The House at the Corner of Danger and Trouble Streets
In 1969, there was a home on the corner of Danger and Trouble Streets, a mansion, built of solid brick all red with green awnings over its doorways and windows. A rich family lived there by the name of Hermane, with both parents, and three sons. Paul and Patty Hermane met in high school in their teens and grew up and got married at 18 years old, and Paul became a broker who hit the market at the right time, he made millions within 3 years. The children came two years apart, all three in 6 years of course and all boys. By 27 years old the Hermanes were a piece of the town so ingrained that their neighbors knew all five of them on a first name basis and all people would say is they were generous and friendly and kind they shared their wealth by helping others and made donations to everything they could to help their town. They were loved by all, and no one would say a bad word about them.
On July 4th, 1969 the Hermanes home went quiet, deadly quiet, and no one saw the Hermanes anymore. The Police waited a while, a period of thirty days before they went looking for the Hermanes, as they searched their home and property, not one clue was found to locate them or as to where they did go, they just suddenly disappeared, vanished. None of the parents’ families had any idea where they were or heard from them, nor did any friends of the family. It seems, a mystery, became of what happened to the Hermanes.
Each year on July 4th, the town would gather outside of the home at the corner of Danger and Trouble Streets and stare at the empty home and wonder where they went and what had happened to them. Police investigated each year and looked into the mansion again and again, but nothing was found as a clue to what happened to the family. It became a mystery that ended up on 48 Hours and Dateline on Television was reported and investigated by CNN and all the Investigation Channels but nothing came of any of it. The Mansion stood as it was found, after they disappeared, and the investigations ended. No property was missing, no thefts were reported, and the money was left in the banks and stocks and bonds to be claimed at the end of seven years, when all would be declared dead by the government. It was like a haunted house on a corner no one wanted to go near, anymore so it collected dust, cobwebs, and spider webs, It sat silent and mysterious for sure for one long time and the family was never found. The awnings were fading over the doors and windows, and one man finally took a step to see what had happened, his name, Walter, D. Mandolin Detective and ex-cop, who believed there had to have been some suspicious activity involved or some plot to get rid of them. Mandolin loved mysteries and as an ex-Detective figured he could poke around and maybe just maybe find some clues to what had happened to the Hermanes. He kept seeing it mentioned in newspaper clipping and short stories, and like many others wanted to find out what really happened. He had thoughts and ideas and more on what may have happened and hoped to help find the answers for the families and friends. He started in slowly on and in his own way, he sniffed around the town asking questions of the towns people and the neighbors around the home. When did people first notice they were missing, how much money did they really have, did anyone have any idea where they may have gone? At each turn Mandolin ran into the same answer, no one knew a damn thing, they just disappeared! Being an ex-detective Mandelon knew no one just disappears like this, never mind one person but five? And why?
Mandolin, stood outside the mansion and stared at it, all the windows and doors were closed and locked, the lights have been out forever it seems, yet now it is six years since they disappeared. With one year to go to all of The Hermanes being declared dead, Mandolin decides it’s time to get permission to enter the mansion from the police.
At the police department Mandolin talks to the Chief and the Commissioner of Police for the town and requests permission to enter the home and property. After answering questions about why he wants to and convincing them he won’t change anything in the building or on the grounds to change them, they agree, assigning an Officer to go with him. Mandolin makes arrangements with the Officer to meet him there on Saturday, and leaves it at that for now and heads to the library to read all up on The Hermanes, their disappearance and any investigative reports he can. Mandolin believes there is an answer to it all and it has something to do with that mansion. They have to be in that mansion or on the property, there has to be a way to find out.
Spreading the newspapers out by the first to last articles written on the Hermanes disappearance , his feet on another chair and his mind spinning from the written reports Mandolin makes notes of the date it happened, what they found when they entered, which was just complete family missing. No blood, no bodies, no signs of struggle is what the stories say. It talks about how a team of Officers and Detectives scoured the home and couldn’t find a thing to go on and how they spread out over the property to still find no signs. The photos show the mansion sitting empty, and a few Detectives wandering around the place. For each year since they disappeared, more mansion photos were taken of the place and each time it stresses how no one can find the Hermanes anywhere. Mandolin is intrigued to say the least, as he stares at the photos. Where the hell did these people go and why?
