In 1961 George Carroll reportedly disappeared from his Long Island residence – and, according to his family, he was never to be seen again. George’s mysterious vanishing haunted his four children for decades afterwards. But it was almost 60 years later that his youngest son, Mike, made a shocking discovery in the basement of the Carroll family home.
George was born back in 1934. When he had grown up, he fought in the Korean War, which took place between 1950 and 1953. Then, by 1961 George had settled in Lake Grove, Long Island, in the state of New York. There, he lived in a little house on a suburban road named Olive Street.
By that point, the Carroll family consisted of George, his wife, Dorothy, and their four children: Patricia, Jean, Steven, and Mike. The Carroll kids were all fairly young in 1961. The eldest, Patricia, was nine years old, while the youngest, Mike, was less than a year old. However, despite their tender ages, the Carroll children’s lives would soon be changed forever.
In many ways, 1961 was a year to remember. World events that occurred included President John F. Kennedy becoming inaugurated as the United States’ 35th president in January. And just a few months later, in April, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human to travel into space.
However, while both these events were significant in terms of history, it was happenings closer to home that would affect the Carroll children the most. That’s because in 1961 their father George apparently disappeared from their family home – never to return again. And all that the man left in his wake was a trail of unanswered questions.
After George went missing, his wife, Dorothy, apparently told their children that their father had left the house to buy cigarettes one night – and had never come home. Mysteriously though, it’s thought that he forgot to take his wallet. Given the curiosities of Dorothy’s account, then, her son Mike – who was just eight months old at the time of his dad’s alleged disappearance – never quite bought it.
But while they were dogged with questions, Mike and his siblings got little in the way of answers from Dorothy. Revealing his mom’s reluctance to talk about his supposedly missing dad, Mike explained to the New York Post in November 2018, “I was always told, ‘Don’t ask’… So, I stopped asking.”
And with their dad’s disappearance seemingly shrouded in secrecy, rumors in the Carroll family were rife. Some relatives reportedly believed that George had fled his family and traveled to Korea, for instance, where he had fought a decade earlier. Meanwhile, a more sinister story apparently suggested that George was dead and buried beneath the family’s basement, which was being constructed around the time of his vanishing.
What’s more, it was later alleged that no one had filed a missing person report in the wake of George’s strange departure. And his vanishing had likely slipped under the radar of the relevant authorities as a result. In the years that followed, then, his family began to move on – despite the unanswered questions that they had about George’s whereabouts.
Then, not long after George had allegedly vanished, a man called Richard Darress moved into the Carroll family home. He became Dorothy’s second husband, and the pair later welcomed a baby boy together. However, this wasn’t a happy ending for the mother-of-four, and her marriage to Darress later fell apart.
Ultimately, Dorothy filed for divorce from her second husband in 1983. Her relationship with Darress had seemingly soured in the two decades after he had joined the Carroll family in their home. In fact, Dorothy had apparently suspected Darress had been unfaithful to her, and at some point in the late 1970s, she had asked him to pack his bags.
After his divorce from Dorothy, then, Darress reportedly moved to Nuevo Laredo in Mexico. The city lies close to the U.S. border – just south of the state of Texas. And Darress also remarried. However, Fox News obtained court records that allegedly reveal that this woman requested a temporary protection order against Darress in 2000 – before their separation.
Meanwhile, as the Carroll children got older, their mother Dorothy apparently maintained her theory that George had abandoned them. And as a result, they stopped asking questions for a while. “There really wasn’t much talk about it,” her son Steven told WABC in November 2018. “But we became curious as adults as to where he might be.”
Darress eventually died in June 2018, aged 77. His former wife Dorothy, meanwhile, had passed away in 1998. And before she died, her youngest son, Mike, had purchased the Carroll family home on Olive Street. He had lived there for almost two decades before he began to wonder if his father really could be buried below his house.
Speaking of the rumors regarding his dad’s final resting place in the family’s basement, Mike told WABC, “It didn’t just come up overnight. It’s something that’s been talked about for years.” He added more detail about the theory, too, saying, “This is something as we grew up, you know, we heard multiple stories.”
Consequently, in the mid-2010s, Mike decided that he would search for some answers by excavating the basement. However, shortly after the work begun, he was forced to abandon his plans. “I was actually digging in the wrong spot,” Mike told News 12. “So I got to the point where it became dangerous because I was afraid my house was going to cave in. So I stopped digging.”
But Mike and his family never gave up on their quest for the truth. With that in mind, the Carroll family later resumed their search for George’s rumored remains. This time though, they employed a range of experts to help them locate any clues. And all the while, Mike did the hard labor himself, painstakingly lifting the heavy concrete basement floor piece by piece.
Among the experts that Mike enlisted was someone who worked with ground-penetrating radar. Said technology uses electromagnetic radiation, which scans below ground to build a picture of subsurface structures. And when used in the Carrolls’ basement, the equipment detected a mysterious mass six feet under the concrete floor.
At another point in his search, Mike turned to a psychic for help – following advice from one of his sisters. And while – being a professional respiratory therapist – Mike is a certainly proponent of science, he was willing to hear a clairvoyant out. “There is, of course, premonitions, gut feelings – things like that,” he admitted to the New York Post.
What’s more, speaking to News 12, Mike later revealed that he’d seen “spirits” in his home as a child. And in another spooky story, he added, “My friend came from Georgia, and he said, ‘Mike, I came out of your bathroom, and I saw a guy standing there, like, you know, a shadow of a man, standing and walking down the stairs.” However, cementing his status as a skeptic, Mike concluded, “But that’s neither here nor there.”
