Marriage can be a beautiful union when both parties are equally devoted and in love. Sadly, the matrimony can be just as devasting, too, when you end up with the wrong partner. One wife by the name of Laura thought she fell into the former category, but that wasn’t the case at all. One day she found a mysterious letter and her happily ever after went right out the window. Laura wouldn’t let the devastating news affect her life forever. Continue reading to find out what the note said and to see how Laura exacted the perfect revenge.
The Married Life
Laura and Jack were like many other couples. The two met young, fell in love, and decided to make it official with a marriage. It all seemed fine on the surface, but you can never be too sure.
Laura felt a deep love for Jack, a feeling she hadn’t felt for any other guy and she thought Jack felt the same. Things changed when she found out the disturbing news that involved another family member. Jack left a letter for Laura, explaining how he was to be with Laura’s sister.
A Regular Day
It was a regular day for Laura. She got up, went to work thinking things were fine. Jack also went to work and they said goodbye to each other, with Laura ready to see her husband again around dinner time.
Instead of seeing Jack when she got home, she saw a letter with her name on it. The contents of the letter would change her life forever. Jack spilled the beans about the affair he had with Laura’s sister and that he no longer wanted to be with Laura.
Such Bad Timing
The sad part is that Laura was in a terrific mood leading up to the moment of her finding the letter. She had just received some fantastic news that she couldn’t wait to share with Jack.
Reading a letter about how your husband chooses your sister over you is not what anyone wants to come home to. It’s especially disheartening considering they were together for seven years. In the letter, Jack claimed he had “nothing to show for it,” and he also said that the previous two weeks were dreadful for him.
Detailing The Fallout
As Laura read more of the letter, Jack began outlining more reasons for his departure. He wrote how Laura made him feel unimportant and how she would never compliment him or notice the small changes in his appearance.
Jack also didn’t like how she no longer told him she loved him. The letter went into deep detail and even spoke about how Laura ate her dinner in two minutes and went straight to bed right after. Jack didn’t feel the connection anymore…
Bold Statements From Jack
Jack ended the letter by saying he wanted no contact from Laura moving forward. He wouldn’t be staying in the state anymore and would be leaving as soon as possible to West Virginia with her sister.
The man was ready to start a new life. In a matter of minutes, Laura went from having a great day to feeling like her world was over. She had to take a seat for a moment so she could process everything.
Something Else Happened Too…
Of course, the news that her husband wasn’t going to be her mate anymore was devastating, there was a silver lining for Laura. There was a reason why Laura quit her job and it was because she had come into a boatload of money.
She was an avid lottery player, and that day was a big one for Laura. Jack had no clue that Laura picked the lucky numbers, and that he was going to lose out on that money!
Meeting In College
Jack and Laura first met in college but didn’t have a special connection at all. They would study for exams and spend a lot of time in the library together, but they had no clue they would become pivotal pieces in each other’s lives.
Jack ended up dropping out of college and began working at bars, so Laura’s parents weren’t ever sold on the idea of Jack. Laura had a drive that he seemed to lack.
Something Like Romeo And Juliet
Jack and Laura were from two different walks of life when they met. Laura came from a wealthy family while Jack worked a part-time job and didn’t have any type of ambition.
Laura’s parents were bent on preventing their daughter from marrying Jack, but nothing they said got across to her. They knew how much love she had to give, and didn’t want her to get a broken heart from this man. Jack and Laura had a determination to tie the knot that would not break.
Getting Into Something New
At this point, there were many factors contributing to the love of Jack and Laura. For one, her parents were against it, but that only made her push back even more. Secondly, she was blinded by love.
After she completed her degree, Laura moved all her things into Jack’s tiny apartment. There were leaks in the bathroom, old carpeting, and it needed a new paint job. Still, none of this could deter Laura and Jack felt she was the one for him.
Living Through Tough Conditions
Since Jack only worked odd jobs here and there, Laura had to be the one to wear the pants when it came to finances. Money was always tight for the two, even with Laura’s parents being well-off.
They refused to help because they thought Jack would squander the money. This is part of the reason why Laura played the lottery each week. She hoped that one day would be her big break and that would become rich.
Some Communication Would Have Helped
It’s natural for couples to go through ups and downs in their relationship. It takes a different level of dedication and hard work to make a marriage last and they both needed to be able to communicate.