Saturday the Officer shows up and opens the mansion with Mandolin, and they find a dusty front hallway. Slowly looking around Mandolin has the officer follow him and gives him instructions, you see anything move, or anything disturbed or that looks that way you stop and tell me. The front hall has a slate floor in it and under the dust it is still shiny and new looking. A coat hanger is here and a closet filled with winter coats and jackets and such. On the shelf is Mr. Hermanes hats all Bowlers with black bands on them, neatly stacked. Mrs. Hermanes coats are here too, but, none for the three boys, I wonder why not, I say out loud. The Officer says they may have a separate closet somewhere, but why? Looking over my shoulder I tell the officer, kind of strange isn’t it? No answer comes. We slowly move forward through the foyer, looking at the floors, ceilings and walls carefully for any blood or signs of a struggle, none come up as we hit the entrance to the big Living Room of the Mansion. The living room is framed by a large open arch way, and looking at it Mandolin tells the Officer to dust the entire frame up to 10 feet high on each side for prints. Let’s see who else has come thru this Arch. Slow stepping into the formal living room and looking around, he sees a big screen television 65 inches over the fireplace mantle and the fireplace. Then two full sized couches and four recliners placed around. There is a table for each chair and each couch, and a coffee table too. The floors are hard wood, and still shiny under the dust covering them. Taking a deep breathe, he starts his slow search of the room, by looking at each window and window sill in the room. Any scratches, marks or damages, he takes photos of with a camera he carries in his pocket. Slowly each window is checked to ensure it is locked and not broken in any way. Each set of drapes is checked for stains, and anything unusual attached to them, and recorded and scraped if there is anything into jars. Slowly circling the room Mandolin, opens the drawer on the coffee table and rifles thru it slowly, checking for any notes or scrapes of paper or signs of anything unusual, packaging each item individually, TV remote, and TV Guides and anything he can gather. Each item he will dust for finger prints.
Somewhere in this big mansion is the answer to where this family disappeared to or least how and why? Slowly scanning the room more, the fireplace grabs Mandolin’s attention, in all its grandeur and beauty, he wonders what it would’ve been like lit in this big room. Wandering over to it, looking around he leans against the mantle and hears a click, what the? Staring at it a small, brick next to the right corner slides open and inside is a piece of paper. Snatching it out, and reading it, Mandolin shakes his head. Whoever finds this, has begun to find the answers they seek on the Hermanes family mystery, here is a drawing for you. Attached is a diagram of the home, and all three floors, each bedroom for the children are marked upstairs and the master bedroom for the parents and then the basement, is shown with three straight line, and one big box, opposite sides of the basement. Is this an answer to the bodies and a map to them, Mandolin thinks if so, I will need help here. Calling out to the Officer, Mandolin tells him call the Department get a forensic crew in here with equipment to x-ray cement and walls, I think I am on to something! Sitting down, and resting for a bit, as he awaits the team’s arrival, not wanting to disturb anything else just yet. Ah, the hunt is now more interesting, why is the map and note here, who stuck it in the storage spot built into the fireplace wall and why?
Looking at the diagram, the rooms are clearly marked, by labels, and then the basement is shown before and the upstairs layout too. Someone drew this and knew the house very well, that’s for sure looking closer the diagram is pretty detailed about the upstairs and basement and vague on the main floor for some reason. Checking it closely I see just block diagrams of the bedrooms upstairs and three numbers one in each room, 6, 4, and 2. Mandolin associates it quickly with the three missing children and their ages at the time they disappeared, must be. The children’s rooms, down the hall the Master Bed Room clearly, obviously the parents. In the Master suite is a bathroom, a large one, then in between each child’s room are smaller bathrooms for the children. The house was designed for luxury for sure. Following the diagram, there is also a large playroom for the kids up there and their toys. Must be nice to have this kind of money, Mandolin thinks, rich as all git out, crazy indeed.
Continuing the search of the Living room before leaving it, turns up nothing new, wandering around the main floor, there is the Kitchen, a pantry, a dining room all neat and clean yet all dusty as hell, of course. The dining table is set with a formal setting for looks; at least it seems so, looks like they ate at the kitchen table most of the time. Guess appearances were important to the parents.
The doorbell rings to the mansion, sounding throughout the empty space and echoing off the walls and ceilings. The Officer allows in the team with the radar equipment and it’s chief. Talking to the Chief, Mandolin points out the location on the diagram and insists they help him find the location in the basement. The door to the basement is through the kitchen and it is unlocked. Opening the door a smell emits that is like rotten potatoes and veggies, wafts up through the kitchen and into our nostrils. Slapping a handkerchief over my nose, I head down the long flight of stairs into the basement, popping on the lights, as I go, by a switch on the wall. Slowly descending all 21 stairs as they creak some from our weight. The whole team is now in the basement, assembled and looking around; Mandolin looks at the diagram and sees the two separate end rooms on each end of the big Rec Room in the center. One of those is what is marked as far as he can see, but there is no direction on the diagram. Mandolin tells the team both will have to be checked out including the Rec Room, actually, something stinks down here bad. As the search begins, there is exercise equipment around, weights and a press bench, a television to watch and a phone for calling upstairs on a table. In the center of the Rec Room is a pool table, for fun, I guess Mandolin thinks. But nothing looks out of place in here at first view.
