WAKULLA WHODUNNIT: The Stone Cold Crab Killer (St. Marks)

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

WHEN:   Saturday, December 12, 2020 from 11:50am – 2pm.

HOW MUCH:    $10. All participants must pay entry fee before THURSDAY, DECEMBER 10th 6PM DEADLINE. ($10 is the same for single and group contestants.)

HOW:  

Contestants pay $10 entry fee online.

On Sat. Dec. 12 contestants arrive at designated STARTING LINE in St. Marks: 

UPDATE:  

The STARTING LINE for this ST. MARKS WHODUNNIT will be the Bike Trailhead.

DIRECTIONS: Drive to St. Marks. When you reach the end of the road, Riverside Café will be directly in front of you. Cooter Stew and Sheild's Marina will be to your left. Turn RIGHT, (onto Riverside Drive). The Bike Trailhead is a few yards ahead on your RIGHT. There are parking spaces to both the left (facing the water) and to the right of you (just beside the trailhead entrance). Find a spot and join us at the Bike Trailhead entrance (a big, brown structure).

We ask that you arrive at 11:50am. This will give us a few minutes to check you in, go over the rules, and answer any of your questions.

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.

Whodunnit winners receive $100 (1st Place), $50 (2nd Place) 

A great holiday gift to yourself or someone else!  You can save more with the following BUNDLE OPTIONS:

2 Wakulla Whodunnit HOLIDAY Mysteries for $15

All 3 Wakulla Whodunnit HOLIDAY Mysteries for $25

CLICK HERE for details

 THE STORY

The Stone Cold Crab Killer

The Tickel family lives in St. Marks, Florida, not far from the Wakulla River Park. Due to unfortunate events and in respect to privacy, the current whereabouts of the Tickel family will not be made available to the public.  Family and authorities are currently seeking the public's help in locating the person(s) responsible for the malicious bludgeoning of property, and for attempted murder.

 What we know so far:

Hyman Tickel, known in the community as “Harry”, owns the “I SEA Food” restaurant in Woodville, Florida, approximately 10 miles from St. Marks, where the Tickel family resides. The restaurant is renowned throughout the state for its tasty array of fresh collard stone crabs, jumbo shrimp, and raw shucked oysters. 

The Tickel family owns two crabbing boats that sit in the local marina. One boat belongs to Hyman and the business proper. Through the years, Hyman’s son, Willie, would often accompany his father and crew on their stone crabbing trips.

Recognizing Willie as a “chip off the old block”, Hyman purchased a second boat for Willie on his twenty-first birthday.  It couldn’t hurt, Hyman thought, now that they were finally on the upswing after the ‘red tide’ scare a few years back.  A second boat with his son at the helm just might be good for the business.

Willie Tickel christened his boat “The Tickler”. Willie not only proved to his father that his gift was not in vain, but he managed to take their family business into a new phase.

Whenever he went out to check the company’s stone crab cages, he would bring a gang of friends that would film their endeavors and post them to the businesses’ Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts. In time, this gained the company a following of over 12,000 along the east coast.  Many would chime in to watch Willie, his friends, their catches, their shenanigans, and the pretty girls that always accompanied them. Some asked questions on crabbing, Tickel family recipes, or which baits to use for their area. Willie had become a small town phenomenon.

But, in October of this year, something changed. Willie grew extremely agitated. No one could say why. His mother, Precious Tickel, says her son claimed he was being watched. He also mentioned – but could not say for sure – that their cages may have been tampered with. His father dismissed this thinking no one in their beautiful town of St. Marks would dare attempt such a thing. After all, such acts were illegal in the state.  Hyman Tickel would dismiss this, along with his son's other rants, until October 29th, almost two weeks after Florida's recreational and commercial stone crab claw harvest season opened in state and federal waters.

That day was a regular hang-out, catch-and-record session for Willie and his friends, Cody, Shane, and their two lady friends, Savannah and Shayla. To some, the names alone would find this group of Gen Z-er’s trapped within the confines of a John Wayne western.  Instead, they became witnesses to a present-day mystery.

When Willie began to locate his family’s personalized foam floats from the water and pull them in, the plastic cable ties he’d attached to their crab-cages were missing. The cable ties were used as a way of alerting him that the cage had been tampered with. And sure enough the ties, as he could clearly see now, had been cut and removed. When Willie opened the cages he went into a mild shock.

For whoever did this went a great deal further.  The culprit proceeded – with a heavy mallet or something similar – to smash the stone crabs to a pulp. The destruction of stone crabs is another illegal action within the state. The suspect then closed and locked the cage, dropping it back into the Gulf for Willie to find.

The crew went to the next location - the same results. This would continue for the next twenty stations the team visited. Willie grew angrier with each stop. His cages, the business, his father’s name along with his own - all had been defiled. Willie took no notice of the fact that he was being filmed "live" throughout their social media groups. The public saw more than the damage to the crabs - they were witnessing the emotional breakdown of Willie himself. The public watched as Willie's friend, Cody,  leaped across the boat to physically restrain him from jumping overboard – into the deep – as if the culprit waited anxiously below the dark waters. Willie and crew eventually returned to the marina to contact authorities.

And still, it wasn’t over. Willie’s once loyal social media fan-base began to sink like a doomed ocean liner on fire. They mocked, laughed, and spewed forth a blizzard of crushing memes.  One went so far as to say: “He’s acting so crazy, you’d think he HAD a case of crabs, instead of catching them!”

