The premise is made for Hollywood.
People in Gold Bar are learning the couple they knew as David and Amanda Murray, who lived there since 1993 and ran a business called the Mail Station, weren’t who they said they were.
Murray was allegedly really a convict, Dennis Lilly. He was locked up for burglary, robbery, and assault until he escaped from a Missouri prison 27 years ago.
Of course, he never shared that story with his new neighbors – like Al White who talked to KING 5, “They said that they were from Texas. (He was a) normal guy. You would have never thought anything about it.”
He never shared it with Janet Aukland, one of his customers at the Mail Station, “I’d come in for a few minutes but it would take a half an hour – chatting and talking. He was the nicest the person.”
He even played Santa Clause every year. His landlord told KING 5 there are probably hundreds of family’s have a picture of David Murray as Santa with their kids on his lap.
But in 2012, David Murray disappeared. The story his wife tells is that he died of cancer and his wife buried him under a shed.
Presumably she did it to keep his story secret.
Detectives, who’d been on his trail for years, have exhumed the body, and they expect forensic testing will confirm it is indeed Dennis Lilly, escaped prisoner.
It’s Goldbar’s Jean Valjean.
Tom Tangney says the premise is straight out of movie. Dennis Lilly/David Murray would be played by John Goodman.
Yet, to his neighbors in Gold Bar, David Murray was so normal.
Time and technology were catching up with the couple. In 2013, police documents said the FBI was investigating Amanda Murray for filling out an application for a brokerage account with a name and Social Security number that didn’t match.
But by that time, Dennis Lilly, or, David Murray, ordinary businessman, was already dead.
The couple did have an adult daughter. Amanda’s story is that the daughter was there when her husband died and then after she left – that’s when she went ahead and buried him under the shed.
“Well they contacted the adult daughter,” explains Tom, “and she says she wasn’t there when he died.”
The daughter allegedly only learned of the death from her mother afterwards.
And this part of the story makes Tom a little suspicious. If it were movie, would the twist be that she have maybe killed him and buried him? Perhaps that’s why no one ever saw the body.
But that rewrite might be better left to this story’s film adaptation, according to Tom. There was clear evidence that he’d been suffering from cancer.
Investigators found the remains under the shed last week, and are still waiting on confirmation of the identity.
KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross and MyNorthwest.com’s Alyssa Kleven contributed to this report.