- The owners of a New Jersey house, who were terrorized for five years by someone called “The Watcher,” just sold the home at a more than $400,000 loss, Bloomberg reported.
- Maria and Derek Broaddus bought the six-bedroom Westfield house in 2014 for almost $1.4 million.
- For years, they received creepy, threatening letters signed by “The Watcher.”
- After years of attempts to sell the house and tear it down, a lawsuit against the former owners, and an inconclusive police investigation, the Broadduses sold the house on July 1, 2019 for $959,360.
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In an affluent New Jersey town, a couple sold their $1.4 million dream home at a roughly $440,640 loss after five years – and they never even lived in it, Bloomberg reported.
That’s because, shortly after buying it, the couple started receiving increasingly creepy letters from someone who signed the notes as “The Watcher.”
Maria and Derek Broaddus paid $1.4 million for the home in 2014, The Cut reported. Shortly thereafter, the threatening letters started showing up in the mailbox of the home, which they were renovating while they continued to live at their old house.
In November 2018, Reeves Wiedeman of The Cut published an in-depth investigation into the unsolved case. As Wiedeman reported, the letters were sent by someone who claimed to have been a sort of guardian of the Westfield house for years.
The first letter started by welcoming the Broadduses to the neighborhood. As The Cut reported, the letter read: "657 Boulevard has been the subject of my family for decades now and as it approaches its 110th birthday, I have been put in charge of watching and waiting for its second coming. My grandfather watched the house in the 1920s and my father watched in the 1960s. It is now my time. Do you know the history of the house? Do you know what lies within the walls of 657 Boulevard? Why are you here? I will find out."
The letters often referred to the couple's three children and included detailed observations of the family's renovation activities, as well as the time they had spent at the new house.
The family said one of the letters they received read: "Do you need to fill the house with the young blood I requested? Once I know their names I will call to them and draw them too (sic) me."
In another letter, the writer once again mentioned "young blood" in an apparent reference to the Broadduses' children.
"Will the young blood play in the basement?" the letter read. "Or are they too afraid to go down there alone. I would [be] very afraid if I were them. It is far away from the rest of the house. If you were upstairs you would never hear them scream."
The case was investigated by Westfield police and the Union County prosecutor's office, but no one has been charged.
Six months after the first letter, the Broadduses put the house on the market, listing it for more than what they paid for it to account for the renovations they'd made. But rumors were swirling about a potential stalker, and they didn't find a buyer even after lowering the price.
A year after the Broadduses bought the house, they filed a legal complaint against the previous owners, the Woods, claiming they had received a letter from "the Watcher" and failed to disclose it.
The Woods said in a court filing that they received only one anonymous note days before the Broadduses closed on the house, but the Woods denied that the note was "disturbing or claimed an ownership right to the home," according to The Associated Press. The lawsuit was dismissed in 2017.
The Broadduses tried unsuccessfully to have the house torn down, after which they received a letter from "The Watcher" threatening revenge, according to The Cut:
"Maybe a car accident. Maybe a fire. Maybe something as simple as a mild illness that never seems to go away but makes you fell sick day after day after day after day after day. Maybe the mysterious death of a pet. Loved ones suddenly die. Planes and cars and bicycles crash. Bones break."
The family ended up renting the house out in hopes that they could sell it after a few years.
In addition to the $440,640 loss on the home they never lived in, the Broaddus family had spent thousands on renovations, security, and private investigators.