Digging up Dad

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Grant B, May 7, 2002.

  1. Grant B

    Grant B Producer

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    About 15 years ago, I found myself with a day off from work in Central Flordia.For some strange reason, I ended up at the lake where my Father drowned 25 years earlier when I was one year old. I knew very little about him or his death so I looked up some newspapers on file in the public library. I found two small articles that led to more questions than answers. In fact everything I found made very little sense and asked only more questions. A few for instances:

    A wrong death certificate. My father was my grandfathers only child. He went down to 'identify the body'. It said he was never married ( grandpa was the best man at the wedding), never in the services (air force and the reserves for nearly 7 years) no SS # and had his middle name mispelled. The certificate was signed by a judge who admitted to me he never saw the body. There are no hospital records, coronor records no burial records and no records of anyone even digging a hole.Some how he got boxed up in flordia and buried in Wisconsin (closed casket).

    Then I started finding out the real strange stuff.

    He applied for a drivers license in Ohio a day after he died in Flordia.

    He took my mother to Cuba right before the bay of Pigs where he pointed out such things as a unmarked Prison where Castro kept political prisoners, Knew a voice on the radio was Castro (Ohio and Wisconsin was not hotbeds of Spanish speaking in the 50s). Honeymoon photos of Cannons and defence positions with soldiers (I would of got killed if I took those photos on my honeymoon).

    When I pulled his service records I found he received an honorable discharge from the air force in 6 weeks. He told his family he was thrown out of the service.

    I received Social Security up to College since I was the only heir. SS has no records of him and his death.

    After quizing mom and his half brother found little strange stories like

    Mom went to bed with him one night and the next morning he was gone. 3days later he called from Santo Domingo (Went to sleep in Toledo Ohio) where he was diving for bodies from a bus that went off a bridge?!?!?!

    Called one day and to tell my mom to watch the news. He was reporting about the overthrow of a South American dictator from the capital city. He did not work for TV or radio.

    His name shows up in classifed CIA files;the contents not released

    The FBI claims to have no records of him

    I checked to see how much to dig him up and see if there is anyone there (there is a tombstone!)

    Up to $8000 and the local Quincy says until there is proof of a crime. I have to pay up

    Any good movie writers out there who want a great story for $8k???

    Don't know the ending yet
     
  2. BrianW

    BrianW Cinematographer

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    Wow, Grant! I'd pay money for that story (if I were in the market for one, that is).
    Is there a chance you could get an investigative reporter involved? This is the kind of thing I'd like to see on 60 Minutes or even 20/20. Hopefully, it won't end up on John Stossel's Give Me A Break! segment. [​IMG]
     
  3. Grant B

    Grant B Producer

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    Thanks

    I sent some details once to unsolved mysteries (or something) and at the time they said they were not looking for new stories.

    Been stuck at this point for a while. I even talked to a homicide detective in WI. At first he thought I was a crackpot. 3 days later he found the cemetary records skip him and nobody was paid to dig a hole. His mind changed very quickly

    The bad thing, if there was a crime, it would have taken place in Flordia; so Wisconsin won't pay to exhume.

    $8k is a lot when your wife is out of work, but it would be nice to know if he lived.

    His name does show up in the Kennedy assasination files but there could be another person by that name.

    It seems like there are some 'movie' people on this forum so I thought maybe someone would know somebody
     
  4. Quincy

    Quincy Stunt Coordinator

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    Maybe he was on the grassy knowle.
    Just Kidding! [​IMG]
     
  5. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Wow, Grant. A real-life potpoiler. I take it from your post that you're not that close to your mother. She has no other information to offer than that one-night stand?
     
  6. Grant B

    Grant B Producer

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    No, I am close to her, she just hated him with a passion for 25 years. He disappeared quite often in fact I found records of him enrolled in the University of Flordia while they were engaged, she had no idea he was in college at the time. Mind you this was 1960 and she was in Ohio (one hell of a commute).

