On December 4, 2008, as the Boucher family was fast asleep, a fire erupted on their home. Out of eight family members who were at the house during the time, only four made it out. This had been an intriguing case; mainly because of what the patriarch had discovered the following morning. The remaining four family members, who were said to be left behind, have disappeared. No bodies were found at the site of the fires.
When the first respondents arrived at the scene, they went on to ask Mr. Boucher what had happened. According to him, he woke up at about 2 am for he had smelled smoke. He then woke up his wife and rescued the two youngest Boucher children, then exited through the front door. When he was about to go back for the remaining children, he quickly discovered that the fire escape was locked and the ladder was missing. He tried to enter through the front door but the fire was already out of hand. The fire burned for about an hour and a half. When the fire was out, Mr. Boucher went in to assess the damage and to retrieve the bodies of his children. To his shock, there were no bodies at the scene. It was now up to us to solve this case.
We investigated the crime scene and found some things that peak our interest. Besides the fire escape being locked up and the escape ladder missing, the phone lines and the water pipes were also cut off. The house burning down for just an hour and a half, which is a significantly short time for a two storey house to burn down, suggested that multiple fires were set. It was getting to the point where it seems that somebody is out to kill the Boucher family. Examining the grounds on a surface level, it is quite clear that the case is another attempt for murder.
The Bouchers were very cooperative when it came to questioning. Mr. Boucher’s statements lined up with what he said to the first respondents, and so did Mrs. Boucher’s testimonial. We’ve asked whether or not they think that someone is out to kill them or if they have any enemies. They stated that they are a pillar of the community and it’s highly unlikely that somebody is out to kill them. If what they are saying is true then we may have a serial arsonist on our hands.
Since there were no clear suspects, for arson is a very rare crime here, we went on to the local registry if anybody moved in. We asked around if ever they saw any new faces in the town. The search went on, and it was fruitless.
The Bouchers were a wealthy family. However, late last year, Mr. Boucher’s mining venture went on to be fruitless and suffered major losses, making the Boucher family to be on the verge of bankruptcy. This gave us an idea to investigate the finances of the family, to see whether or not there is foul play. As we went on to investigate the family finances we found something very odd.
On October 17, 2008, Mr. Boucher applied for insurance for his house and his family. We found this too convenient; for the fire to have happened just as they’ve applied for insurance. The fire was an obvious foul play, but the evidence was highly speculative.
We then invited the Bouchers back for questioning, but this time they were not cooperating. They were denying everything that we have claimed. The case was met by a road block. So we turned our focus unto something else, the missing bodies. Mr. and Mrs. Boucher could not have killed their children, so maybe they sent them away to hide somewhere.
When it came to finding the children, we didn’t know where to start. They could’ve been anywhere at the time. But then we remembered that the eldest child of the Mr. and Mrs. Boucher, Camilla, was out of town with the Navy reserves. Now that we have our lead, we went to the reserve base a few hours away. When we arrived, we discovered that Camilla went home on December 1. It was unlikely for a Navy reserve to go on vacation during this time of the year. It gave us another hint; the other Bouchers are hiding away with Camilla.
But then again, we had no idea where to look. We asked our attending officer for advice, and he told us a story about a bookie in Philadelphia, who ran away with USD 6 million when the Super Bowl results didn’t get his way. Everybody thought that either he was in the Bahamas, or dead in the woods; but it turns out he was just hiding in some abandoned house two blocks away from his apartment. Everybody expected him to run or went to another country, because we tend to complicate things and try to over think the situation, but its humans’ nature to want to stay close to home. Nobody wants to leave home.
We then had the idea to go for a hike to find the missing children. After hours of walking, we found a log cabin. There was a campfire on the other side, still kindling. We waited for a little bit and then arrived Camilla and the children. They were fishing this whole time! We approached Camilla and explained with all honesty and caution the situation. Camilla, being a navy herself, showed no signs of hesitations in attending to our questions. She then went on to tell us that their parents told her to hike with the kids to the family log cabin and look after them until they arrive about a week later. She told us that they told her they were going to settle some business and didn’t bothered to ask more questions as their parents were always in a hurry to leave them.
After a careful and scrupulous investigation, Mr. and Mrs. Boucher were then arrested for insurance fraud and arson. They confessed to us that they locked the fire escape and cut the phone lines and water pipes to make it look like that someone is out to kill them. They then burned there house down to claim their insurance for their house, and sent the kids away to declare them dead in absentia*, again to claim their insurance. They planned to move away to start anew. The Boucher’s fire incident was closed and they helped us realize that indeed, fires won’t turn ashes into gold.
*death in absentia can only be declared if the person is missing for at least 7 years, however, in times of tragedy and accident, it can be reduced significantly.