Uncovering A Mystery
It was an icy morning in Pennsylvania, and contractors were renovating a wooden deck attached to a 100-year-old home in Pittsburgh. But when they began pulling up the old and rotten wooden decking, they made a discovery. Something had been buried there, beneath the home’s deck. An ominous mystery had been hanging over the town for decades. Was it about to finally unravel?
House Of Dreams
The red-bricked house on Black Street, situated on the Northeastern side of Pittsburgh, had been built at the beginning of the 20th century. However, in 2018, the house was undergoing an enormous renovation project, set in motion by the home’s new owners. But when contractors began to focus on the back of the property, what they found quickly turned the “dream” home into a living nightmare.
Underneath the old wooden deck was something that made the workers stop dead in their tracks. They immediately notified the homeowner and called the police, who began an official investigation. Although there was a massive effort to identify what they had found, nobody involved had any inkling that they were about to solve a 50-year-old mystery.
Therese Rocco, a retired cop, thought she could finally put the ghost who had haunted her for so many years to rest. It was her neighbor, Mary Arcuri, who had gone missing from the house on Black Street back in 1964. Although most of the neighbors had assumed that Mary had left her husband, children, and a broken marriage, some people thought that her disappearance had darker connotations…
The Mystery Deepens
Therese had always been unsettled by Mary’s disappearance. Now, almost 50 years later, a vital clue was discovered at the house on Black Street. But would it finally solve the mystery? Therese was determined to dig deeper and finally find out what had really happened to her. She worked closely with the local police to piece the puzzle together, but they were about to uncover some strange details about this case…
By 2018, much of the house on Black Street had already been remodeled throughout the years by previous owners — most of the neighbors had long forgotten about Mary. But when the red-brick house changed hands again, the new owners finally decided that it was time to renovate the deck in the back yard. But when the contractors pulled up the boards, they were all in for a huge surprise.
An Unnerving Discovery
On that fateful morning of February 28, the contractors were hard at work refurbishing the deck that ran along the back of the house. They got to work ripping the rotted wooden planks away from the deck’s frame and began to dig a new foundation. Suddenly, they struck upon something in the dirt. They wiped the layers of mud away and jumped back.
Calling Emergency Services
The workers wasted no time and called emergency services at 9:30 AM. An investigation was soon underway, and it wasn’t long before the house was swarming with police. You see, the workers had uncovered human remains underneath the house. Investigators initially believed that the remains were linked to a woman who had gone missing, however, when they enlisted the help of Therese Rocco to identify them, the case took a bizarre turn.
It was pure coincidence that Therese had once lived near that old house on 5445 Black Street. And she also possessed memories of the couple who had lived there. In fact, her memories were so vivid that she recalled the special bond she had shared with Mary. “I was just a young girl, and [she] came to the door with this tiny little baby. And she put the baby in my arms and said, ‘I want you to be the godmother,’” Therese recalled.
The House On Black Street
According to the reports, Albert and Mary had purchased the home on Black Street during the 1960s. They lived in the home for a few years with their two children. But Therese remembered that their relationship had been troubled, to say the least. But it was only in 1964 that life in the Acuri household was changed forever.
It was the year that Mary disappeared. According to her husband Albert’s account, Mary had just packed up all her belongings and had taken off, leaving him to look after their two children. By that time, Therese had completed her training as a policewoman. She lead the local missing persons unit, but no record of Mary’s disappearance was ever made because she had left of her own accord. But then, rumors began to circulate.
There were whispers throughout the neighborhood that Mary had been unfaithful to her husband. But, as time went by, most people were left perplexed by her disappearance. Therese was no exception: “I knew there were problems, and I thought, ‘Leave it alone,’” Therese recalled. “But I also wondered why she didn’t try to get in touch with her kids.”
