A Disturbing Moment
Tears welled up in her eyes as she heard her grandson’s words. He claimed to have seen his mom and dad while they were out for the day. Just the thought was enough to make the older woman cry.
It had to be his imagination. That was the only rational explanation. She turned toward the ice cream stand he pointed to and her jaw dropped. Nothing made sense. This wasn’t possible.
It had been a long time since Amanda felt a sense of happiness pervade her home. The kids’ bags were packed and everything was finally ready. The house was tidy and it was time to bundle into the car as Santa Monica beckoned.
It was meant to be a trip to the beach. Just a simple outing but one that meant so much to the poor kids who had lost so much. Amanda had no idea that the trip would end up changing their lives irrevocably.
Amanda Harrison had planned the trip a long time. The beach wasn’t her favorite place in the world but she knew that her grandkids would appreciate the chance to spend a much-needed vacation in California.
It had been a rough year, to say the least. Her daughter and son-in-law had passed away under suspicious circumstances the year before. Just like that, her two precious grandchildren had been left orphaned.
It happened while Kate and Carmine had been driving. It was meant to be a trip to a national park. All Amanda knew after was that the couple’s car had gone off the road and disappeared under a lake before anyone could help.
Police managed to salvage the wreck but the couple’s bodies were never found. It was a huge loss for the family, especially young Monica and Andrew who had lost their parents. It was never the plan, but now the children were forced to live with grandma.
A Year On
It was almost a year to the day since that fateful event. Amanda had begun seeing the first flickers of life returning to the kids’ eyes. It had been a horrifically difficult time for them, but they were beginning to smile again finally.
Amanda planned the trip as a means of moving on and starting a new life. Instead, just when she thought the nightmare was slowly ending, a new one took its place.
Arriving in Sacramento, Amanda and the kids didn’t even bother checking into their hotel first. The kids were so excited about the beach that they headed there first.
Neither had ever seen the ocean in real life before, so it was a special treat for them. The kids rushed onto the promenade, with Amanda trying her best to keep pace with them. They were so thrilled at the sight of the water. However, things soon took a disturbing turn.
Amanda had just reached the sand and set down some towels for herself and the kids. She was looking forward to relaxing while the kids played in the water. Andrew had just left her side when he returned shortly after. She could tell that something was wrong from his expression.
He pointed toward an ice cream stand and insisted that he had seen his parent buying ice cream there. Amanda’s eyes welled with tears at his words. The little boy was clearly still grieving. It was the only logical explanation for what he saw. At least that’s what Amanda thought.
Calming Him Down
Amanda began to choke up as she tried to break it to the little child that he had to be mistaken. It had finally felt like they were coming to terms with the loss. Now, Amanda wondered if Andrew was in denial again.
Try as she might to calm him, he continued to insist that he’d seen the. Amanda turned in the direction he pointed and felt like all the air had left her body. She could not believe her eyes.
Plain As Day
There was a young couple at the ice cream stand. Amanda thought she was hallucinating at first. Just as Andrew had said, it was them! How could this be? Amanda’s mind began to race.
She called Monica over and held the kids close to her, unsure what to make of it all. She kept the kids at her side and quietly began to follow the mysterious couple. She had to know if it was just a mistake or a trick of the mind. The resemblance was uncanny.
Amanda and the kids followed the couple and watched as they left the beach. They soon reached a suburban neighborhood but Amanda still wasn’t able to get a better look. They approached a house and it seemed like the couple lived there. Apparently, that’s where the couple lived.
Not knowing what to do as they went inside, Amanda called the police. Luckily the cops took her call seriously and despatched two officers. The officers heard her story and escorted them to the house. As they knocked, Amanda and the kids held their collective breaths.
That night, Amanda lay in bed and tried to justify what she’d witnessed. They surely hadn’t really seen them. She’d only just come to terms with the loss, but now she felt like she was back at square one.
What were the chances of seeing a couple who looked exactly like her daughter and son-in-law? Was she going mad? But a niggling feeling told her that she’d know her daughter’s face anywhere. She couldn’t just forget what she’d seen.
Back To The Beach
Early the next day, Amanda got the kids ready for the beach. She was willing to sit there all day if she had to – she only hoped that the couple would come back so she could see them again.
Although she felt terrible about telling Andrew and Monica to keep an eye out and to let her know if they spotted the people who looked like their parents again, she’d be ready this time. Now, all she could do was wait. Luckily, fate was smiling down on Amanda that day.
Spotting Them Again
After staying on the beach near the ice cream stand for hours, Amanda’s plan finally paid off. The couple was there again; this time, they were walking arm-in-arm on the boardwalk. Amanda studied them until she knew she was sure.
They were more tanned than they used to be, but she’d know her daughter’s habit of flicking her hair back when she smiled anywhere. She quickly grabbed their beach gear, gathered the kids, and made a dash for her car.
After waiting for around an hour in the car, the couple finally reappeared in the parking lot and got into the same black Mercedes. Amanda watched them from a distance and carefully pulled out behind them.
She kept a distance of one car between them at all times – the last thing she wanted was for them to spot her trailing them. She wanted the truth.
Arriving At The House
With their hearts racing, Amanda and the kids followed the couple for a few streets until they finally arrived at a big house in the suburbs. Apparently, that’s where the couple lived.
