The Dog Who Knew Too Much
WHAT IS IT:
A traveling "no touch" murder mystery that takes participants on a hunt for clues throughout Crawfordville.
WHEN IS IT:
Saturday, November 14, 2020 from 12pm – 2pm.
WHAT'S THE COST:
$10. All participants must pay entry fee before deadline. $10 is the same for both individual and group. Group limit is 5 people
EXTENDED: Thursday, November 12 at 6pm.
Mystery Winners receive: 1ST Place: $100 / 2nd Place: $50
HOW DOES IT WORK?:
Contestants pay $10 entry fee online.
Sat. Nov. 14 at 11:45am - 12 noon: Contestants arrive at Palaver Tree Theater (59 Shadeville Rd, Crawfordville, Fl 32327).
12 NOON: Contestants receive an ENVELOPE containing the first “clue”. From there, they climb in their individual cars and are “off to the races!”
1 – 5: Basic clue finding.
6: The number of CLUE ENVELOPES decreases, eliminating half of the participants.
7 – 14: Envelope numbers continue to decrease, eliminating contestants at every stop. Contestants must perform a TASK (nothing strenuous.) The first ones to complete the task receive remaining envelopes and proceed to next round.
15: Only 1 ENVELOPE left that contains the name of "The Killer". A FINAL TASK must be performed. First to complete task returns to Palaver Tree for prize.
NOTE: If Wakulla is affected by Tropical Storm Eta, we will announce our postpone date on FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 13th on our website and Facebook page.
WAKULLA WHODUNNIT STORY:
The Dog Who Knew Too Much
The Tragic Demise of Waldorf Theodore Abromowitz
The Abromowitz family lives in Crawfordville, Florida, along a tree-lined dirt road not far from Walmart on Highway 319. Due to unfortunate events and in respect to privacy, the whereabouts of the Abromowitz family will not be made public.
Social media documentation, photos, and Wakulla News articles show that one Abromowitz family member was known to be the favorite: Waldorf Theodore Abromowitz, affectionately known as “Woofer”.
Woofer (8, in doggy years; approximately 51 in human), had a brave pup’s heart. He was popular for ball fetching, Frisbee retrieval, and door panel scratching to indicate when he wanted “out”. He had an uncanny ability for knowing when to “roll over” and “play dead”, which is what a small group of neighborhood kids thought he was doing on the morning of July 30th, 2020.
The community knew Woofer as a fun and games fellow who often dog-paddled in local sinkholes. "Squirrel Attack" was his preferred survival training exercise during the hunting season. As a young pup, he survived skid-row by poodle-dancing outside the Pet Stop store (downtown Crawfordville) for Beggin’ Strips treats. Not long after, he was adopted by the Abromowitz family.
On that sad July morning, the children, on their way to Hudson Park for a game of baseball, called out to Woofer, whom they’d recognized from across the street. The kids testified that Woofer did not wag his tail, as he often did in greeting. Instead, he lay motionless, beside the road, only yards away from his family’s home.
One of the boys approached to poke Woofer gently with the blunt end of his baseball bat. Woofer’s tail did not wag. He did not leap up and come down on all fours. Instead, silence fell as loudly as his bark had once risen. His dog days, sadly, plowed under by Death's wagon wheel.
(Actual crime scene photo)
According to reports from the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO), the group of youngsters fled shrieking. In fits of horror, they stumbled, fell – tumbled - one over the other, in an escape not unlike the Jamie Lee Curtis 1978 Halloween performance. A neighbor heard the cries and quickly arrived at the scene. The Sheriff’s Office was called, deputies dispatched, and Woofer’s family notified.
UNDERDOG: The Secret Life of “Woofer” Abromowitz
Waldorf "Woofer" Theodore Abromowitz
Although Woofer was adored by the community at large, recent investigations have unloosened a tangled web of individuals who despised him. This information came to light when news outlets began to dig into the complete background of one of Wakulla’s most beloved residents.
An unnamed source came forth last week, revealing a detail of the canine’s life that sent shock-waves through the county: Woofer was working as a secret agent for the WCSO. This tasty bit of kibble was not known to anyone, including the Abromowitz family. It was later confirmed by a member of the Sheriff's Office, who spoke to us under condition of anonymity:
"Yeah, he was working for us," the staff member said. "He was like a dog with a bone when it came to sniffing out who was causing problems. There were things going on that we had no idea about ‘til he got involved. He made a lotta enemies. Guess it's true what they say: Every dog has his day."