And here is where the second crime came into play: 

Willie, frustrated by the latest happenings, began cruising the waters late at night in search of the suspect. And it appears that, last Tuesday night, he may have gotten more than he bargained for. According to Willie, he was traveling the waters when a boat pulled up. The light was so bright that he was momentarily blinded. He recalls hearing a “thump”, as if someone had jumped onto his boat. When he turned toward the sound - he saw stars. He’d been hit in the head and knocked unconscious. Early the following morning, a passing coast guard noticed the wayward vessel and found him. He was in a coma and only awoke two days ago to tell his version of events.

 THE SUSPECTS:

 SUSPECT 1: Shane

 When Willie had his breakdown on the boat, Shane, a close friend from childhood, was the only one who remained silent. He was the only one, camera-phone in hand, recording his friend’s pitiful demise before an audience of 12, 000. And yet, he kept filming. Not only that, when they arrived at the marina, Shane downloaded the video to a few other sites with taglines such as “The Golden Boy Falls”, and “You’re no better than us: Stop frontin’”. Of all of Willie’s friends, Shane was the only one ever invited into his family’s home for the holidays and other events. Why? Because Shane’s mother worked as a housekeeper for the Tickel family. She did their laundry. Mopped their floors and cleaned their toilets. On special occasions, when guests were expected, she cooked their meals.  After school, when Shane was much younger, he would be deposited by bus to the Tickel home. There, he would help his mother finish the cleaning duties.  One summer he was offered $10 a week to do the Tickel family lawn. Some believe that he wanted to find a way to bring Willie Tickel down to “his level”. And the only way to do this, was to shame Willie and his family name.

 SUSPECT 2: Malachi and Tyler

  There were others in the area who stone crabbed as a living and were as dedicated to their profession as the Tickel family. One of those people, was Malachi Abroms. Malachi had a team of 20 workers, back in the day, but now his team had dwindled down to seven. Some believe it was lower than that, but when meeting with Malachi, he refused to give numbers.  Malachi, like so many others, was in a bit of a bind. He was “up there” in years, but took his boat out every morning to bring in all he could. Once a strong and vibrant worker, some say that Malachi felt the years slipping away. Gone were the days when his youth and vigor would call him to the water. Gone were the days when he would gather his mullet, grouper, shark heads, or pigs-feet (because of their staying power), to put into his cages to lure the stone crab.  His world was different now. But he had a business to run. Nothing could stand in the way of that, for there were obligations to be met; and no matter how old he was getting, the bills remained young. Malachi had a nephew that worked with him often. It was his nephew, Tyler, that first showed him one of the earlier videos of Willie on the water in his heyday making, as they say, “waves” in the industry. It may have been a mistake to show the video to Malachi.  He began to change.  He grew obstinate in his refusal to find a “new way” of promoting his business in such a shameless way as Willie was doing. He felt that Willie embarrassed the maritime trade and the hard working men and women who’d given their life to it. Malachi, for one, would not bend to the times. Oddly, since the incident that caused Willie to be in a coma, Malachi’s nephew, Tyler, has been hard to find. No one has seen him, including his mother, Malachi’s sister. Some in the area believe Malachi and Tyler worked together in some way to fell Willie, damage his stone crabs, and destroy both his take and reputation. When questioned about what happened to Willie, Malachi responded: “We’re good God-fearin’ people here.  Get too big for your britches, you pay a price.”

 SUSPECT 3: The Gordon Twins

  To “Trust the Gordon fishermen” is nothing more than a jingle. To trust the Gordon Twins of St. Marks is another matter. The twins were two years behind Willie in school. They grew to admire him on the football team, but once Willie decided to work for his father’s business and give up any idea of FSU and, possibly, pro football, the twins began to think him a coward; just another spoiled kid whose family had a little bit of money. The twins, Liam and Lorcan, didn't grow up with much of anything. Scrappy and rebellious, their larger reputation became that of the town bullies, with Willie as their special project. Seldom could he walk into any local establishment where the twins were and escape their snickering and name-calling.  Willie took it in stride, but it must be said that he had something of a vengeful streak about him. This became evident when one of the twins, Liam, broke up with his longtime girlfriend. They were to be married, but it ended when Liam saw her on Facebook during one of Willie's live crabbing trips. The young lady was enjoying herself thoroughly. And when Willie asked her for a good luck kiss before hauling up one of his cages, she was a bit too happy to oblige. This made Liam look like an absolute fool around town, and he was not one to stand for that. Rumor has it that the Gordon twins threatened to set fire to Willie’s boat, his parent’s home, and Willie himself, for messing around with Liam's girl. Some believe that the twins, who had their own small boat parked in the same local marina as Willie's, were lying in wait for the perfect opportunity to teach him a lesson.

 SUSPECT 4: Jedidiah Finn (Former Commissioner)

  Jedidiah (Jibby) Finn was born and raised in St. Marks. His family home still stands, ancient and rustic, not far from the historic trail.  The Finn family name has survived here for many years and is, like the dead Finn's of generations past, deeply rooted in the soil and history of the area. Jibby is known for wanting to keep the pristine lay of the land as it is. He is adamant in his stance that no more building of homes or businesses should be allowed in the area, for they will only deface the natural beauty of his beloved St. Marks. Therefore, when Willie Tickel began his social media posts touting the many splendors of Jibby's personal paradise, he was triggered. He went to speak to Hyman Tickel about his son’s endeavors, only to find that Hyman gave Willie his full support and would continue to encourage his son to bring tourists into the area.  Some believe that Jibby hired outsiders to thwart the efforts of the Tickel family, and when Willie failed to fall in line, used a bit more sinister measures to achieve his goal.

 The Tickel family and authorities are currently seeking the public's help in locating the person(s) responsible for the malicious bludgeoning of property, and for attempted murder.