A Secret Grave 95: Thinking Out Loud

 

Janet Lamar left shortly afterwards. (It was late! We’d been talking for nearly three hours.)  She told me to get in touch any time I had questions – which I did, particularly about Roy, Victor’s older brother, and what had become of him, but that would have to wait for another day. So my task now is to summarize what I have learned about Victor’s disappearance since beginning the investigation. I’ll list the facts as I know them, not necessarily in chronological order or even order of importance.

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1)     Victor disappeared without shutting down his office or taking his dog in June, 2006, right around the time my studio was built.

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the mayor of delaney woods, dee & tula monstah, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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2)     One of the last people he was publicly seen with was cellist Caroline Guerrero-O’Hara, with whom he had had a secret affair in 2000. The affair produced a son, Mercer Bennett (b December, 2000) whom Caroline passed off as her husband, Josiah’s.

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Caroline, Mercer & Josiah (Nicole Jeffords, Oil on Canvas, 2016)

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3)     Victor’s landlady, Betsy Shapiro, may also have had an affair with him. For sure there were dark dealings between them – she was charging Victor a super low rent, probably because he knew things about her that were highly sensitive in nature.

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Betsy (Nicole Jeffords, Oil on Canvas, 2015)

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4)     One of those things was that she was African American and not Jewish, as she had all along claimed.

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Betsy’s biological mother (Loraine, Photo booth portrait of a pretty African American woman, simpleinsomnia,  https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

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5)     Victor’s portrait was stolen off a transport truck after it had been exhibited at Art Basel, Miami. One of the truck’s crew, Charlie Diaz, was found dead in a swamp a few days later.

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Victor’s portrait (Nicole Jeffords, Oil on Canvas, 2016)

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6)     Victor’s father, Leonard, was run over by a car on a busy Paris street – was it murder or an accident?

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Leonard

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7)     Leonard had been in possession of the ‘Bukh,’ a bible or holy grail of medical remedies passed down in his family for generations and worth a fortune.

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The Bukh

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8)     To know the current whereabouts of the Bukh would no doubt answer a lot of questions about Victor. Emil Shusterman, who was Victor’s therapist, is the one person who might have that knowledge.

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Emil (Nicole Jeffords, Oil on Canvas, 2016)

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9)     There is what could be a conspiracy theory floating around that a mounting number of alternative medical practitioners have disappeared or been found murdered.

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I’m sure I left important things off that list, but it’s a starting point. Alicia’s plan to find her attacker of many years ago has nothing to do with Victor’s disappearance, and yet it’s something I’d like to explore because the story is rich and interesting, and also, I suspect, has cultural parallels to what is going on politically in this country. It would be good for me to follow up with Josiah and also with Helen Sprouse, Victor’s former assistant. I should also probably spend a little time researching some of the lawsuits against Victor. Whew! Just thinking aloud here. Where to begin?

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Well, one place is with Ramona, my housekeeper, who just as we speak came knocking on my studio door with something important to tell me.  

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To be continued…

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Cover photo ~ https://mayhemandmuse.com

 

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