Who is The Watcher? Inside Broaddus family threatened by creepy letters as neighbors recall ‘crazy house’ horror
WESTFIELD, NEW JERSEY: Neighbors in the New Jersey community where a family had been plagued with threatening letters from an unknown person have opened up about the saga. The story of the Broaddus family and their former home is set to be the focus of a seven-part Netflix series titled 'The Watcher'. The Broaddus family was at the center of the 2014 mystery surrounding a string of frightening and threatening letters written to them by someone known as 'The Watcher.'
The family paid $1.3 million for a stunning six-bedroom home in Westfield, New Jersey, in June 2014, but only a few days later they got their first anonymous message. The terrifying letters delivered to the address indicated that the author was familiar with many intimate facts about their life and the structure of the property. The letters also warned the couple that their children "would never hear them cry" if they walked down to the basement. The home was sold in 2019 for $959,000 by Derek and Maria Broaddus after an unsuccessful lawsuit against the former owners.
While many people in the area have moved away over the years, some were present as the tale was unfolding. One of the members of the community, Kimberly Sorrentino, has lived on The Boulevard for close to 30 years. She claimed that before the house was bought by the Broaddus family, it was "a crazy house." "It was a bachelor's house before it was a private home," Sorrentino told The US Sun.
“I don’t think much of it, I don’t think it was anything scary. I would say the carjackings in this town are much more serious than The Watcher," she added further.
Another neighbor across the street agreed, stating that she was not concerned at the time. She did, however, mention that she was a member of the neighborhood along The Boulevard that voluntarily submitted to DNA testing as part of the inquiry into the enigmatic messages. "Two detectives came ... and I knew that I wasn't part of anything, but it was weird," she recalled.
After the test, she received no more communication. Nobody in the area appeared to be really worried, "and that says something," she said. "I hope the movie's good, but there's so much more to talk about, it's just not interesting to me," she added.
The announcement that the Netflix adaptation of 'The Watcher' was ready to premiere elicited a range of responses from the local population. “It’s probably going to be way more dramatic than the actual story,” one employee at a waxing salon. “People haven’t heard of it,” another chimed in.
One woman dining with her mother and her daughter at Vicki’s Diner “felt bad” for the family at the time. “I think it was somebody joking around,” she said of the mysterious letters. “I don’t know that I’d buy it,” she was quick to add. The woman's daughter named Eve Crandall said that she was preparing to hold a watching party for the new Netflix series with her friends, as reported in The US Sun.