Moving east across the room, Mandolin follows the scent he smells sniffing the air as it gets stronger, to a side room for storage, the walls turn to stone in here, on three sides and the floor is still concrete. The smell is strongest here for sure; Mandolin tells the team fire up that radar and see if something is under the floor. The process begins as the search goes on now for the stink, something is here somewhere.
As the Radar machine is set up and starts scanning the room, it is evident not much is under the floor it seems, all the concrete looks fresher than the rest of the place. Scanning slowly the technician goes foot by foot across the floor, barely able to stop from choking at the scents of whatever is here. The search is slow by radar so I and the Officer go back to the rec room to await results from the Tech. Thinking out loud, mandolin heads back to the room and steps into it startling the tech, he jumps at the sound and his radar disc, jumps and hits the wall and suddenly it starts beeping. “Hey Mandolin I am on to something here, but it’s in the walls, not the floor”. Staring at the wall the tech turns up the radar and it beeps louder now as he scans the wall, he jumps at the sound of it all, and the radar pad hits the wall and it breaks open. Looking back the Tech says, mandolin I think I found something this wall is fake here, and there is something inside it! Mandolin darts for the wall, and hits it again and the false wall collapses inward. A stench flies out of the opening and Mandolin looks inside, damn there be big bags in here, looks like garbage bags with duct tape keeping them closed. Backing away the Tech, Officer and Mandolin, look at one another and Mandolin says radio it in Officer I think we found bodies. The Cop grabs his radio and makes the call and the reply says, back out of the room. Leave it as it is, the Crime Scene Team is on its way with the coroner. Stand by and don’t leave the scene, allow no one in the house, and wait. So Mandolin, the Officer and The Radar Tech, all go out front and sit and wait now for help to come. Somehow those bodies got in that wall the Officer says, I wonder who they are? Mandolin replies if I am right those are the children, I would bet my life on it. Shaking his head, he looks at the Officer and says, I knew something had to be here, I just didn’t know what we would find. Sitting on the door step to the mansion out front Mandolin pulls a stogie from his pocket, bites the end off, and lights it up and puffs away waiting. Smoke rises from Mandolin’s cigar as he waits, he sits on the steps and the Officer and Radar Tech stand, watching everything and talking. Hey, Mandolin, why the hell wasn’t this found all those years ago? The Officer asks. Mandolin looks up through the cigar smoke and thinks out loud maybe, just maybe, it was all too fresh back then, and there was no stink! We shall see, what the experts say soon enough.
The lights flash all around us all, we look eerie in the lights, I think, as the stretchers start coming out one by one, three bodies, all kids and I know we have found the children now. They were murdered and placed in the wall in the basement all those years ago. The wall crumbled the rest of the way as soon as the crews hit it a few times. It was false with a rock face to match the other basement walls, carefully constructed to hide it all so well. The opening was just big enough for the bodies to fit in it seems and the wall camouflaged to match its surroundings. Very interesting indeed, I think. Who the hell had that kind of artistic talent to make it all look so realistic like that? If it wasn’t for the smell of the dead bodies and the accidental slip of the radar tech, I may never have found those poor kids.
Off to the Coroner’s office I go, I want to know if these poor kids died in that wall or before they were placed there and how. Knowing the coroner before I retired helps, even though he knows he isn’t supposed to tell me he does. They were dead first then bagged and placed in the structure; he tells me “Walt the damn kids were killed with Clorox poisoning a little at a time for a year or so, they died slowly.” Shaking my head, I look at the Coroner, well are the parents in there too?” A one word reply is all I get; “Nope”, and then he can’t talk and runs back inside the morgue. Three kids, no parents, and now where the hell did the parents go, and did they kill the kids, or did someone else? Is there more in the mansion to find or not. The officer who helped me find the kids stops by,’ Hey Walt, you know we went thru that house bit by bit, no parents in it they seem to have disappeared. Hmmm funny I say they have to be somewhere, not too far unless they skipped the country! It’s time for a financial check on the parents at the time everything went quiet at the corner of Danger and Trouble Streets. I am going to need an auditor who is very good. To look at their bank records and whatever other monies they may have had. Did they kill their own kids and take off, with the bucks? Who knows, but a good auditor can check it out online and tell me.
I hired a class one Auditor who looked through the books of this family and found ten grand missing from the account after the deaths were reported and the missing dates. How far could one go, on ten grand in 1969, checking, Walt finds as far as they wished in the world. Money was money, back then, so it bought a lot. They could be anywhere they want to be and living a whole different life, ten grand back then, and equals about 10 million today in the world. I don’t know if the money will find the parents, but at least we found part of the motive. Walt goes down to the Station and is rehired and reinstated as a Police detective and handed the case to close it/ looking down at the file as thick as it is and the boxes involved, He knows he will have a hard road ahead of him. Plopping down at a new desk, and putting my feet up I study the file, somewhere in here is the answer of where the parents went and the money. If the answer is not here, there is at least a damn clue in this mess somewhere, something I missed or we missed the first time around, just what is it?