That was something Jack didn’t do but Laura really wanted him to. Laura still wanted to tell Jack that she won the lottery, but as a way of showing him that he made a crucial mistake. After all those years of struggling, she had finally won.
This could have easily been a story about how two love birds fought their circumstances on their way to riches, but no. Over time, Jack and Laura’s relationship began to fall to pieces and there wasn’t anything Laura could have done.
While it was beautiful at first, it had to come to an end. There’s only a certain level of compatibility two people can have as they grow through life. Some can stay together through that, but others won’t last.
Something Didn’t Add Up…
Leading up to that letter, Jack meant the world to Laura. Even though he couldn’t provide Laura with the life she had growing up, all she wanted was his time and presence.
Ever since they got together, the two had to be smart with their funds. That’s why Laura agreed to become a waitress at a restaurant near their apartment so she could help Jack financially. She started to get amazing tips that helped the couple live comfortably, but after a few years, Laura grew suspicious.
She Had A Gut Feeling
Laura was in love, so naturally, she wanted to spend all her time with Jack. She visited him all the time at the bar he worked at as a way to spend extra time with her man. Soon enough, she started to suspect that he might’ve been cheating on her.
There were people at the bar who started to look at Laura in an odd manner, but she didn’t want to believe her suspicion. She just shook it off and started to visit Jack much less.
She’s A Lucky Gal
While all of that took place, Laura still took the chance of playing the lottery, even though she would always lose. Soon enough, Laura won a lottery draw and she couldn’t believe it!
Her excitement boiled like hot water in a pot and the first thing she did was buy two tickets to Hawaii so she could celebrate with Jack. After seeing the letter from him, that all changed and she wanted to be sure he didn’t get a cent from her newfound wealth.
A Grand Win
Understandably livid over the letter Jack left, Laura still had something to be happy about in life. Winning the lottery isn’t something that happens all the time, so she wondered what she could do with the money.
Some of the ideas that ran through her head was buying a new home, traveling the world, or getting a brand new fancy car. It all was overwhelming and she had a lot to think about at that time. The first thing she wanted to do was reply to Jack.
Laura Writes A Letter
Since it looked like Jack wasn’t interested in seeing Laura again in person, Laura decided to hit him with a taste of his own medicine. She thought long about what she could say and what would be pivotal to mention.
She wanted every word to count so she chose to detail why Jack was a terrible husband. She also told him how what he did was pretty diabolical. If he was that unhappy, he should have left before having an affair.
Addressing Jack’s Points
Laura wanted to address every point Jack made in his letter. He said that she didn’t compliment him anymore, so she said she didn’t compliment something that didn’t look good, ouch!
She also pointed out that the cooking she liked was really what her sister ate. She decided to end the response on a high note. She said that she chose to watch TV instead of spending time with him because he would always have something negative to say.
The Real Him
In Jack’s letter, he also mentioned how she didn’t notice his new silk boxers. In Laura’s letter, she said that was one of their turning points in the marriage.
The ironic thing about his underwear was that the boxers cost the same amount that Laura had just given to her sister. It was then that Laura’s gut feeling starting going haywire. She knew something was off between Jack and her sister and she was right.
A Major Announcement
There was no way that Laura was going to keep winning the lottery a secret from Jack. She detailed in her letter how she won $15 million and how she wanted to spend time to get to know Jack again.
That was never going to happen. She was going to do everything in her power to prevent Jack and her sister from ever seeing a penny of the prize money. Laura signed the letter and wished the new couple all the best.
Some Mixed Feelings
Laura started to struggle with her feelings of betrayal and rejection. She had enough self-awareness to know dealing with these emotions would be best, before deciding on what to do with that money.
She had to figure out how much Jack would get because they were still legally married. That’s when she called her lawyer and told him everything. He was beyond helpful and broke down to her how the law worked in situations like this.
She’s Really Carl…
Laura’s lawyer informed her that the letter Jack wrote meant he wouldn’t receive a dime from her lottery winnings. The man did say he never wanted to see her again, so the jokes on him!
To make things better, Laura had something else to tell Jack in the letter. She wanted to let him know that her sister Carla was born Carl and hoped that wouldn’t be a problem for him! What a way to break that news to someone.