    She gave the ultimatum, stop disappearing or I'll divorce you; he said he couldn't and that was that.

    She never talked about him until I found all this strange stuff.

    Then she started talking and it started getting stranger and stranger.

    Now she thinks it's amazing and never tells me how happy she was when he died
     
  7. StephenA

    StephenA Screenwriter

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    Crazy story. Must be weird reading all this stuff. Dunno how I'd handle it.

    My dad was often gone when I was child, but it was because he'd go off either cheating on my mom or on alcohol and drug binges with his friends. He'd be gone for days or weeks at a time, leaving my mom to take care of me.
     
  8. Grant B

    Grant B Producer

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    at the time, my mother thought it was something like that. she believes there was something going on now, but back then she was clueless. she told me she had no idea where Cuba was when she went there for the honeymoon. He was gone most of the time and she shopped!

    Until she told me the story of the prison (Mom, they don't list prisons in Fudor's guides! How the hell would he know that?) she didn 't even question the fact.

    A couple years back, found a guy whose dad died in the MKULTRA tests(CIA tested out LSD on him till he jumped out a window). He helped me contact an author who wrote a book and claimed to have seen the person with my fathers name who claimed to have assassinated the dictator of the Dominican Republic (were my dad would disappear a lot to). The author would not write back.

    Sure there is no takers on the story? It'll make most 007 movies look like a walk in the park
     
  9. Alex Spindler

    Alex Spindler Producer

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    Grant, that is pretty remarkable. If it wasn't for the strange behavior before his death, I would assume that someone had stolen his identity. But it really sounds to my USA movie of the week mind that he had some CIA job and engineered a new life for himself.

    I would recommend collecting as much more data as you can and continue to work on getting a TV show to exhume the coffin. If you have some fingerprint records, you might want to run those through the service and criminal databases. Perhaps you will get a recent hit. I would think that his 6 weeks in the Air Force would have those (of course, that was some time ago).

    One way or the other, you have a damn fine novel on your hands.
     
  10. Grant B

    Grant B Producer

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    It's kind of funny, I only posted this because I started reading the JFK thread. I remember going to the declassified government Kennedy assisnation website and typing my fathers name in the search engine and getting two pages of documents (16 or so)with his name in them. All the blood drained out of my face and I think I started to shake uncontrollably.

    For that reason Alex, I don't know if I would ever want to the database. Those were some strange times

    Completely out of the blue my father called my mother the very day before he died. She said she didn't talk to him for months before this.Reading between the lines, his words were exactly if you knew you were never going to talk to someone again for the rest of your life but you wanted to say goodbye and leave on good terms. It took 25 years for her to figure this out but she finally is at peace with him.

    I'd like to think he did what he did for our good, I hope this is the case
     
  11. Henry Carmona

    Henry Carmona Screenwriter

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    WOW! Are you kidding Grant????
    This is crazy!! Try your best to get all the info if you can.
    Theres gotta be someone out ther who can help you.
    PS-Keep us up to date, that way we know what your doing and where you are if you come up missing [​IMG]
     
  12. Scott Strang

    Scott Strang Screenwriter

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    Buzz Vinard in Albuquerque, NM, USA sez

     
  13. Grant B

    Grant B Producer

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    Thanks

    Advice taken, if you notice this has taken 15 years. I stop and look around and slap myself to see if I am being paranoid or delusional.

    Last time I had a security check the government interviewer asked what my Dad did for a living

    I Said "Maybe you can tell me!"