After a week of searching thru the records and evidence accumulation now, the note I found in the mantle place surfaces, staring at it closely, I see an x marking a different place in the mansions basement. Calling up the radar man who helped me find the children that day, we gather the same equipment and head for the mansion once more. I think this x on the note tells where the bodies of the parents really are, but why I am not sure. Jumping in the cruiser, I meet the radar man at the corner of Danger and Trouble Streets once more. Sitting and waiting on the radar operator I stare at the old mansion, I wonder how much occurred in this old place, it was built so many decades ago, in the 1860s, it is said it was used to hide slaves back then and provided a way station for them to pass thru, very interesting indeed. But that’s another mystery I think as the radar technician shows up and unpacks and we head on in. Down stairs we head once more, right back into that basement and rec room area, then we go the opposite way of where we found the children. Searching the storage room there, we find the spot on the map, as marked, and turn the radar on once more, the pings can be heard throughout the house now as we strike pay dirt, a body again, but who’s ? That I won’t know until, it’s identified. The wait is over in two days when my phone rings, the body is the husband and father, an autopsy is done and it is found he was killed before the kids, by ant-freeze poisoning. It’s the wife that did it, damn, but where is she? Unbelievable, a wife who killed her kids and husband took ten grand and disappeared and no one knows where she may be, what the hell happened? The answer is out there somewhere, I think, it has to be, but will I ever find it, I doubt it says Mandolin, I am too old and have to surrender the case, and retire, again, I am done.
Thirty Years later, Paul Mandolin the son of Walt, is handed the same case his father had years before. He studies it; much like his father did amazed at the work his dad had done all those years ago. The Mansion is now a dusty old relic, picked through and boarded up since those days, it’s been picked through and given up on. Walt Mandolin had done his job the best any Investigator could in those days and his discoveries of the children and father, were amazing, Paul thinks, but can I find the mother, like dad found these folks? Good Question, Paul thinks can I compete with my father and find the last missing Hermames member, the wife and mother?
500 miles away, in a small city North of Pittsburgh, Pa., in a split ranch home an old lady sits, watching soaps on television in the afternoon, her husband at work, and soon to come home. Getting up she puts on a roast with potatoes, carrots and onions in the oven, and walks down to the laundry room and does the laundry. She stops to think, no one will ever be looking for me anymore, not 30 years after. Her grey hair shimmering in the lights and her eyes as bright as the day, she came here. Her wits totally intact and her smile too, the former Mrs. Hermames relaxes and goes upstairs for a coffee, and turns on the television to watch the news. Plopping down in a recliner she watches as the news interviews the young Paul Mandolin about the case he has now accepted. Paul looks into the camera on his end and explains the mystery about the Mansion and Murders at the corner of Danger and Trouble Streets. He explains how his father 30 years ago found the bodies in the walls and that his father Walt never got to finish the case due to illness and his own death, at the hands of a killer. “I am determined” says Paul, “to solve the one unsolved case my father left behind for him!” “I know somewhere out there is Mrs. Hermanes, and I will find her body or her and hunt this one down until I can’t anymore!”” I owe it to my father and his memory and career”. When the interview ends, the grey haired woman, in Wexford, PA, shakes her head and sips her coffee and stares, “no way boy, I outsmarted all and I will you too” Putting her feet up, her laundry spinning in her dryer now, and closing her eyes, she breathes heavy now, knowing anything can happen, if Paul is smart enough to find her. Drifting off to sleep, she hopes beyond hope, he won’t find her.
She has lived her last thirty years married to another man, here in Wexford, Pa, hidden in the north hills is a quiet little burgh, where she attends church each day and makes her husband and children attend church each Sunday on a steady basis. She has four more children here now, two girls and two boys she has raised to adulthood, and prepared and sent off into the world. Both Girls are married, and one boy is in the Navy and the youngest boy is dyslexic and stays with her. Her current husband works for The Brewery in Pittsburgh itself and travels back and forth from work each night. She works in a store, one of the biggest chains in Pittsburgh’s busy McKnight Road area. Life has been pleasant for her all these years as they searched for her she has let her hair turn grey and stayed hidden in plain sight keeping a low profile and using another woman’s identity to rebuild a life. She knew when she got here, she had to lose her past identity and make sure no one recognized her. Aging yourself some is easy for any woman, make-up changes, hair dyes, adding glasses and adapting to the areas accents. Using small stores as needed and picking one church to attend all the time and not volunteering for anything, to keep a low profile. The Church has helped her deal with her past and what she has done, but she knows she can never confess to the Priest or anyone else. So staying quiet, attending church and living a slow life has done her well for thirty years. But she knows eventually, someone will find her one way or another, in the meantime she has tried hard to raise the four children she has now and tried to be an excellent wife to her current husband. The years have slowly ticked away, for her and her new family, but life doesn’t always allow people to hide well, and it doesn’t allow for unknown facts, in her current marriage. So, one day her youngest daughter approaches her and tells her what has been happening all the years she worked down at the store? She refuses to believe it is happening, not again, please!