The prospect of winning the lottery was always a massive thrill for Laura, even though she thought she would never win. Then, that fateful day happened between her and Jack, but she couldn’t have been luckier.
It was probably the most eventful day a person could have, winning $15 million and getting left by your husband via letter. How does one leave their wife for her sister and be okay with that? Would more compliments really have helped that much?
A Hawaiian Holiday
The way everything went down was the last thing she expected to happen. Who would imagine that their husband would leave them for their sister? That sounds like something out of a soap opera.
It also turned out to be the best revenge as Jack had no idea that Laura’s sister used to be her brother! With her trip already booked, Laura figured she had no choice but to go to Hawaii anyway since she had a newfound freedom.
Moving On To Better Things
Even with her gut feeling going wild over Jack cheating on her, Laura remained loyal and loved him through it. It was also thanks to this love that she booked two tickets, with one being for him.
Clearly, things didn’t go as she planned and her intuition was correct. She understood that now was the time to embrace her newfound freedom, no matter how much it hurt. With time things would heal and Hawaii wasn’t waiting on her!
Time For A Better Life
Everything that went down with Laura was all pretty wild, but she was still happy. She was right to have suspicion over Jack and Carla, so her being correct about the two provided some type of comfort.
She now had a chance to change her life completely. While sitting in the taxi on the way to the airport, Laura was happy that her former husband received the fate he deserved and that she was free to be her own woman!
Grieving Wife Finds Out The Truth After 23 Years
Linda and Richard seemed happy and normal. The pair lived in Indianapolis, Indiana where Linda gave birth to their two sons, Matthew and Douglas. The couple argued occasionally over topics like money and the children, but it was never anything serious.
Everything changed when Matthew turned nine and Douglas turned six. A family secret came out and only one person knew the truth about it. It turned out that Richard Hoagland was hiding something very important.
A Terrible Secret
As the days passed on he withdrew more and more from his family. His wife, Linda, noticed his behavior but made up excuses for it within her own mind. The happy family façade quickly began to crumble.
The poor boys remained blissfully unaware that anything in their life was amiss. Apparently, this was an issue that Richard felt could not be fixed or even talked about. In hindsight it seems that throughout the entire time Richard was at home with his family, he was quietly planning something that no one could have seen coming.
An Unassuming Call
In February of 1993, Linda went to work like she did every other day. She worked at a medical office, and on February 10th at 4:45 PM, Richard gave Linda a call at work. He said that he had to go to the emergency room because he wasn’t feeling well.
Linda offered to come meet Richard at the hospital if she wanted him to but he said that he “couldn’t wait.” Linda had no idea that everything was about to change. She went about her day and picked up younger son Douglas from daycare after work. She got home at 5:25 P.M. and was shocked when she discovered that Matthew had been left home alone.
A Left-Behind Life
Linda called all the local hospitals but no one had any record of Richard ever being there. Richard had left no sign that he was leaving, his toothbrush remained in the bathroom, his clothes in the closet, his passport remained untouched. Linda recounted, “It was cold. It was in February. He didn’t take a coat.”
In one moment, their successful life together unraveled. Richard had a previous divorce and claimed to be in love when he met Linda. He was successful in business and took his family on luxurious vacations. He couldn’t just up and leave such a successful life like his, could he?
A Shattered Life
Less than one hour later the family was officially shattered with a simple phone call. The phone rang and at the other end was Richard. All that he said was, “I can’t live this way anymore. I feel you would be better off without me.” He quickly hung up, not even allowing his wife to respond.
A few hours later he called back with one more strange message, he said, “I don’t want to go to jail. I’m never coming back.” Within a 24-hour period, Richard had successfully dismantled his family and turned his life upside down. He disappeared on that day, February 10, 1993.
A few days after his last call, Richard Hoagland’s car was discovered abandoned. Various airlines and their flight records were searched. His name was never found on any flights. Richard called twice more and he always called collect. After Linda checked the phone records, it showed that his calls came once from Venezuela and another time from Aruba.
With the patriarch of their family disappearing into thin air, it seemed like things couldn’t get much worse. As Linda and her two sons tried to cope with the loss of their husband and father, police began to investigate Richard’s mysterious disappearance.
