WAKULLA WHODUNNIT: Murder at the Blue Crab (Panacea)

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1ST Place: $100  /  2nd Place: $50

WHAT:      A traveling "no touch" murder mystery that takes participants on a scavenger hunt throughout Panacea.

WHEN:   Saturday, December 19, 2020 from 11:50am – 2pm.

HOW MUCH:    $10. All participants must pay entry fee before FRIDAY, DECEMBER 18th 1PM DEADLINE. ($10 is the same for single and group contestants.)


Contestants pay $10 entry fee online. $10 covers one individual or one “car” group up to 5 people.

On Sat. Dec. 19 contestants arrive at designated STARTING LINE:  Wakulla Welcome Center, 1505 Coastal Hwy, Panacea, FL 32346.

12 NOON:  Contestants receive "clue" to their first destination. They climb in their car and travel to that destination for another clue. The game continues in this fashion as teams are eliminated along the way. 


Family and authorities are seeking the public's help in locating the person(s) responsible for the murder of Magnolia “Maggie” Crabtree who was found dead in the Woolley Park area of Panacea, Florida this past May. Due to this unfortunate event and in respect to the family’s privacy, the current residence of the now deceased Mrs. Crabtree will not be made available to the public.  

What we know so far…

  Magnolia "Maggie" Crabtree was found dead on Sunday morning, May 2, of this year.  Reports indicate that Mrs. Crabtree was located face down in a muddied ditch in Panacea’s Woolley Park. A resident, walking his dog, came upon an abandoned galosh boot with traces of what appeared to be blood. He looked left, then downward where - to his shock - lay Mrs. Crabtree.  Authorities were contacted and later confirmed the gruesome discovery. 

  A Catskills native, Maggie Crabtree moved to Panacea with her late husband, Huckleberry, twenty-three years ago. She had been four times married, three times divorced and, now, a first-time widow.   After Huck’s passing less than a year ago, folks in the area noticed how Maggie began to change. This, of course, can be expected after the death of a spouse and people grieve in their own way. Maggie’s grief was slightly different. She abruptly left her volunteer position at the Welcome Center. Instead of contacting anyone to give notice, she simply didn’t show. When contacted about the 10am-2pm shift that she’d abandoned, she hung up on the caller.  Her entire wardrobe changed overnight into items that were, some say, “flashier” and more risque. Her hair was now cut into a new style and bleached. Her make-up appeared heavier and more extravagant than usual. Especially her eyes. Friends began (among themselves) to comment “Here comes Ol’ Smokey”, at Maggie’s approach. She traded in her Honda Accord for a candy apple red Mustang. Two weeks after Huck’s funeral she threw a huge party at her home. The event was going  swimmingly until guests noticed her downing amazing amounts of dirty martinis. She then staggered to her bedroom closet, grabbed every stitch of her late husband’s clothing, took them to the backyard and dumped them on the grass. Reports say she then returned to the home, grabbed a container of lighter fluid and doused the items. Then, shakily, she lit a crumpled Virginia Slims cigarette, took one long pull, and tossed it on the pile. Some say the flame-burst was so large that Maggie’s new hairdo was singed, along with the eyebrows of a few onlookers. 

This, however, wouldn’t lead someone to murder her. Maggie was found hours after this year’s annual Blue Crab Festival that took place on the first Saturday in May. Many saw her at the event. Authorities have been steadily interviewing those who came in contact with her at the festival, inquiring about her demeanor, their relationship to the victim, etc. Anyone with information to help locate the person(s) responsible for the death of Magnolia “Maggie” Crabtree are asked to contact authorities. 


SUSPECT 1:  The Sister

  Maybelline Bloom, Maggie’s sister, moved in with her not long after the Huck's death. Unlike her sister, Maybelline, or “May”, never married. Preferring the Florida sunshine to the New York state snow, she would often travel down the east coast to visit her sister and brother-in-law. The traits most noted by many about May  are that she was a very “quiet” and soft-spoken lady. Especially when around her sister.  However, when around her brother-in-law, Huck, she became outgoing and talkative. Others noticed the close friendship between the two and would often joke that one would think that it was May and Huck who were a couple, instead of he and Maggie. After Huck’s death, some say that May felt the loss more strongly than her sister. The weight of grief wore more on her as if she was the widow and not Maggie. Also, at the party Maggie threw after Huck’s death, when his clothing was tossed on the fire, May is recalled as having leapt towards the flames as if to recover what she could. Some say that she had to be restrained when attempting to pull one of Huck’s tweed jackets from the blaze. It has caused some to speculate if there was something in the fire of particular worth to May that only she and Huck knew about. And whether or not it could have been of such import that it would have inspired murder.   