At that point, there was not much else Amanda could do to solve the mystery. She decided to call the police and tell them about her suspicions. Soon enough, a police car arrived at the house. Two officers got out of the car and knocked on the door as Amanda and the kids watched from a distance.
In A Heartbeat
It all happened in a heartbeat: just a few minutes after the officers entered the house, they walked out with Carmine’s and Kate’s doppelgängers, who were now wearing handcuffs!
One of the officers came close to a shook Amanda and told her that the two members of the couple were suspects in a case they had been trying to solve for months. He assured her that she would receive a phone call from the station in the next few days, telling her about the details.
The Real Story
As it turned out, that was really Kate, Amanda’s daughter; but the man wasn’t Carmine. It was his twin brother Albert. While Carmine had always been known as a kind, brilliant, hard-working man, his brother was the opposite.
He was the black sheep of the family. He was sort of a drifter, and he would always be in and out of county jail and coming up with schemes and lies to leech off his brother’s hard-earned income. One day, he decided to go even further.
He seduced Kate, who was rumored to only be interested in Carmine because of the fortune he had made thanks to his entrepreneurial spirit and committed work ethic. However, she found him meek and spineless. In contrast, Albert promised her a life of excitement and adventure together.
The two of them had conspired to get rid of Carmine: they gave him a fatal dose of sleeping pills, threw him in a lake, and faked a car accident to avoid raising suspicions and start a new life of crime together with fake identities.
Living The High Life
The police raided the home Albert, and Kate had been living in for the last year and found more evidence of their crimes.
They had been living the high life while Amanda and the children fought through their grief. The police were astounded by the blatant display of extravagance they found in the sea-facing mansion.
Rental records of the six-bedroom property revealed that it had been leased out for $ 1,200 a week for the last ten months.
“We found a walk-in closet inside with piles of ID documents, clothes, and shoes from various luxury labels, including Ferragamo, Chanel, Dior, and Louis Vuitton, bags of the same brands including Hermes, and uncountable Louis Vuitton bags all around the house,” the Chief of police said in a statement. But how had they afforded all of it?
Albert had been in and out of jail for various schemes and thefts since he was 20 years old. He hardly ever had a job – he cheated others out of their hard-earned money to earn a living. And he was extremely good at it.\
He and his brother Carmine had never gotten along. In his teenage years, he perfected a simple con at a train station close to his childhood home. He’d gotten good at spotting a sucker from a mile away.
Abert’s cons started small. He would wait by the payphone until he found a mark. When someone stepped behind him, the performance began.
He’d pretend to be on a call and start crying, exclaiming that he couldn’t get to the hospital to see his dying mom because he didn’t have enough money for a train ticket. It worked almost every time. But Albert’s scams needed to become a lot more elaborate if he was to live in the luxury he wanted.
Over the years, Albert’s cons grew in size. He became involved in a company that had been set up under a deceased man’s name to pull off his biggest scam of all.
He had been going under the name Nigel Foster, and the police had been looking for him for months. Although the police had no idea he was also involved in the disappearance of his brother, he was wanted in another case.
Sports Betting Scam
The man ‘Nigel Foster’ was wanted to conning three Hong Kong men out of $5 million in Bitcoin in an elaborate sports betting scam.
Albert had promised the three investors guaranteed returns on their capital by being able to predict the outcome of sporting matches mathematically – however, the money disappeared into thin air, and no bets were ever placed by the fraudulent company.
After such a high-profile stunt, Albert knew the police were hot on his heels. He needed to assume a new identity – at least for long enough to throw the investigators off his trail.
His twin brother was the perfect solution; he just needed to be in his house long enough to steal his identity documents and hack into his accounts. What he hadn’t expected, however, was that his brother’s wife would help him.
When Albert traveled to his brother’s house in Los Angeles, he had only one plan: to steal his brother’s identity.
Although they had never gotten along, Carmine was a generous man and welcomed his brother into his home with open arms, hoping to resolve the years-long rift between them. However, it wasn’t long before Albert saw a golden opportunity.
In the days that Albert spent in his brother’s home, he couldn’t help but notice the glances Kate was giving him when she thought her husband wasn’t looking.
Indeed, it seemed like the couple’s marriage had hit a rough patch – they were even sleeping in separate rooms. Albert had always had a talent for reading people. To him, it was clear that they had lost their spark and were staying together for the kids.
Seizing The Opportunity
It wasn’t difficult for Albert to seduce Kate. Then, another plan began to form. Albert seized the opportunity with both hands, convincing Kate to get rid of her husband and leave her boring life and kids behind.
For a year, they’d been living off Albert’s ill-gotten gains in absolute luxury while Amanda and the children mourned. But, thankfully, they had been caught in the end.
She Couldn’t Believe It
Amanda felt her whole world crumbling down when she heard this. How could her daughter be capable of something like that? She couldn’t help but feel that she had failed as a mother.
And the poor kids! They still didn’t know the truth. Would they ever be ready to learn the real story about what happened to their parents? But after mourning for a while, Amanda realized something.
In a way, the outcome could have been way worse. Had their parents stayed together in a loveless and abusive marriage, the kids would have suffered its effects. And God only knew in what ways their conniving and cunning mother could have influenced them.
Now, they could start anew. Amanda promised herself that she would do everything in her power to raise her grandchildren properly and serve as a righteous example.