Unbeknownst to his family or community, Woofer single-handedly unearthed two meth labs, and once caught a burglar by the ankle in the midst of a robbery, only to stumble upon something a few days before his demise that was a bit more sinister. Whatever Woofer was about to uncover settled like the bone of agony, jagged and caught, in the throat of someone who had something to hide.
SUSPECT 1: Fighting Like Cats and Dogs
Some years ago, dogs throughout Wakulla began to go missing. Many awoke to find their 4-legged friends had vanished from their homes, front yards, or back porches after being released for bladder and bowel breaks. For months, people wandered the streets, parks, and wooded areas in aimless pursuit.
It wasn’t until Woofer, on a fluke, began his own search that the canines were found, held against their will, on property belonging to the Doggy Ring Man.
For months Doggy Ring Man (better known as The DRM), would travel the main streets and backroads in an attempt to kidnap the dogs. Once his goal was obtained, The DRM would force the traumatized animal to participate in an underground dog fight club in which The DRM was paid hand over fist for every round, no matter the pet’s outcome. Even more unsettling is that the club had over 350 members from Wakulla and surrounding counties.
We managed to track down the notorious DRM for a brief interview. He had this to say:
DOGGY RING MAN: “Yeah, it’s true. But I did my time and I'm out, so, bow-wow-wow, yippee-yo, yippee-yay.”
The DRM served three years in jail, was released a few years back and is presently on probation. When asked why he would engage in such a risky endeavor, the DRM responded:
DOGGY RING MAN: “Me and the mizzuz needed some extra cash, and a friend of mine told me that this might be a way out. I didn’t wanna do it, you know, ‘cause we got a pet of our own…but, hell, it was too good to pass up. I was making more than $3000 a night just so the dogs could fight. We were making our bills; paying off our property taxes – I was sure as hell we were gonna make it. And we would have too, if not for that meddling dog.”
Court documents show that Woofer posed as one of the kidnapped dogs. He later participated in a battle royale from which he emerged the champion, but not before chipping a tooth, receiving damage to his front left paw, and contracting a severe case of the mange.
Once the fight was over, a battered and bloodied Woofer hobbled to the Sheriff’s Office, and somehow relayed info. In less than twenty minutes, WCSO was on the scene. Ten people were arrested, including The DRM, who received time for kidnapping, animal abuse and endangerment:
DOGGY RING MAN: “There woulda been no problem if that hound-dog woulda kept his nose down. What he did – how he did it – that couldn’t have been legal! I mean – he’s a damn dog, right?? I'll never get back the years I lost in jail 'cause of him. Looks like he lost a few years, too. Now we're even."
SUSPECT 2: Meaner Than a Junkyard Dog
Not long after the doggy ring had been broken, Woofer returned to civilian life. Barely three months had passed before he was confronted with yet another dilemma.
Less than a mile down from Woofer’s residence, a house was becoming known as one of ill repute. Neighbors were concerned about the stunning number of visitors the house received at all hours of the day and night. Woofer took it upon himself to investigate.
Outside of the home, the smell worked as an invisible force field, overpowering the visitor with a heavy chemical scent. Woofer knew it in an instant: Meth. But his instincts were not enough to go on. He needed proof. For Woofer, gathering that proof, was all too easy.
As 'Man's Best Friend', he needed only to go to the front door step and lie there. Which is what he did. Sure enough, one of the home’s tenants – a woman – came out for a cigarette break.
She saw Woofer lying on the steps. She must have been a mother in a past life, because she squatted down and began talking to him, petting him. Five minutes later he was headed inside for a can of Alpo. There were two other dogs in the house, caged, which may have been why the dog food was available. Woofer followed his host into the kitchen. He noticed a plastic bag stout with drugs, in plain sight, on the kitchen table. Once the woman’s back was turned, Woofer chomped down on the bag and ran for it.
Luckily, the woman had left the front door open, hoping to return to her cigarette after his feeding. Woofer heard her yell as he jetted from the house, straight to WCSO. Arrests were made within an hour. Investigators later discovered that the house was linked to another meth kitchen operating one county away.
The woman that let Woofer into the house, Mona Methup, had this to say recently regarding Woofer’s tragic end:
MONA METHUP: “He just seemed like a friendly dog. I didn’t know being kind to him was gonna put me in jail. I didn’t even get to finish my cigarette ’for they hauled me off! You know how much a pack ‘a those things cost? Sorry he’s dead, but after how he played it, he deserved what he got.”
Mona, among others that included her boyfriend, was arrested. She served six months. Others recall how she made vicious threats as she was being thrown into the cop car, all aimed at Woofer, who now had a moment to finish his Alpo with the other two dogs on the premises.
