"My wife and I want out of this house," says Bucklew, 47, who moved into the property in August on a $525,000 lease-to-own agreement with the out-of-state seller, who they pay $2,200 per month after the $4,400 down. "We don't want the stigma with it. People are driving by the house staring, taking pictures, calling us psychos. It has gotten out of hand."
Convicted serial killer Scott Lee Kimball was the last person to live on this 5-plus-acre Broomfield, Colo., property outside of Denver. It is where he is believed to have murdered at least four women and his wife's uncle, and attempted to murder his 10-year-old son for the insurance money on the child. Kimball made headlines again this month when he came under investigation in the unsolved 2004 murder of a 26-year-old woman whose nude, mutilated body was dumped behind a strip mall.
"If Kimball is ultimately linked to the murder, it would be the fifth killing tied to him following his release from federal prison in December 2002 -- a move that was made after he convinced an FBI agent that his cellmate had asked him to kill a witness in a drug case," the Denver Post reported last week. In October 2009 Kimball pleaded guilty to the murder of four victims and was sentenced to 70 years in prison. Kimball had rented the residence for several years after he made a deal to be released from prison in 2002 as an FBI informant.
Nearly two weeks after the Bucklew family moved into Kimball's former residence, a neighbor stopped by to say how happy they were to have someone finally move into the home, Bucklew told HousingWatch. "The neighbor asked us, 'It doesn't bother you about what happened here?' " And that was the first time they learned that they were living in a possible crime scene.
"We didn't have cable hooked up yet so we didn't have Internet access on our computers, so my wife and kids, we pulled out our cell phones and started Googling Kimball's name." Afterward, the blended family's adult sons and their girlfriends stopped coming by the house to visit.
"It's a thing that has pushed our family apart instead of bringing us together," says Bucklew (pictured with his wife), who says that they moved to the area from California and wanted a home large enough to accommodate gatherings with their large family, as both he and his wife have adult children from previous marriages. The property has two homes, which they refer to as the "main house" and the "back house."
"We don't go to the back house anymore," he says. That's where FBI agents had previously torn apart the home (pictured below), cutting out large chunks of drywall from the rooms and a 4-by-8-foot blood-spattered section of carpet. (See video of the home from local Fox News station KDVR.)
"When we were touring the house [before entering a contract, and before knowing about the serial killer] my son laid down in that spot and made a sick joke. He said, 'Someone was murdered here.' Now he feels like a complete idiot."
Bucklew says that, at the time, the seller's real estate agent, Micki Carwin of PIG Realty, was present and didn't say a word. "She was standing behind me to an angle. I didn't see the reaction on her face, but she should've said something. She could've said, 'Maybe you should research the house a little more.' "
When HousingWatch reached Carwin via telephone and asked her about seller disclosures, she said, "I'm not answering any questions."
Colorado is a state where neither the seller nor the seller's agent needs to disclose a death on the property. "I wouldn't mind if someone died of natural causes, cancer or AIDS," says Bucklew, who says he has had family members who have died at home. "My brother passed away of AIDS." But when it comes to murder: "There should be a state law that buyers should be told. My wife wants to lobby to change the laws."
As HousingWatch has previously reported in "Fate of a Murder House," many states in the U.S. do not require that sellers disclose a death on the property. However, there are steps that buyers can take to do their own due diligence before signing a purchase agreement. (See "Is Listed Home a Crime Scene? How to Know Before You Buy.")
Bucklew says that he never asked the agent directly if anyone had died on the property, but it crossed his mind that perhaps someone's elderly parent had passed away or that there was a divorce.
More Real Estate Stories The Most Affordable Cities to Buy a Home on Forbes.com Is Your City on the list of America's Coolest Cities? on Forbes.com America's Cleanest Cities on Forbes.com When they first saw the home on a drive-by, "It was completely vacant," he said. "You can tell from the yard it hadn't been lived in for a while."
The couple stumbled upon the home purely by chance, as it was not even listed for sale. They had gone to see a home on the market a few blocks away and then started driving throughout the neighborhood. When they saw this property with the overgrown grass, Bucklew said that they just knew it was their dream home. "The land was perfect so my wife could have her horses," he said. "The whole family was excited to have this huge place to move into."
But once the Bucklews learned of the home's history, they contacted the real estate agent who he says told them that she was confident that the owner would knock $200,000 or $250,000 off their purchase price of $525,000 and pay for a "cleansing service" to get rid of bad spirits.
But the family wants no such deal. They just want out of the lease-to-purchase contract and a refund of the approximately $10,000 they sunk into the home -- fixing the furnace, hot water heater, plumbing and refinishing the floors.
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