I used to live in a small town that I had honestly no business living in because I'm far too much of a city boy. While there I heard all about some of the small time controversies. Perhaps people knew I wouldn't stay for too long because I heard all about them.
There was the young woman who had to have her child taken away by child services because she would drink too much to cope with the pain of having ended her relationship with a married man. A young man who worked at one of the local shops had recently gotten out of prison after serving a sentence for manslaughter. Still another person killed a local in cold blood (but had seemed perfectly normal to most everyone else beforehand). I remember thinking that quite a lot had happened for such an out-of-the-way place.
After Redditor sunflwrxxr asked the online community "What is your small town dark secret?" people shared some of their own stories.
Warning: Some sensitive material ahead.
"It's a crazy story..."
I don't know if it's considered a dark secret, but in the county I lived in from ages 10-18, we had a soldier die under some extremely questionable circumstances. They said he was high/drunk/experiencing mental distress and raided a nursery (the plant kind). They claimed he was attacked by wasps and ran. He called 911 several times and claimed that someone was chasing him, and was trying to kidnap him. In the last 911 call, he said everything was fine suddenly. Just 14-15 minutes later, he was struck by a woman who stopped and called 911. He was ran over 2 more times, and died. The autopsy showed no signs of bee or wasp stings.
The connection to the nursery is due to the fact that it was just up the road from where he died, the place was ransacked, pizza eaten, money taken. But his wallet and phone were sitting on the counter, undisturbed.
HOWEVER! The family was not ok with that explanation, especially because he had previously texted that there were some problems with the "local boys" since the soldier wasn't from this part of the state. So the family had a private investigator look into it. They analyzed the 911 recordings, and found several instances of other people talking in the background, though most of it couldn't be made out. Except one. In the 911 call where he told the operator that everything was fine, a male voice could be heard saying "Tell her". And the nursery? There was no DNA, no fingerprints, no footprints that lead back to the soldier, even though his phone and wallet were there in the building.
A lot of people, his family included, think he was killed by some of the local guys there after they got into a fight about something. They chased him down, and caught him. He was able to run again after the final 911 call, and was hit by a driver while trying to get help. And the police in the county covered the entire thing up because the boys involved were connected to the department somehow. Of the three drivers, none were charged for hitting/running over him. I think only the first driver stopped, but it was discovered that one of the other drivers was connected to the department either through family or friendship.
It's a crazy story, but you can look it up. Just search Austin McGeough. I wouldn't be too surprised since there is a lot of shady stuff happening in small town police departments, including covering up rapes that officers commit. I really hope his family gets him justice.
"It hasn't gotten any better..."
A freshman with Asperger's was being abused by his family at home. He was a problem child and got in trouble on purpose but no one went too hard on him because of his home life, he was a well loved kid at school and in the community. One day just before Holiday break in December he was really sick but his mom sent him to school anyway. Locked him out of the house.
He decided to try and get into one of the empty houses down the street, through the chimney. Now this kid was the size of a 2nd grader, but he was too big to fit through since chimneys taper down thinner.
Mom never answered her phone when the school reported him missing. Went a whole day without reporting her kid missing. No one knew what happened to him.
It was about a month and a half before we knew what happened to him. We all thought he ran away, was alive somewhere, maybe went to his sisters house. Nope. Dead in a chimney.
The schools organized an entire week of counseling and such, they wore pink for a day and handed out little pink ribbons on pins for him since his favorite color was pink. Everyone was hit really hard by it.
That's how our small town started 2020. It hasn't gotten any better as you can see. So weird that its almost been a year now.
"People don't like to talk about it..."
About 10 years ago a lot of homeless people disappeared and when the police did the investigation they found out a guy was kidnapping and eating those people. Police found his hideout and found a half eaten body and bones from another person. People don't like to talk about it but everyone knows what happened.
"Oh, I have a doozy...
Oh, I have a doozy. Short version: popular kids in high school run a secret towel fight club and accidentally kill one of their friends in the house of a local politician, who proceeds to bury the story.
Towel fight club: tape towels over your hands and beat each other up. It's supposed to be just boxing but it sounds like they got out of control and hardly could call it that.
"One of them had an older brother..."
This is a sad one to me. There was an older couple here who ran a halfway house for troubled kids who'd recently gotten out of juvie; they fostered a few as well. They were loved in the community, wonderful people.
One of them had an older brother who was a gangbanger in the nearest big city. During a visit, he snuck his 15 year old younger bro a handgun. Younger bro ended up holding up a local gas station and killed three people. One of them was my friend's cousin.
The foster parents lost whatever credentials they needed to do what they did, the kids went back into the system, and the giant house has been abandoned since around 2009.
"The mayor of the town..."
The mayor of the town I live just outside of was murdered by his girlfriend a little while back. And there was a realtor that was using his company as a front for smuggling drugs. Other than that it's the usual small southern town crap.
"Killed a bunch of students..."
Look up the Gainesville Ripper. Killed a bunch of students and dismembered the bodies in really gross ways. This was about 30 years ago. I guess it's not really a secret if there are podcasts about it but it's slowly being forgotten.
"He killed them both..."
A girl I went to high school with vanished one day. From day one everyone was telling the police that her ex boyfriend had something to do with it, she already had a restraining order cause he held a knife to her throat and threatened to kidnap and kill her but with no evidence they couldn't do anything. Over the years several people went to the police saying that he had admitted to killing her but they did nothing. He eventually got in trouble for threatening to kill another girlfriend and choking her and went to prison for 3 years.
After prison he came back to town and eventually asked another ex of his for a ride home from a party and then she went missing after that night and they found her car burned and they arrested him again and he had burns on his hands. A few months later someone found a set of remains outside of town and during the recovery they found another set of much older remains. He killed them both and the failure of our local police department caused the second girl to be murdered.
Not so much a "secret," but the city where I grew up in Eastern MA became rather infamous thanks to the opioid epidemic. One of our T stations/neighborhoods became a memetic "Junkie Central," that's how bad it was.
There's also a number of bodies found here that have been attributed to Whitey Bulger and his gang, found buried under bridges, along beaches, even one in a tuxedo found in a car, riddled with bullets, that was submerged in a quarry, and a torso stuffed in plastic found in a creek (where I took part in a yearly summer sailing/kayaking program for kids) in the mid 90s.
"Instead of spending money..."
The funeral director in my home town had a bad coke habit.
Instead of spending money on cremating bodies he spent it on coke and left them in back of the winter casket storage. He'd spray them with spray on deodorant. Bodies were also buried in the wrong graves, fake ashes were given to families.
"I got fired..."
I got fired from my first job bussing tables when I was 13 for taking a dare to snort a line of Sweet and Low one day when we had no customers. The boss had heard about it and flipped his s***.
Turns out it was because he was––not so subtly––selling tons of coke out of the shop and it became a well known drug front until he was busted shortly after.
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