SUSPECT 3: Let Sleeping Dogs Lie
Isabelle Duggins was a sweet and gentle lady. She was a regular at the Walmart salon with her girlfriends of a certain age, getting their weekly mani and pedicures. But something changed. Isabelle had begun to miss her weekly Wednesday appointments. The friends who frequently gathered to hold court with her hadn’t seen or heard from her in over a month.
Her husband, Chester Duggins, was asked about his wife’s whereabouts. People recall him being standoffish, flippant, and often rude in his responses. Local gossip suggested that Chester had killed Isabelle and buried her somewhere on his fifteen acres. When he was later questioned by authorities as to why he hadn’t filed a report or, at the very least, seem concerned, Chester responded:
CHESTER DUGGINS: “Cause all the hoopla is ridiculous! Whatta you think – that I’d kill my wife?! There were times, yeah, when she would’ve deserved a killing, but I would never actually do it.”
When pressed further about what Isabelle could have done to “deserve” a “killing”, Mr. Duggins responded:
CHESTER DUGGINS: “I never said that!”
When his comments were re-read to him, Mr. Duggins replied:
CHESTER DUGGINS: “Whatever! - you and your fake news! You can spin it any way you want.”
Four months passed without so much as a yip from Isabelle. Neighbors grew increasingly wary of Chester and didn’t even attempt to hide their dislike. He made the mistake of not avoiding one particular Walmart Wednesday where – in days past –Isabelle and her crew held their outing. The confrontation between Chester and his wife’s closest “ride or die’s” (as she called them) turned into a swinging match – with Chester on the losing end. Security was called to escort him to his car for his own safety.
Somewhere during his travels throughout the neighborhood, Woofer began to hone in on the town’s hostility towards Chester. And with each gnaw on the bone of that hostility, pungent whiffs of mischief began to arise.
It was a Thursday when Woofer trotted over to the Duggins place. His wet nose – intrigued – pulled him towards a powerful, almost gamey aroma wafting from the gladiolas patch in the backyard. He followed it. Dug down into the earth… a turquoise ring… the finger that wore it. And, as only Isabelle would have it, her perfectly manicured fingernail. Painted a ruby red.
Once again, Woofer was off to the WCSO. It has been reported that he burst into the building, howled, and began an inspired Lassie-esque interpretive dance that raised the alarm. When authorities arrived at the Duggins homestead, they were unsure of where to look. It was then that Woofer went to the gladiolus patch, lifted his right hind leg and released his bladder. After some digging from five different deputies, Isabella was finally unearthed.
With his dead wife in the back yard, Chester found himself in something of a pickle. Currently, Chester is out on bond and awaiting trial. When told that Woofer had recently met his own horrible end, Mr. Duggins replied:
CHESTER DUGGINS: “Good! The dirty dog! That’s what ya’ get for sellin’ woof tickets! He got what was coming to him! You won't yank my chain and get away with it.”
SUSPECTS 4 and 5: Puppy Love
It is not often that a dog falls in love at first sight. But it happened to Woofer, not so long ago. Bella was a toy poodle that lived with her adoptive family in the Sopchoppy area. Her “dad” would often make trips to Crawfordville. Five times a week, to be exact.
(A portrait of Bella)
It was during one of those visits that Woofer saw Bella. She was perched in a windowsill of the home that belonged to one of the most sought after single ladies in town. Over time, Woofer and Bella built up a “bark romance”. The window pane, the only thing keeping their animal lusts at bay.
One day, as Bella and Woofer were …barking, a strange car arrived and parked across the street from the single lady’s house. A tall, thin woman stepped out of the car. She seemed extremely nervous. With timid steps, she began walking towards the single lady’s home when - abruptly - she paused. With cellphone in hand, she began snapping photos of the cars in the driveway. She took photos of the house - and of Woofer himself!
It was here that Woofer began to put two and two together. This was the gentleman’s wife. The same gentleman that was inside – with the single lady, doing what he wished the humans would leave he and Bella alone to do.
Without warning, the woman flung her body onto the gentleman’s car – causing its alarm to screech at a deafening pitch. She screamed, cried and cursed her god in torment as she slunk down – melting, it seemed – onto the hot asphalt driveway.
Woofer – startled by the car’s alarm – let loose a howl so tremendous that Bella, too, began to wail.
What happened next was so ugly and unpleasant that it would eventually lead to divorce. For, at that moment, the gentleman stepped out of the front door of the house, clad only in a robe. Seconds later, the single lady, covered only by an over-sized t-shirt, arrived in the threshold to join him.