    After listening to my story he said my dad probably worked for the government and somebody felt sympathethic about his death and fixed it with social security so I would get benefits even though he didn't exist in SS (even his number brings up a blank in their database)

    Anyways it's a great story I would have a hard time beliving but I know it's true... I think the USA movie of the week hit it on the nose
     
  14. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    Grant:
    At CIA Headquarters in Langley, VA there is a wall with stars. Each star represents a covert CIA operative who died in the line of duty. In front of the wall is a glass case containing a book. The book lists identification numbers and dates of death. No other information. The Agency will not discuss this display, identify the names that go with the stars, or provide any other information - officially.
    A Washington Post reporter named Ted Gup wrote The Book of Honor: Covert Lives and Classified Deaths at the CIA that tells the story of many of the men and women represented by those stars. It is entirely possible that Gup uncovered some information about your father and was unable to contact your family, or didn't have enough details to write a story, and therefore didn't try. It is also possible that he might be interested enough to go digging for information, even if he didn't turn anything up in his initial research. (He indicates in the book that he was unable to identify many of the stars on the wall.)
    You can probably reach Gup by writing him either care of the Post or through his publisher. The Book of Honor was published in hardcover by Doubleday. I can't find a snail-mail address for them, but they are a division of Random House, so a letter sent in care of them should reach him. Here's the address:
    Random House, Inc.
    1540 Broadway
    New York, NY 10036
    His address at the Post is:
    Ted Gup
    c/o The Washington Post
    1150 15th Street NW
    Washington, DC 20071
    He doesn't appear in the Post's e-mail directory, but I gather not all of their reporters do. He's prominent enough that he probably doesn't need to get buried by spam. But he's published an article there as recently as April 7, so I assume he either still works there or that they'll forward his mail.
    Hope this helps some. Good luck with your quest.
    This thing would make a pretty good movie - the problem at the moment is that you don't have a third act.
    Regards,
    Joe
     
  15. Sarah S

    Sarah S Second Unit

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    Grant, what database are you using to look up his SSN? The SSA Death Index that you see online isn't always accurate. SSA might be able to bring up at least the number you would have had to collect under by looking up your SSN, and perhaps you could get a copy of his original application for a SSN. Heck, if you invoked the FoIA enough it is even possible you could get copies of the proofs used to start your own claim...although most likely all that would get you would be another copy of his death certficate.
     
  16. Grant B

    Grant B Producer

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    Joseph

    Thanks alot, sounds like an interesting book whether he shows up in it or not.

    Sarah S

    The databases I checked was supose to have everyone who died before 1985 (I Believe, it's been a while). After I came up blank( he drowned in 1962 so they say), I called the HQ in Baltimore. They told me what I needed to ask for and to invoke the FOIA. They also said to enclose a letter to him because if they found him alive they could give him the letter but they couldn't contact me, he needed to do that.But they assured me they would get back to me. That was about 7 years ago; after repeated phone calls and letters -nada.

    His service record shows he had a high level security clearence ; that fact alone assures he had a FBI file. His trips to cuba while Castro was in power doubles that.

    For the FBI to say the have nothing after I invoked the FOIA means it is in a drawer that very few people see.

    The government auditor that I talked to last year said he would try....and he got stonewalled.

    I am an engineer not a writer.... but someone is missing a good screen play for peanuts
     
  17. Grant B

    Grant B Producer

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    Joseph

    They had the book for $10 at amazon, thanks again!

    Grant
     
  18. AjayM

    AjayM Screenwriter

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    The star-wall at CIA which has the book does list the names of 43 of the 78 deaths.
    The book with names in them
    Kind of a difficult situation, I wouldn't worry to much about exuming the body just yet, if your father was into something very big and secret I'm sure whichever agency could arrange for a body to fill the coffin. Although if it were empty that would answer some questions, and raise a whole lot of others.
    Andrew
     
  19. Grant B

    Grant B Producer

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    I have the dental records etc....but the little matter of never digging a hole...kind of makes it a no brainer.

    I have been at this stage for the last few years.No place to go.

    After my Grandfather died, I got everything that had to do with dad when they went through everything.

    Real interesting letters that came to my Dad after he died, one came from Jamacia from a person who went there to get his face changed (plastic surgery in Jamacia????)

    Since I was only an infant at the time, I can't say first hand, but getting your face changed in 1962 in Jamacia is pretty far out there in Ian Fleming territiory....and I haven't even mentioned the real strange S****
     
  20. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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