Nancy called her to tell her, she is getting divorced from her husband Jerry. She wouldn’t say why, so, she calls the husband, yes the ex- to be, and asks him what happened?
Jerry explains that Nancy started having reoccurring nightmares of being sexually abused and assaulted by her father. Nancy can’t handle the memories Jerry says and he tells her, he has taken Nancy in for help, but she refuses to face him face to face, report him. Nancy gives the same excuse her siblings will all give over the next two years; he’s my father I can’t turn him in!
So, the former Mrs. Hermanes, finds out her husband of all over 30 years has Sexually Assaulted and Abused their four children, the two girls and boys are destroyed by him, in ways she refused to admit to herself. The final child the eldest daughter is in Virginia, and married to a sailor and has two kids of her own to worry about. But, she calls her daughter on a hot July day before Independence Day, and asks her if it is true, did your father touch you and use you sexually as a child? The tearful reply over the long distance breaks her heart, and she informs her daughter she knows and is divorcing her husband, her father over it all. The tears roll down her cheeks as she hears the reply and her daughter crying on the other end of the long distance call. Hanging up she cries quietly to herself, and can now see it, it explains the kids, her eldest and her withdrawal from life before leaving home, her eldest son and how he is messed up and smokes pot, her youngest daughter and how she has by now been divorced and will get divorced 5 times in the next few years unable to stay in a relationship with a man and the baby boy now in his thirties, dyslexic and sleeping in women’s night gowns. Sadly she knows it all adds up to a pedophile husband and father of her children and she has no idea what to do except divorce him. Sadly, she also knows for the second marriage in a row, she is responsible for the destruction of her second group of children their mental and emotional breakdown in society, due to the fact she never paid attention, to what was happening in her own home. She knows now, there is no way to hide anymore if Paul keeps looking he will find her. Records of pedophiles are easy access to crime fighting organizations period, if one of these four turn their father in, well. It will lead them straight to her. None of these children know she has a prior life hidden from all, so it would not be their fault.
Meanwhile, in Virginia, the eldest daughter was caught on the phone crying by her husband, who wanted to know what was going on. She explained to her husband the whole story, by first revealing the divorce of her parents and then crying as the facts of why it was happening came pouring out. Of how he sexually used and abused his four children, including her while, her mom was at work each night. How no one knew till this moment in time, because not one of them would voice it out loud! Being a man and a sailor the husband wanted her to press charges, she refused and said she couldn’t do so, cause she still loved him, he was her father. Her husband threatened to go to Pittsburgh and face him, himself and turn him in, his wife went crazy and stopped him, she wouldn’t allow it to happen. So in the meantime, the marriage began to crumble in Virginia. She had married her husband because he reminded her of her father, now the marriage was doomed because of that fact and there was no way to avoid it. As the husbands’ military career came to an end due to injuries and a Medical under Honorable Discharge, plans were made to sell the home they had and to move to Pittsburgh with the wife’s mother, so she could be close to her, for help. Little did the husband know how deep the wounds did go or what would happen next, But the mysteries that occurred at the Corner of Danger and Trouble Streets were about to come out, slowly over time.
Pittsburgh, Pa. November 1st, we moved into Patty’s mother’s apartment, which turned into the biggest mistake any ex-sailor ever made in his life. Living under another’s roof is dangerous especially when it is your mother in laws. Every word you say and everything you do, is scrutinized, watched and criticized.
The first accusations start slowly, your treating my daughter wrong, you can’t talk to her like that, why don’t you go to church, get a job, you can’t punish the children like that, it doesn’t matter what you do, your wrong, so one has to walk on egg shells. The fear of mom in law saying good-bye to you also includes what happens to your children, one becomes powerless, as far as a place to live goes. So you tend to bend, sway, compromise and make sure the daggers are not hitting you behind your back, while you are out getting a job. Sadly, this is what the ex-sailor husband of the first daughter faced as soon as they moved in.
As the ex-sailor searched for a job to support the family he had, and was out of the house his daughters sat in the apartment with his wife and his mother in law and son, as they discussed the sexual abuse of the father, whom she divorced. As, it happened, a six year old girl would sit and listen to the abuse stories and soak it all in as well as being told to accuse her own innocent father of the same crime. But before the accusation would come, the request for a divorce would come from Patty the now, ex-sailor’s wife.