A fight broke out and authorities were called. The gentleman and single lady received massive scratches and bruises. The tall woman was arrested for assault and battery. She was released hours later on her own recognizance, given the emotional trauma suffered.
The gentleman and single lady whose adulterous affair had now been uncovered, had this to say:
THE GENTLEMAN: “I knew that dog was a bad omen. Soon as I saw him trying to get close to my Bella, I knew he was no good. (To SINGLE LADY) I told you that too, didn’t I, Honey Bun?”
At this, the SINGLE LADY, a bit doe-eyed and fawning over THE GENTLEMAN, only nodded her head in agreement.
THE GENTLEMAN: “I kicked at him, shooed him away, but he just kept crawling back. I lost the best thing in my life ‘cause a that dog.”
REPORTER: You mean your marriage?
THE GENTLEMAN: No! My Bella!
REPORTER: Well, what about your marriage? Were you at all unhappy to lose that?
THE GENTLEMAN: (Shrugs-) Can’t teach an old dog new tricks, I guess. Me and Honey Bun were gonna breed Bella, make money, and start a new life. That dog hanging out here put my Bella in a frenzy - and now she's gone! An eye for an eye if you ask me."
Its true: Bella was gone. And, more than anyone, it proved most painful for Woofer. Bella had previously related to him through barks, wags, and growls, that her “human family” saved her from execution at the local animal shelter. Given the trauma she suffered there, she was currently on a regimen of canine antidepressants. The episode mentioned above was the final straw. Bella, in a heightened state of anxiety, bolted through the single lady’s windowpane and fled the scene. She has not been heard from since. It is believed that she wandered off into the woods where, later, she was spirited away by members of the Rainbow Tribe.
SUSPECT 6: Running with the Big Dogs
One last person who should be mentioned in this line-up of suspects, is Rob Steele. Mr. Steel has been referred to as a “loudmouth”. He would often attend county commission meetings and, in less than a span of three minutes, publicly (and in some cases, accurately) eviscerate commissioners one by one as they sat on the platform. There were two occasions when he actually threw things in their direction and had to be escorted out.
Reports on Mr. Steele show that he had little concern for his reputation, safety, or the consequences of threatening those who served or ran for public office. He was known for wanting to "take them down", which is exactly what he attempted during the county's last election cycle.
It was a hot time in Wakulla as Facebook posts, town halls and "Meet the Candidate" gatherings began to show the best and worst of, not only the contenders, but the voters themselves. Little by little, campaign signs announcing who was running for what began to disappear. Candidates were blaming one another for their property being stolen under cloak of night.
That summer, temperatures throughout the region were up and into the hundreds. Over seventy people were sent to the hospital for heat exhaustion and dehydration. There was also a countywide ban on burning, due to the possibility of a larger fire spreading.
The possibility of a wildfire is what caused Woofer concern one evening as he stepped outside the Abromowitz home for a potty-break. He smelled smoke and, when he looked up, saw in the distance a large glowing orb of fire. He howled, ran inside the home and managed to alert Mr. Abromowitz who, in turn, called WCSO.
When deputies and the volunteer fire department arrived, they found themselves in the backyard of none other than Rob Steele. And there, on the back lawn, was a fiery mound of campaign materials.
Posters, banners, t-shirts, yard signs, mailers - all were going up in smoke. There were even a few life-sized candidate cut-outs that, eerily, showed the contenders smiling and waving valiantly as the flames consumed them. And there, before the roaring pyre, was Rob Steele, the culprit who'd hoarded it all, just to watch it burn. Now, Mr. Steele, arms wild and flailing, laughed madly as he danced a jig around the inferno.
When a deputy called him by name, Steele attempted to make a run for it. Woofer gave chase and - taking a chomp at Steele's left calf - brought him to the ground.
Recently, when asked for comment on his actions and Woofer's murder, Mr. Steele replied:
STEELE: “They’re all a joke! They don’t serve the people. All they care about is themselves. Look at how much money they spent on signs instead of giving that money to the people, or putting it towards something that counts. I could’ve made a REAL statement if it wasn’t for that nosey dog! He made ME the criminal instead of calling out those swindlers in office. I’m glad the mutt’s dead! That’ll teach him to sniff around in the business of people like me - tryin' to save the world! “
FINAL BOW: Sick as a Dog
Local authorities and members of the Abromowitz family are asking for the public’s help in solving the murder of Waldorf Theodore Abromowitz, aka “Woofer”. Autopsy reports show that Woofer was run over by a golf cart and poisoned by use of two Hershey chocolate bars, along with a pack of Oreo Double Stuff cookies laced with a toxic amount of Lufenuron, an oral flea and tick medication treatment.