As the FBI discovered, Richard Morley was one of Douglas’s funeral business clients. But Douglas did not process his death papers in order to steal the deceased identity.
In 1969, Douglas got a new national insurance number and was soon joined by a mistress, just as he had left his family. Imagine it wasn’t until 2016 that Barbara and the daughters heard from their Douglas again. An investigator came to their doorstep and told a woman that all along their missing husband and father was alive and well. What’s more, he was working like the most normal family man, earning money and even living an active life in his new place. In fact, he had not died on the Hunt, but had eloped with his mistress, by the way, a good family acquaintance who lived near them.
What’s more, when Douglas went missing, she went to Barbara and the girls to console them and also took an active part in the search for him. Then, three weeks later, they also disappeared from town, leaving only a note to her spouse in divorce papers. Years ago, no one would have guessed that these events could be connected. But that’s exactly what happened. On hearing the shocking news, Barbara’s heart, which had remained faithful to her Douglas was broken.
She could never understand why he would do such a thing after 15 years of seemingly happy marriage. But a major blow awaited the women ahead. Soon, Barbara and her daughters received a notice from Social Security demanding a refund of all the money they had paid about $109,000. It was a lot of money for them, but the sisters breathed a sigh of relief when a judge ruled that their mother, Barbara, could pay $10 each month until her death and the remaining debts would be forgiven. However, two years later, in September 2018, the 89 year old woman died and the judge overturned the ruling.
The sisters believed that the news of their father’s double life, as well as sudden debts had brought their relatively healthy mother to an early grave. On October 24, a court ruled that the debt could be settled through the sale of her property and home. However, 63 year old Beth continues to live in the house. If the building is given away for the debts, she will simply have nowhere to go. The women have appealed and are looking forward to a new court decision, which could drag on for several years.
As it turned out, in the end, all of Douglas’s family and the real Morley were affected by this story all except Douglas himself, though he can’t be asked about that anymore. Life can be very confusing, and even the person you’ve lived your whole life with may not be who you thought they were friends. What do you think about this story and what were your guesses before you found out the truth. Write about it in the comments. That’s all for today.