SUSPECT 2: The Male Companion

  Abel Young is a retired construction worker.  He was known to be a close friend of the Crabtree’s and would often spend time with them in their home and at other gatherings. There were a few rumors that Maggie had tried to set Abel up with her sister, May, on a few occasions whenever she came to town. Some have disputed this rumor, saying that the match-making scheme was nothing more than a ruse to conceal the fact that Maggie was having an affair with Abel. This speculation has grown as of late, given the fact that, at the time of her death, Maggie and Abel were believed to have been secretly married. This would have been Abel’s second marriage, and Maggie’s fifth. This possible pairing becomes even more suspect when taken into account the amounts of the two insurance policies Maggie received after her husband, Huck, had passed. Such suspicions have led a few in the area to believe that Abel may have married Maggie for her late husband’s money and, once his own name was placed as beneficiary of Maggie’s estate and her personal insurance policies, set about crafting a plan for her demise. 

SUSPECT 3:  The Little Lady at the Welcome Center

  Abigail Funderburke was a volunteer at the Welcome Center in Panacea where Maggie also lent a hand on occasion. By all accounts, Abigail was one of the most pleasant of individuals a person could hope to meet. Panacea was dear to her heart and anyone visiting the Welcome Center knew this within the first few minutes of speaking with her.  She had moved to the area with her husband in the early 80s when the area had a smaller population.  An avid churchgoer, Abby (as most people knew her), is said to have depended on the Good Lord Above for everything that was of value in her life. But, some say, when that-which-was-larger-than-she, sent down the tests of both defeat and disappointment, Abby was not one eager to accept the verdict. Some recall how - decades ago - she fasted and prayed fervently for a piece of property in the area that she was most sure her Lord wished her to have.  She even went so far as to say that all she had to do was “claim it”, dismissing the amount of finances needed to make this claim legally so.  In the midst of prophesying about that which was to be hers, Maggie and Huck came to the area and bought the property outright. Abby’s husband, Frank, passed in 2015. She received enough afterwards to possibly consider purchasing the property. Some from the Welcome Center have recalled overhearing conversations between Abby and Maggie, in which Abby, ever so subtly, inquired if Maggie and Huck wanted to live-out the rest of their years on the property. She talked of the storms and other liabilities that may prove problematic for a mature couple as the years went on.  Maggie, unaware of Abby’s intentions, always replied “I think we’ll be fine, “ or similar. After Maggie’s husband was deceased, those at the Welcome Center became increasingly concerned when Abby pushed the issue of selling the property even further. Some believe that this is why Maggie ended her volunteer relationship with the center. And even then, Maggie is said to have commented on receiving calls from Abby, inquiring about her well-being. Those who spoke to Maggie often recall her joking about it, saying “It seems I have a stalker. “ Witnesses report seeing Maggie at the Blue Crab Festival with both her sister and Abel in tow. They also report seeing Abby approach Maggie and say a few words before Maggie slapped Abby so hard that she staggered back and fell, partially bringing down a tent that sold tie-dyed t-shirts and dresses. Abel quickly pulled her away from the scene, as May (Maggie’s sister) offered assistance to the stunned and fallen Abby. 

SUSPECTS 4 and 5: The Couple from the Lodge

  Stuart and Stacy Swingley met the Crabtree’s at one of the local lodges in Panacea. The two couples seemed to hit it off. They set times to meet there for a few drinks, or have dinner somewhere along the coast or at each other’s homes. Some speculate that there may have been more going on with the group than just a “friendship”.  A few people who knew both couples have mentioned that last year at the lodge's holiday party, the couples had switched partners and were carousing things up when, in front of onlookers, Huck was seen kissing Stacy. It appears that during this time, Maggie and Stuart were not in the room, but later re-entered. After approximately an hour, both couples left together. No one is absolutely sure, but after this night the couples seldom spoke to one another. A friend of Stuart's, who chose to speak under condition of anonymity, said that he was told that the four of them went back to the Crabtree home for more partying and things a bit more intimate.  Stuart’s friend says that things were getting hot and heavy when one participant seemed to lose their nerve and became argumentative. The friend believes a hint of jealousy may have been involved, but it ended with a few pieces of furniture being knocked about and the Swingley duo tossed out of the Crabtree home. 

It should also be noted here that although Huck Crabtree’s death was listed as accidental, some believe there may have been foul play involved. Maggie, it seems, was out of town at the time of her husband’s passing. It would be Stuart Swingley who would eventually find Huck dead on the back porch due to a supposed fall. When Stuart was questioned about why he’d been at the Crabtree residence that day, he said that he had a falling out with Huck a while back and wanted to talk to him, man to man, and set things right. His wife, Stacy, who reports state was sitting in the car when officers arrived, agreed with her husband.  Could it be that instead of setting things right, the two went to settle a score? Rumor has it that Maggie promised the Swingley's money to get rid of her husband, a suspected philanderer. Some rumors go even further, indicating that Maggie refused to pay the Swingleys and, instead, spent her money on extravagance rather than the debt owed. A witness who saw Maggie conversing with the Swingley’s at the Blue Crab Festival recalls Maggie becoming upset at some point and throwing a full cup of beer into Stacy Swingley’s face before storming off.

Family and authorities are seeking the public's help in locating the person(s) responsible for the murder of Magnolia “Maggie” Crabtree.