Hidden Financial Issues
That Spring, Richard contacted his son Matthew for his 10th birthday when he sent a card that contained a fifty-dollar bill. A few months later, he did the same for his son Douglas’ seventh birthday. This became the last time they ever heard from their father.
Apparently, before he left town, Richard had been struggling financially unbeknownst to the family. He almost maxed out all of their credit cards and even forged Linda’s signature on a bank loan. Linda filed for divorce, and in the decree, the judge ordered Richard to pay unpaid taxes, various loans and debts, and 26 credit cards.
A Family In Shock
In the cards he sent to his sons, Richard wrote, “I love you and miss seeing you. Let your mom help spend this money, you might want to put some away. Maybe sometime soon we will get to see each other. I bet I won’t even know you it has been so long. Mind your mother. Bye, Dad.”
Little did they know, those would be the last words Richard’s sons would ever see from him. “Initially, you think: ‘OK, this won’t last long. He’ll be back,'” Matthew Hoagland told ABC. Matthew’s mother, Linda, also said, “He devastated us. He left us with nothing, absolutely nothing. I was very broken.”
Struggling on Their Own
Linda was unable to pay their mortgage and car loans and it seemed as though the walls were closing in on the family. It was then that the police began to question Linda on Richard’s disappearance. They insinuated that Linda knew where he had gone or that she knew what actually happened to him.
Linda continuously told police she had no idea about where Richard had gone. She told them that he had called her and said that he was never returning. Police continued to suspect her and subjected her to numerous police interrogations but Linda never once wavered on the story.
Linda Under Suspicion
Eventually one of the police officers, a detective, actually claimed that Linda knew where her husband had disappeared to. He claimed that it was a big financial hoax and that Linda was planning to take her children and eventually meet up with Richard. While being repeatedly questioned by police, Linda had even bigger problems to worry about – her finances.
All of the financial damage that Richard had left her with was starting to add up. No longer able to pay her bills, Linda had to declare bankruptcy. This was a nightmare scenario for a woman with two children, especially when her husband had been the primary breadwinner.
The Family Was Followed?!
Instead of staying with his family and dealing with the financial issues that he had created, Richard decided to take the easy way out and disappear. In return, he left his family’s lives in complete and total ruin. Linda ended up depending on her parents to get by during this dire time.
She began to notice a variety of strange things that seemed to suggest that she was being watched and she became more and more sure of it. She would notice strange people that seemed to be following her, cars parked outside, her mail was opened and re-sealed, and items in her house seemed as though they were being moved.
Family Goes into Hiding
One February, her father even found a recording device attached to her phone line. Linda was convinced that Richard had been involved with unsavory individuals and that’s why he left town. She said, “When you’re in that situation, you become very paranoid.” The bank eventually came and foreclosed on the family’s home and almost simultaneously repossessed her vehicle.
That October, Linda and family decided to go into hiding in McCordsville, Indiana. She was desperate to keep herself and her children safe, especially if Richard had been involved in something shady. Linda ensured all of the bills were in her parents’ names, so they couldn’t be tracked to her. She also had her boys catch the school bus from the home of a friend, all in order to prevent anyone from finding out where she lived.
Linda and her family stayed in hiding for over six months, but the fear did not drop away then. The family continued to be fearful, and almost paranoid for years. The troubles, sadly, didn’t stop there. Linda was still being watched by the police department. It seemed like Linda and her family were destined to live in a constant state of suffering after the departure of her husband.
How could Richard do this to people that he claimed to love? Luckily, Linda still had her parents to help her at the time. In an interview with ABC, Linda’s elderly mother recounted how painful the entire situation had been.
Richard Hoagland Resurfaces
In 2016, the truth was finally uncovered. A detective named Anthony Cardillo of the Pasco County Sheriff’s Department in Florida called Linda. He asked, “Do you know who Richard Hoagland is?” Linda could hardly believe what she was hearing after all of these years.
Apparently, throughout all of her family’s strife, Richard had settled down again in West Palm Beach, Florida. He was alive, content, and happily remarried. He even had another child with his new wife, a son. Detective Cardillo told Linda that they had Richard in custody. He had been arrested for using the identity of a dead man.
After Richard left his family he rented a home and found a death certificate in the house. It belonged to a man named Terry Symansky who had died in 1991. At this point, Richard decided to make the fateful decision to cut all ties to his family and assume another person’s identity.
