All families have their secrets, but the Iseler family has secrets that are beyond strange. While they seemed like a normal family on the outside, they were anything but. Richard and Linda had two sons, Matthew and Douglas, nine and six years old, and the family seemed to participate in normal activities, until one day when that all changed.
In 1993, Richard Iseler called his wife at work and told her that he was going to the emergency room because he wasn’t feeling well. Linda tried to accompany him to the hospital but Richard said that he couldn’t wait and had to get treated right away.
When Linda arrived home later that afternoon, she was shocked to find out that her older son, Matthew had been left home alone. She immediately called all the local hospitals where they lived in Indianapolis, Indiana, but there was no record of Richard checking in to any of them.
While Linda was confused about Richard’s whereabouts, she felt that he couldn’t be gone too long since he left behind his coat and all his belongings.
But, Linda had her answer an hour later when Richard called and said the following…
“I can’t live this way anymore. I feel you would be better off without me,” he said before hanging up quickly.
But that wasn’t his last call. A few hours later he had another message for his family…
“I don’t want to go to jail. I’m never coming back.”
And just like that, the Iseler family was shattered.
While his name was never listed on any flights, his car was discovered abandoned. When he did call two more times, he was sure to call collect, and when Linda traced it, she learned that the calls were coming from Venezuela and Aruba.
The only time that Richard made contact with the family again was when he sent a card for his sons’ birthdays.
Inside the cards he wrote the following…
“I love you and miss seeing you. Let your mom help spend this money, you might want to put some away. Maybe sometime soon we will get to see each other. I bet I won’t even know you it has been so long. Mind your mother. Bye, Dad.”
It didn’t take Linda long to discover that Richard had been struggling financially. He had maxed out all their credit cards and forged Linda’s signature on a bank loan. Soon, a police officer started to accuse Linda of knowing where Richard was and claiming that she was taking part in a financial hoax.
Wanting to keep her family safe, Linda decided to go into hiding and moved to McCordsville, Indiana. She was afraid that Richard was involved in something sketchy and wanted to protect her two boys. She moved all of her bills so they would be in her parents’ name, hoping that she wouldn’t be able to be tracked down. She even had her sons catch the school bus from a friend’s home, so they couldn’t be followed.
The truth came out when a detective discovered that Richard had been living in West Palm Beach, Florida, with a new wife and a new child. Evidently, he had been using the identity of a dead man, after he found a death certificate in the new house that he was living in. The identity belonged to Terry Symansky who had died in 1991.
Richard was taken into custody and being held responsible for all the charges that he over the years.