The ex-sailor had found a job as a plumber’s helper in Pittsburgh, and when he came home one night and showered, and got ready for supper, he saw his 6 years old daughter refusing to do her home work from school. So he sat her up in a chair told her to stay there till it was done. And went and took his shower, when he came out the girl was in her room and he was criticized for mistreating his daughter by his wife Patty and the mother in law sat there with a smug smile on her face.
Taking the criticisms well wasn’t easy but the ex-sailor did it well, until he was suddenly hit by his wife with the word divorce! He knew then it was over for him and his family and destruction had arrived. It all crumbled as did his spirits and hopes that night. Little did he know how far, the damage from his father in law had gone and what was next?
The following morning, he awoke to go to work and his wife did too. He asked her if she was sure, about the divorce, she said yes and he left for work. At work, he asked his boss for the day off and his paycheck, he left and then went back home and packed up his stuff. The car stuffed he drove to the wife’s work and asked one more time, if she was sure. She said yes, so he asked how soon, she said today, Ok was all he replied as he held up his paycheck and his car keys. Leaving that day, probably saved his life at least in part, driving for 500 miles, he went home to his parents who gave him a room to sleep in and a meal.
Unknown to him when he arrived was the fact his step-father was dying of cancer. From April till October, he struggled trying to find a job as his dad died. At the same time his mom was diagnosed with cancer also and died the following July, cancer ravages anyone it touches it seems, and it saddened him further driving him into depression. For the first time in his life he turned to drinking, but it only lasted so long. He knew he had to survive and carry on, so he struggled thru, till a knock on the door, destroyed him.
Opening your backdoor to your home in the middle of December and finding two police officers, looking for you is no fun folks, believe me. When I let them in, and they said they had a warrant for my arrest I was shocked, and quietly surrendered to them and closed and locked up the home. I went with them voluntarily I had no idea what I was arrested for, but I was not resisting at all.
After being printed, photographed, stripped of my belt and shoes, I was placed in a cell and given one phone call. Since the police finally told me the charge was Sexual Battery and Assault against my own daughter, I cried and went crazy. Then I called my ex-wife to be in Pittsburgh and asked her to drop the charges, it was all a lie. She refused of course and the battle of my life began.
Being picked up by Virginia Police was no fun, and I had to sit in the back of a police car as they asked me for directions to the airport. I couldn’t believe it. But I was flown back to Virginia and jailed to await trial for a crime I never committed.
The trial went against me and I ended up convicted of a crime I did not commit and thrown back into jail to await sentencing, it would be three months later it all changed. As I sat in jail, the Prosecutor decided I may have told the truth and never did what I was accused and convicted of. She went back over the interviews and tapes of the discussions she had with my now ex-wife and daughter. The lies shot off the paper at her and she knew she had, wrongly convicted me.
One day my Lawyer, the Public Defender I had, came and got me out of my cell. Sat me down and told me what was about to happen, the Prosecutor was taking me back before the Judge and getting the charge overturned. She had found the lies of my ex-wife and daughter and knew I was innocent and proved it. I was released the next day from jail, and sent home once more. But my battle wasn’t over yet. I still had two daughters I left behind in Pittsburgh I loved, and I was determined to find them and make them understand the truth.
It would take me fourteen years of tears, fears and hopes before I found them, but I did find them.
Why so long, when I was released from Virginia the Judge ordered me to not contact my girls until they were both over 16 years old, and I obeyed, because I had no choice. So after being remarried myself and waiting I found them thru the internet, and called one day. I was free and clear of any court restrictions and determined to clear my name with them. Before I did I gathered all the court papers and proof I needed. And the battle was joined with that first call. It was time for me to fight back and expose the truths. Of course the ex-wife refused to let me talk to my girls, but as they said it was their choice, which is the way I saw it too, so they called me back. Some yelling and screaming occurred and they called me a sperm donor and not their father, it would take a lot of talking to convince them, of how I was forced out, not of my own will. Slowly their eyes opened over time, as their mother, kept telling them stories that were lies. Each one was disproved over time by the written facts by me in long letters to both of them, explaining the circumstances of my leaving them behind. Each letter, typed was filled with facts and emotions they could feel.
Then I did a video recording of myself, speaking directly to them and telling them the truth in my real voice as they saw me saying it all. Time would slowly help, and slowly they came around. For the old grey haired woman each step I took to get closer to my girls got her more frightened of being found out.
Then came the baby girls call to her dad asking me to pay for her wedding dress, I agreed but only if I got an invite to the wedding, and I did.
