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Missing Father Found Buried in Basement

Family lore helped solve a 50-year-old mystery in Long Island.

"He went out for cigarettes." It's a tried-and-true plot device many shows have used to address an absentee father (or in some cases mother). For one family though, it turned out to be a case of art imitating life, sort of. The Carrolls, of Long Island in New York, had always believed that their father had gone out one day and just never returned. After more than 50 years of wanting answers and hearing different stories of what happened, some answers are finally coming their way; their dear old dad was found buried in the basement of the family home.

Most families have a story that is passed down and traded like intelligence from a spy. Mom and uncle had an illicit affair. Aunt was adopted. Things of that nature. For Michael Carroll, the story that he had heard many times over was that his father was buried in the basement of their house.

"It didn't just come up overnight, it's something that's been talked about for years. This is something as we grew up, you know. We heard multiple stories." It intrigued him enough that he bought the family house and decided to try and see what he could dig up a few years ago.

Another setback happened when Michael Carroll Sr. had a stroke. His son, Michael Carroll Jr. took over the excavation project. On November 1, 2018, they found what they were looking for. At least they hoped they did. There was a body buried about eight feet in the ground, surrounded by cement walls. Carroll Sr. is happy that this mystery has been solved, at least as much as they want it to be. He is quoted as saying, "In my mind, I always felt that I was going to find that. I'm glad this is over and I don't have to breakup my house anymore." There has to be more to the story than what is being told right now—like who would kill and bury a man in the basement?

When George Carroll went missing in 1961, no one batted an eye around the Lake Grove neighborhood of Long Island. He had left behind a wife and four kids, but everything seemed normal to the community as a whole. As the kids grew up and asked about their father, the matriarch would tell them that George had abandoned them. Curiosity got the better of the kids, especially as they became adults and they wanted to bring this sordid chapter to an end. "There really wasn't much talk about it, but we became curious as adults as to where he might be." There was no comment about who started the family legend of George Carroll being buried in the basement. How did he end up there?

It's a question that the family may have to grapple with for generations to come. After George Carroll disappeared there was no missing report filed. In the eyes of the law nothing was amiss. Maybe Mama Carroll didn't worry about her husband going missing or perhaps there was something more sinister, a reason why she didn't want the police looking into her husband's disappearance. What do her offspring think?

They aren't saying. Michael Carroll Sr. for his part is just glad that they found his father. He doesn't see a reason to conduct a murder investigation because anyone who could, or would have done it, is long dead. His mother died a few years back, which lends some credence to the theory that she may have had something to do with her husband's death. Adding more fire to the argument is the fact the Matriarch rarely spoke about her missing husband. The Carroll kids always thought that she was trying to protect them from more hurt, and maybe she was. Just not the way that they thought.

Now the Carroll family waits on DNA tests to prove (or disprove) that the skeleton found is that of George Carroll. Once that is done, Carroll Sr. wants to have his dad buried with other soldiers from the Korean War.

"I want him to be a soldier, I want him to get what he needs." It's a sweet sentiment and has to be nice that this part of the mystery is solved. Carroll senior says, "I feel great that my dad is free from that crappy hole." A family legend was proven true.
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