Richard Hoagland decided to become Terry Symansky. From there, the new Terry embarked on a new life, he got a job, a home, and even found love again. He seemingly loved his life in West Palm Beach. None of his new loved ones in his new life were aware of anything amiss.
The man that Hoagland rented a home from was Edward Symansky, who was still lamenting the death of his son Terry. Hoagland was renting an efficiency apartment that was in Symansky’s home in Port St. Lucie, Florida. Because of the close proximity, Hoagland was often there to listen to Symansky reminisce about his son, but little did he know, Hoagland would take advantage of this information, especially after finding Terry’s birth certificate.
Cynthia Bujnak, Terry’s sister, told People after Hoagland’s arrest, “My dad was grieving and pouring his heart out… My dad was the victim. Even after 23 years, the truth will always come out.”
A Final Arrest
Everything began to crumble for Richard when Terry Symansky’s real nephew was doing some research on ancestry.com. The nephew found something in his research that seemed out of place. His uncle, who had been dead for many years, had somehow been listed as getting remarried and even getting his pilot’s license.
The nephew contacted authorities and from there the truth began to unravel. In July of 2016, the same month as his son Douglas’ birthday, the police went to Terry Symansky’s house and arrested Richard Hoagland. He was put in jail at the Pasco County jail on a $25,000 bond.
Repercussions For His Actions
After all of these years, Richard was finally being held accountable for all of the wrongs he had committed, both legally and morally. Sadly, prosecutors were unable to file charges for theft against Richard from back in Indiana. The authorities couldn’t find an affidavit that contained the original allegations.
Of course, this included the forged loan document where he had signed Linda’s name and stolen credit cards. The state of Indiana maintains a statute of limitations on a theft that is five years. So while he couldn’t be held accountable for the crimes of his past he could still be charged with stealing a dead man’s identity.
Two Families Destroyed
While living as Terry Symansky, Richard had remarried and had another son who is now 19 years old. Richard’s two families have never met, including the brothers. Linda said, “My heart goes out to them. We know what they are going through. We do express our sympathy and empathy to them. I’m sorry.”
Richard has now successfully torn apart not one but two families that he has claimed to love with his atrocious actions. In the meantime, Linda’s attorney, Tom Markle, is attempting to get some kind of reparations by demanding that Richard pays almost $2 million dollars in unpaid child support. Richard will more than likely have to pay restitution for making a living as Terry Symansky.
Richard’s New Family
Posing as Terry Symansky, Richard remarried a woman named Mary Hossler Hickman in 1995 and the newlyweds settled in Zephyrhills, Florida. They even had a son together, who was just a teenager by the time his father was caught and arrested.
While Hoagland’s Florida family has remained generally quiet throughout the whole situation, the Tampa Bay Times reported that Mary later found a briefcase that contained documents about Hoagland’s real identity, as well as a deed to a property in Louisiana, and the key to a storage unit. According to detectives, their son “was shocked. It was still his father. It’s his blood, but that Symansky name is not his. The emotions they were feeling [were] between anger and sadness and the wonder of why.”
A Son’s Struggle
While Richard did send his first sons a few cards over the years, the experience he put his family through cannot be forgotten. His sons, Matthew and Doug, especially were irrevocably harmed by his actions. Matthew became “the rock” for his mother and Doug took his father’s disappearance very hard. Ultimately Doug even has had to serve multiple prison sentences for drug-related charges.
He wrote a letter to his father, that was obtained by People magazine. Doug said that it caused him to have so much anger, and he partially wondered if something was wrong with him. Ultimately, he turned to drugs. Doug said that he forgives his father, but he has one big question for him, “Why?”
Still No Explanation
Since the solved mystery, Richard has refused to talk and has not given any explanation about his choice to disappear. He has given no response that would go along with the claim that he was in financial dire straits, or account for why he forged Linda’s name. Terry Symansky’s family was also hurt by Richard’s choices, especially because it seems as though Richard knew Terry’s father.
Terry’s grieving father poured out his heart to Richard, and in response, he stole the death certificate of his son. It is unlikely Richard will ever give any reasoning to atrocious actions and why he felt so desperate to leave. One thing can be sure, the truth will always prevail no matter where you go or what you do to get away from it.