My second wife and I drove all the way to Pittsburgh, to see her get married in the park there. I took videos and pictures of the whole ceremony and the following reception. I made copes for my ex-wife, my daughters and my ex-mother in-law too. And then I did what all proud fathers do when they get home from their daughter’s wedding, I posted all of the videos and pictures on the internet, on Facebook and Twitter. I was the proud father, exclaiming the wedding of his baby daughter that was me, the ex-sailor. Little did I know the circle for that lil old grey haired lady in Pittsburgh, was about to come to a close, as Paul Mandolin, caught it all on Facebook and Twitter and matched the video and photos to the former Mrs. Hermanes, who was missing for the past 35 years now.
Paul Mandolin stared at the computer screen and did a retake three or four times. There she was after 35 years, the Hermanes woman in full living color and as alive as they come. Paul screamed in joy yesssssssssssssssssssssssssssss! Finally she popped up somewhere, I just need the exact location, getting a warrant for Facebook and Twitter, Paul traced where and by whom the photos were posted and got a plane ticket to Connecticut to meet this ex-sailor.
As he packed up getting ready, he knew this ex-sailor wasn’t hiding his woman, but, he must have known where she was all this time, without knowing who she was. He was excited as hell, to get on the flight as it left Virginia and landed in Connecticut that day. The ride to the ex-sailors home was about 45 minutes by car and Paul arrived at a Green contemporary home on a quiet street. The rose bushes out from were beautiful and the lawn manicured well. The driveway contained the two cars and a truck, and Paul walked up and knocked on the door.
The door opened and standing there was a very short haired man, smiling and dressed comfortably. Paul introduced himself and asked if he could speak with the man, sure was the answer and he let Paul in knowing he was a cop. Friendly sort is what he was and he introduced his wife, who he said was suffering from bone cancer at the time. He explained he had just recovered from a hernia operation and a few years ago he had, a lung cancer surgery himself, and asks what he could help Paul with. As they sat down to a cup of coffee, Paul explained about the video of his daughter’s wedding the man had put online, and of course the man beamed and asked what was wrong? Paul explained it was the daughter or her husband he had seen, or even this man and his wife, but his ex-mother in law he was looking for. The ex-sailor and his wife stared at Paul as the man asked Paul what about her, with a look of surprise on his face. Paul explained that the woman is the one; he and his father have been looking for, over 35 years.
The ex-sailor and his wife stared at Paul in shock, and then they gave Paul the address and location they last knew for the ex-mother in-laws home. The ex-sailor said he blamed his ex-mother in law for the divorce between him and his ex-wife, her daughter. He also explained how he was falsely arrested for Sexual Assault and Battery against his own daughter who lied and was put up to it by this woman and her daughter. The charge was dropped after the prosecuting attorney caught the daughter and ex-wife in lies, by reviewing their testimony and her notes. Paul said he now understood it, and told the sailor and his wife thank you and got back into his car and headed back to Bradley airport, next stop Pittsburgh, Paul thought. It was the midnight flight, so Paul fell asleep on the way, thinking of his father and the fact he was going to finally close the case, his father couldn’t. Gently he fell asleep as the plane flew west, to the conclusion of the Hermane, case finally.
The Pittsburgh airport with its red interior was clean and neat and busy, people running to and fro, grabbing baggage and getting tickets at the counters, as Paul with just a briefcase, with the warrant walked thru to the car rental counter. His first stop Paul knew would have to be the Police Department, of Wexford Police North of Pittsburgh, about a 40 minute drive. Paul drove slowly, taking his time and would up every once in a while and just say, Yes Dad, I am going to find her for you and close the one case you left open, I hope and pray you will be proud of me up there.
Stopping at the small Police Station for Wexford, Pa., Paul looks around to see the wooded area here in this small town, so pretty. Taking a deep breath of the fresh air, during his walk in, Paul knows he has to show the proof to these police so they can help him get his fugitive of 35 plus years. He does so quickly and convinces them this is her, just as he did with the Judge in Virginia. They stare at the photos and agree immediately same woman, and assign a Detective to go with Paul to capture her. The end of Dad’s case s finally here Paul thinks as they drive to the Wexford address, only to find she has moved. Damn it!
Getting the forwarding address from the now owners of the house, Paul also finds the address of the ex-sailors, ex-wife’s home just in case. Off to the second address for the woman he wants they head in silence and Paul prays this time, she will be there. Pulling into the apartment complex the Pittsburgh Detective explains the setup, simple he says, one way in and one way out no place to run. She is on the second floor, in Apartment A with her son, by all we know. She should be a simple capture. Paul says let’s hope so, let’s go as the Pittsburgh Detective pulls up. Stepping out they walk to the door and up the stairs they go, finally knocking on the door.