But Therese wasn’t the only one who began to grow suspicious. Some of the Arcuris’ relatives, who resided in another unit at 5445 Black Street, expressed their disbelief. “My mother, we talked about it, and she knew something happened to her,” Charles Sberna, who was just a boy when Mary disappeared, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Furthermore, he remembered that Albert had built a terrace on his property immediately after his wife disappeared.
Eventually, gossip had reached everyone in the town. There were whispers that Albert had actually done away with his wife. But there was nothing concrete to prove this, so Mary’s disappearance was never investigated. For five long decades, her whereabouts remained a mystery. Until Therese was contacted about the remains found at the Arcuris’ old home.
Soon, Therese was able to prove that the investigators’ initial theory was wrong. And when she realized where the body had been found, she began to wonder if it could be connected to Mary’s disappearance. And so, she put the police in touch with her goddaughter. Using DNA testing, investigators were quickly able to discover the truth. Tragically, it was Mary, and her body had been buried in the backyard of her family home.
Before making news of the discovery public, police reached out to Mary’s surviving family members to inform them of what had been uncovered. “It’s good we found out,” Charles said. “We waited all these years.” But even though the development finally gave him some closure, he regretted that many of his older relations had died without knowing the truth.
Therese wasn’t surprised to find out that her neighbor and friend had been dead all along. “When you don’t know where a person is for a number of years and you don’t hear and there’s no indication that there’s a communication of any sort, you generally have to think the worst,” she told KDKA in February 2019.
What Had Happened?
So what had happened back in 1964? And how had Mary ended up dead and buried – with Albert insisting that she’d run away? Well, according to Charles, his great-uncle had been a harsh man who hated children. But was that enough to consider him capable of dispatching his wife?
In contrast to Charles’ recollections, however, Therese remembers her neighbor as a mild-mannered man. And even though she accepts that Mary’s death was suspicious, she still struggles to believe that Albert could have been behind it. “I never, in my own thoughts, believed this woman had left,” she admitted. “And I could never, never believe that this man had any involvement in her disappearance.”
Not Enough Evidence
According to investigators, Mary’s remains consisted entirely of bones by the time they were discovered. And in this state of decomposition, it’s difficult even to determine the cause of death. However, they noted that there were no signs of injury, which in turn meant there wasn’t enough evidence to deem the case a homicide.
Sadly, then, the mystery may remain forever unsolved. One year after Mary’s disappearance, a tragic story had appeared in the Pittsburgh Press. Apparently, Albert’s car had veered at high speed into a local car dealership around the corner from his home. According to the report, the accident had been fatal, and Mr. Arcuri passed away at 40 years of age.
Therese believes that Albert may have committed suicide by intentionally orchestrating the collision. “That accident was deliberate,” she told KDKA. “He rammed his car on Baum Boulevard into a building, and it was determined that he had no reason to do that.” Had the guilt-ridden man been involved in his wife’s death and then taken his own life just a year later?
Hard To Believe
For Therese, such an idea is hard to accept. “Even to this day, it is difficult for me to believe he could have killed her, or anyone for that matter,” she explained. “The mere fact that he buried her right under their home and continued to live there with his two children is almost unbelievable… but it wasn’t long after that, that he took his own life.”
Investigators have not yet made any arrests or charges in relation to the death. And according to a press release from a police spokesman, they’ve been unable to shed any light on the strange case. “Police cannot speculate on how Mary Arcuri died or why she was buried in the backyard,” it read.
A Gruesome History
Six months after the terrible discovery was made, the property at 5445 Black Street went on the market. Just a few weeks later, it sold for a little under $400,000. At the moment, it’s unclear whether or not the new owners know the gruesome history of the home. And as time passes, it seems less and less likely that Mary’s family will ever get to the bottom of her passing.
More Than Meets The Eye
Was the unfortunate woman the victim of a tragic accident, which was then covered up by a broken-hearted husband? Or was there something altogether more sinister at play? Like the other missing people who never really left home, the story of Mary Arcuri serves as a tragic reminder that things aren’t always what they seem.