RUTLAND (CBS) – As investigators staked small orange evidence flags to mark tire tracks in the backyard, a police dog sniffed nearby – and neighbors recalled their encounters with the recluse who lived here.
“Every interaction I’ve had with him has kind of been off the wall,” says Greg – who didn’t want to give his last name. “Think of any adjective that describes someone’s who’s strange.”
He’s talking about David Alan, the 59-year-old quasi-hermit who lived alone in this tidy rural home he inherited from his parents – until he was found murdered here on Saturday.
It was a missing persons report that brought officers here to make the grisly discovery.
Police won’t reveal who filed that, and the District Attorney’s office has declined to provide any details – including the cause of death.
“You don’t feel safe in your own home,” says resident David MacDonald. “Somebody comes and knocks on the door and you don’t know what’s going to happen.”
The victim was a curmudgeon, of sorts, who bragged about using only a single light bulb in his home, asked a neighbor to tear down a fence so he could peer into his backyard, and requested permission to hit another neighbor’s dog when it barked too much.
“He called the Rutland Police,” neighbor Greg says, “because a leaf from my tree blew into his yard.”
In fact, Rutland Police logs show the victim summoned officers to his house 22 times for various reasons during just a four month stretch.
Of more concern to residents here, though, is that this murder is the little town’s second in three years.
“You get up in the morning, it’s beautiful and you cut the grass,” says David MacDonald. “Then you see something like this when you pick up the paper – and it shocks you.”
Back at the rural crime scene on East County Road, investigators seem to cast great interest on the yard and the woods out behind Alan’s house. That’s where the victim was known to clean-up vintage cars for customers – even as neighbor’s kept him at arm’s length.
“I never even knew his last name until this morning when I saw it in the paper,” Greg says. “That’s how private he was.”
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