Explaining what had happened during the paranormal investigation, Mike told the New York Post, “There was a guy who came to my basement. And he went to the right spot and said, ‘The energy is here.’” By this point, however, Mike had unfortunately suffered a stroke. As a result, he had his adult sons, Christopher and Michael Jr., take over the search.
And in late 2018 Mike told local television channel News 12 exactly how his sons had become involved in the mission. “I told my kids, ‘Guys come on over here and help me out. You’ve been watching me do this; you get in there,’” he explained. “I think they felt bad for me because they knew this was important to me.”
It was apparently while Mike’s sons were digging in the spot that had been picked out by the psychic that they finally made a breakthrough. There – several feet under the ground – Christopher and Michael Jr. found something that they believed to be of interest. And they alerted their father, who came rushing down to the basement from upstairs.
Mike later told News 12, “It’s not easy for me to get up and down the stairs.” But despite his limited mobility, he was eager to get a closer look. “I actually did get into the hole where they were digging,” he revealed. And then, Mike realized that the unearthed objects may in fact be the remains of a human being.
Later, Mike described the grim sight of the bones to the New York Post. “They were twisted in a knot, weird-looking,” he explained. “It was down and twisted in the dirt… not totally exposed, either.” Mike ensured that his siblings were the first to know about the gruesome discovery. And the day afterwards – which, incidentally, happened to be Halloween – they informed the police.
The Suffolk County Police Department couldn’t immediately confirm the origin of the bones. However, the cops did reveal that they indeed looked human. And with that said, they would need to carry out DNA testing and potentially analyze dental records, too, before they could say for certain who – or what – the bones belonged to.
But even without such confirmation, Mike was convinced that the remains were those of his father, George. “It’s going to be my dad,” he confidently told the New York Post. And revealing that he was able to look on the discovery positively, Mike added, “This is going to be a great thing for him – to be emancipated from that place where he didn’t belong.”
In fact, the discovery of the unidentified bones left Mike with a feeling of “total peace.” Elaborating on his emotions at the time, he told News 12, “I felt vindication for my dad. I felt like he was dancing in heaven.” And so, his sense of closure must have only been strengthened when experts confirmed that the remains did indeed belong to his father.
In December 2018 officials from Suffolk County announced that the skeleton was in fact George’s. And Michael Caplan, a medical examiner for the county, told Newsday, “The DNA was extremely well-preserved within the skeletal remains, even after almost 60 years.” And so, six decades after his disappearance, it seems that Mike and his siblings finally found their father.
Mike was happy to have found answers to some of the questions that had haunted him for so long. He explained to News 12, “I took a chance. I could have done this whole thing and found nothing, and then I would have had a whole messed-up basement.” He added, “I have a messed-up basement. But I’m really glad we found what we found. It puts my family at ease.”
And while it’s likely that the Carrolls will never know the full story behind their dad’s death, an autopsy has provided some clarity. According to the medical report, George was murdered, and his remains show signs of trauma on his skull, which was caused by a blunt instrument. However, experts also said that the impact could have happened after George had already died.
While the injuries that George had reportedly sustained might have shocked some families, the news didn’t come as a total surprise to Mike. That’s because it wasn’t in fact the first time that he had heard said theory. “I was told by the psychic it was blunt force trauma,” he told the New York Post in December 2018. “She actually said to me that it was a pipe – that he got hit in the head by a pipe – and he was buried alive.”
Given the evidence that Mike and his sons uncovered, the family’s hunt for their missing father has apparently morphed into a police homicide inquiry. Commenting on the revelation, Mike later told News 12, “There’s so many open ends here. There’s a story behind the story behind the story.”
According to The Washington Post, meanwhile, the police have their own theories. For instance, they apparently would have liked to have interviewed Mike’s former stepfather, Darress. Given the fact that he had recently passed away, you see, they were unable to question him. And as a result, Mike has kept an open mind on the matter, “I’m trying to avoid pointing a finger at this point,” he told Newsday.
So as the police continued with their investigations, the Carroll family decided not to speculate on what may have happened to George. Instead, they were simply happy to have found him after all that time. “I feel great that my dad is finally free from that crappy hole,” Mike told Newsday.
Besides, given that many people around at the time of his father’s disappearance have since died, Mike isn’t confident that his dad’s murderer will be found. “There will be no justice,” he told the New York Post. “The justice happened when we dug him up because we just interrupted the perfect crime; they almost got away with this.”
And by looking at the discovery of his father’s remains from this point of view, Mike has been able to celebrate the fact that his family finally have some closure. “I tell my sons… we hit a grand slam in the bottom of the ninth – two outs,” he told the New York Post. “We found our dad, so we win.”
It was a sentiment shared by Mike’s older brother Steven, too, who had been five years of age when his dad had gone missing. “It just struck me that he has been here the whole time, and it’s wonderful,” he told the New York Post in November 2018. “The grandchildren can now say Grandpa was found.”
However, despite being happy that his father’s remains have finally been located, Steven is nevertheless haunted by the thought of George’s final moments. “How does something like this happen?,” he asked in an interview with Newsday. “How do you dispose of someone and bury them in the basement and pour concrete over them, and nobody knows about it?”
Even though there are so many questions yet to be answered, then, the Carrolls can now start to think about finally putting their father to rest. They hope to bury him in Calverton National Cemetery on Long Island, accompanied by a military service. “I want him to be a soldier,” Mike told WABC. “I want him to get what he needs.”