We returned to this area in April 2022 after having previously explored a house next to it in the winter. This one was difficult to tell if there was anyone living inside, it looked like it could go either way. I walked up to the front door and peered inside. I observed some Harvey’s fast food leftovers on the kitchen table. With that, we noped right out of there.
A short while later I decided I wanted to have another look at this house. I walked around the back and looked inside. There was an absence of furniture and the basement was empty. All the doors were locked. I then tried the garage door, which opened. I crawled underneath and moments later was inside!
I was expecting someone to appear at any moment but when they didn’t, I grew more couragious and ventured further in the house. There were boxes of cereal and cooking supplies on the kitchen counter. The kitchen had something puddled on the floor by the fridge, which indicated there was nobody around to clean it up. To clarify whether someone was living here or not, I opened the fridge. The putrid smell that permeated the immediate area, told me that the food was rotten. The smell lingered for the duration of our visit.
The house has four bedrooms and four bathrooms. The highlight of the house is the wooden staircase and the French doors. The last listed asking price was $1.5 million.
Meet 50 year old Kelly. Kelly is a realtor.
In July of 2018 Kelly met a man named Peter and they began dating. As they got to know one another, Peter eventually told Kelly that he’d been in prison but explained that it had been a miscommunication with an ex-girlfriend over a credit card. He also had a son that he was attempting to get custody of.
In September of 2020, Kelly and Peter moved out of her condo and signed a two-year lease on a new home. Kelly paid first and last month’s rent because Peter said his money was tied up in the child custody case.
(TWP: This house was their new home. I was able to match photos of the home decor business with photos that I took inside the house.)
Things began to disappear over the next couple of years including a friend’s Rolex watch during a cottage weekend. Kelly’s parents were missing a thousand dollars in U.S. money, a Tiffany necklace and two wedding rings. The cleaning lady was initially suspected, and when confronted, she became insulted and quit.
Eventually a friend of Kelly’s informed her that she’d found Peter’s photos on a dating website. The name on the profile belonged to a man who had a court judgement against him for two children. Kelly only knew about Peter’s one child. Kelly hadn’t even met Peter’s child yet because he kept prolonging it, saying he wanted the custody case to be finalized first. Peter said that he knew nothing about these judgements and that if they were his children, he’d certainly be fighting to see them – Kelly believed him.
Peter knew people who were selling a home decor business which had closed during the pandemic. Because Kelly was a realtor, she knew home design and how to sell. Their home had a large basement with a separate entrance that could serve as a showroom. Kelly bought the home decor business for $10,000 plus the company’s $40,000 loan. She made Peter the director. The business was operated out of the basement.
Peter began using the company debit card for personal purchases but explained that he’d lost his own company card and would reimburse Kelly the funds.
By summer of 2021, Kelly was suspecting that her partner was cheating. Peter had begun to withdraw and refuse to attend family gatherings together. He claimed to be exhaused when he arrived home. By August of 2021 Peter was disappearing for days at a time. He agreed to couple’s therapy but showed up sporadically.
Kelly was eventually able to use a password to log into his email account. What Kelly found shocked her! There were years worth of dating profiles from various dating websites created under a variety of false names. She found an old Kijiji listing for her mother’s missing rings. By Googling one of the names that Peter had used, Kelly found that there’d been a news article written about him 10 years prior with regards to him being a romance scammer.
Kelly moved into her parent’s condo. She attempted to have the lease broken but Peter wouldn’t sign the paperwork. Eventually her landlord contacted her to say that he hadn’t been paying rent and was going to be evicted.
Kelly sat down and created a speadsheet of the finances. She learned that Peter had owed thousands in utilities and hundreds of dollars in phone bills and credit card charges. It’s estimated that her family is out $200,000. When she sold the bed she’d purchased for his son’s bedroom, she discovered social assistance receipts and documents that indicated the custody case had been settled two years prior.
Peter had left the house saying that he needed space. In reality, he had moved in with another woman. Peter hacked Kelly’s business website, which explains why the home decor website is offline today. He disabled and threw away the alarm system that protected the house. In fact, while exploring this house I found parts of the alarm in an upstairs bedroom. Peter also allegedly stole from her home business and sold the items online.
Kelly’s company’s website is now offline and her last business Facebook post was December of 2021. It would be around this time that the woman moved what remained of her home business and put it into storage. I was able to find her Facebook profile where I watched a particularly heartbreaking video of her crying.
As for Peter, it turns out he had been married in 2003, had two children (2004 and 2006). In 2007 his wife asked for a divorce and Peter punched his fist through a wall. His wife fled with the children. He sent his wife messages that he was going to kill himself. He even drank bleach and turpentine in front of his wife. Police took him on a 48-hour hold. She filed a restraining order and sought sole custody. Peter in turn contacted CAS and claimed that she’d left a giant bruise on his son’s neck. The photo turned out to be doctored.
Peter never did gain custody of his children. In 2012 he was sentenced to 30 months in jail. When he was released in 2014, he found another woman on a dating website. They had a son together. Credit cards, jewelry and money went missing. He was kicked out. The woman found a receipt for a pawn shop ring, which turned out to be her grandmothers. It had been missing for a year. She gained sole custody of their son.
Please don’t ask the real names of those in this story. This is one of those explorations where I think the privacy of the individuals trumps our own curiosity.