The door opens and it’s the son he is now in his early fifties, they show their badges and he allows them in. Immediately Paul asks where his mother is, the man turns and points, and there she is in living color now in her late seventies. Paul approaches her and places her under arrest as the son looks on astonished. It can’t be right he says, Paul stops and says it’s her believe me man; I didn’t come all this way for no reason. Placing her in cuffs, he reads her rights to her. It’s over now Paul says, as she just looks at her son, tears streaming down her face and says yes it is finally over and Paul walks her out as the son stares shocked. Paul finally has the former Mrs. Hermane in custody and on her way back to Virginia where she ran from 35 years ago. She says not a word in the cars or plane rides, nor does she say a word in her jail cell, she keeps to herself, quiet and sad. He shoulders once proud are now slouched over and she doesn’t look up much anymore, the Judge set her bail at a million for each person she killed back then, totaling now over 3 million dollars, no one has that kind of cash to get her out, the trial will be next Paul now knows, it’s over.
The Trial took place six months after her capture, and revealed she killed Hermane and her children for different reasons. Mr. Hermane she proved was a pedophile who used her first three children as sexual toys. When she caught him in the act she murdered him as soon as she could then poisoned the children so they wouldn’t have to live as victims of their father’s sickness. Then she bagged them and buried the children behind the false wall, the husband she said was buried across the house to keep him away from those he destroyed in her eyes for eternity. She claimed she was protecting her children from the husband, but couldn’t see allowing the children to live with the damage he did to them that bastard.
It brought out the fact the second husband was a pedophile also who did the same to her next four children and he escaped her justice by running as the divorce took place, after admitting it. The children were destroyed she said by him, just like the first ones, but she couldn’t bring herself at an age in her fifties to kill any of them they were full grown now. So when she found out what he did, and when he escaped she blamed her eldest daughter’s husband and had him arrested to get even with men. Sadly she claimed the man was released due to lies they had caught in court.
Her eldest daughter was now a divorcee with two daughters she tried to raise and failed at, both were damaged by the divorce. The Second child went into the Navy like the first but he failed too, for the same reasons and when he started to smoke pot, being discharged for it. The second daughter, was married 5 times since, and divorced all five times, and now lives in Florida taking care of her father the pedophile, and the baby boy is now closing in on 60, and sleeps in women’s nightgowns and lives alone in silence.
Mrs. Hermane now alone and in a jail cell, would slowly die alone, from heartbreak, because none of her children who were alive would pay attention or come to see her. Who can blame them; they are now all children of a notorious murderer!
It all began, Mrs. Hermanes tells the Guard, at The Corner of Danger and Trouble Streets in that big house! “I never knew what my husband was doing”” When I went to work the bastard would play with our kids and abuse and use them for his own sexual purposes.” Stopping for moment with tears in her eyes, behind the bars, the guard could almost feel sorry for her, but the guard kept in mind this is prison and she killed her husband and kids. No way am I relaxing here, I can listen and even sympathize with her, because the bastard was a pedophile to his own kids, but I can’t relax or get close.
Mrs’ Hermane’s story is not uncommon really, thinks the Guard,I just wonder how many other mothers, would do the same as she did. The prisoner kept on with her story to the guard and the guard listened well, but when it go to the point of the actual bloody details and how she put the bodies in the wall, the Guard couldn’t take it anymore and vomited on the floor in front of the cell. It never stopped the prisoner from talking, she just continued with her confession/ story. Nothing seemed to stop her, it was like she was relieving herself from all the stress and tension that caused the murders she committed.
The Guard left and got a mop and bucket and when she returned Mrs. Hermanes was still talking away, she didn’t notice the Guard had left, her chatter and voice could be heard all over the prison. As crazy as it seemed to the Guard, her story made some sense though, because the Guard knew if it were her husband, that did such a thing to her kids, she would flip out too, and probably kill him. Yet in the end, for all the talking she did, she never explained why she killed her own children and put them in those walls of that house on the Corner of Danger and Trouble Streets. As Mrs. Hermane continued on the Guard felt like she had to stop listening, especially, when the gory parts came up of her handling the bodies. The Guard knew one thing by the time she was done listening, no way in hell would the Guard have killed her own children. She felt sorry for Mrs. Hermane in one way, but in another the Guard knew she was a cold blooded murderer who will never see the light of day again, except for walking in the yard and through her cell windows bars.
It took the courts three years to get Mrs. Hermane to trial and thousands of dollars to convict her, of cold blooded murder. She was very lucky not to be sentenced to death; the state had killed the death penalty, by then.
Prisoners and Guards alike can see and hear Mrs. Hermane as she talks endlessly to herself in her cell and in the prison yard, when allowed to walk for exercise. And every Guard who hears her tell her story just does the same thing, listens and then shakes their head as they walk away.
Did you enjoy my story? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, William McCurrachWrite a Review