May 19, 2024

The Watcher’s Real-Life Unsolved Mystery, Explained

According to Wiedeman, countless other investigative measures were taken: Postal Service employees had been interviewed; cameras were installed at the local post office and at the local library where letters could have been typed. Derek even reportedly considered hiring someone to hack into the neighbourhood’s Wi-Fi networks, an idea that proved too costly and, also, apparently illegal. Nothing substantial was ever found.

Were the Broadduses accused of faking this whole thing?

When new leads dried up and the letters became publicised, fingers were pointed at the Broadduses themselves. However, no signs of DNA or other evidence has linked the couple to these letters.

“There’s a natural tendency to say, ‘I’ve lived here for 35 years; nothing’s happened to me,’” Derek told New York back in 2018. “What happened to my family is an affront to their contention that they’re safe, that there’s no such thing as mental illness in their community. People don’t want to believe this could happen in Westfield. ”

Derek would do himself no favours by sending cryptic letters of his own to some of the family’s most public local critics, on Christmas Eve 2017, as he admitted to Wiedeman the following year. Signed “Friends of the Broaddus Family,” the note “included several stories about recent acts of domestic terrorism in which signs of brewing mental illness had gone unnoticed,” per New York. “It’s like cancer,” Derek told Wiedeman of the case, claiming that these were the only anonymous letters he had written. “We think about it everyday. ”

Who lives in The Watcher house now?

Although the Netflix series moves its central family into 657 Boulevard, the real-life family never made it there, according to New York. Six months after the letters began, the Broadduses opted to sell. But the property would languish in real estate limbo for years. In March 2019, the Broaddus family finally sold the infamous property for approximately $959,000, according to Zillow — well below their already discounted asking price of $999,000. Once the sale was finalised, the Broadduses passed a note to the new owners, which, according to Wiedeman, read: “We wish you nothing but the peace and quiet that we once dreamed of in this house,” alongside a photograph of The Watcher’s handwriting should the need arise. So far, he reported, it hasn’t.

Wiedeman told Vanity Fair that he hasn’t been in touch with the current residents. “They’ve declined to talk about the whole thing and did the same with me,” he said. “So I don’t know much about them, but the good news is that this doesn’t seem to have continued. ”

Are the Broadduses involved in the Netflix series?

Much like the real-life case on which it’s based, the Netflix adaptation was largely shrouded in secrecy. The show’s first teaser, released in early September, featured Jennifer Coolidge’s realtor character, Karen, guiding a tour of 657 Boulevard. She notes the dumbwaiter (“I’m telling you, you could fit a person in there,” Coolidge says with a sideways glance) and implores potential buyers to “keep the curtains closed, there’s a lot of weird neighbours. You don’t want them watching you. ”

There wasn’t even mention of The Watcher beyond a QR code that linked to the show’s official website.

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