A large, rundown Victorian house sits on the corner of Fourth Street and 30th Avenue in Bennington, Vermont; you can’t miss it. It is owned by Dr. Augustus Snow, Jr. Besides being his home, it also served as his medical office. For years, Dr. Snow took care of the townsfolk, handling everything from booboos to terminal conditions. Beloved by the community, when he got Parkinson’s, it forced him to quit practicing. Until recently, things at the house were quiet. That is, until the disappearances happened.

It was on a Wednesday when Nurse Alice Power, who lived in the attic, came up among the missing. She had lived and worked in Dr. Snow’s house for years. There wasn’t a person in town she didn’t know. She made sure his office operated efficiently, treating everyone like family.

When the doctor retired, having no family of her own, Nurse Power stayed on, living in the attic. She came down for meals every day at 4:30, except Thursdays when dinner was served later. After dinner, she’d read a book in the study. On Wednesdays, she stayed upstairs—no one was sure why—but everyone needs “aloneness” time. Since she wasn’t seen on Wednesdays, her disappearance went unnoticed until Thursday.

Dr. Snow wasn’t often seen anymore. He stayed in his room on the second floor. Being old and sick, he slept a lot; age and Parkinson’s does that to you. He had his meals brought in by Peggy, the housekeeper and cook. She pretty much took care of everything for him.

Peggy lost her parents to an accident when she was a girl. Dr. Snow took her in; as she got older, she showed no real interest in school or the outside world. She wanted to live with Dr. Snow, running the household. He realized this would be a great benefit to both him and Nurse Power, so he had a room remodeled in the basement. It was nicely finished with large windows that let in the sun and faced a well-maintained garden. Peggy loved that house and garden almost as much as she loved the doctor.

Her main duty, besides taking care of Dr. Snow, was keeping the house, basement, and the medical office clean. Since it was not in use, the medical office didn’t need much tending, but the rest of the house, she kept spic and span.

Recently, she watched workers plant new hydrangea bushes outside her window. They worked on Wednesday, finishing Thursday afternoon, the same week Nurse Power disappeared. Peggy made sure to remind the workers to clean up any dirt they tracked into the basement. They said they would. For a while, the gardeners stayed out front of the house, then left. Peggy was about to check the floor around the tool shed in the basement, but it was time for an important household chore: grocery shopping.

Once a week, at 4:30 on Thursdays, Peggy went to the grocery store, run by Bob Garrett. Peggy thought Bob was a fidgety, nervous guy; he made her uncomfortable. On this day, she came to the store at her regular time but avoided him. Bob decided to walk the three blocks to Dr. Snow’s house to find out why. All he said to his staff was, “I need to talk to Peggy; it’s important.” He left and went to Dr. Snow’s alone.

According to Bob, arriving about 15 minutes later, he found the door open; not wide open, but unlocked, so he went in. Calling out for the house’s occupants, he got no reply. All he found was the lights were out and a fire was burning down in the fireplace. A quick search of the first two floors and the attic did not produce a soul. Bob did find a note on the kitchen table that read “4/30, 4:30, Sky Club”, nothing else. Not another mark was on the paper.

Bob’s anxiety level rising, he didn’t go into the basement; instead, he called the police. They arrived four and one half minutes after receiving the call. The way Bob told it to them, he found the house open. Nothing looked out of place on the first floor. Going upstairs, he looked in Nurse Power’s room. Everything seemed to be in order. The same was true with Dr. Snow’s room; there was an open book on the table along with his wallet. Four dollars and thirty cents was lying out for the taking. The dresser was dusty; Bob figured Peggy hadn’t been in to clean.

He then showed the police the note he found on the kitchen table. A police search of the house—if that’s what you’d call it—found nothing, except some muddy footprints around the toolshed in the basement. Bob, being a little too keen on what the police were doing, was getting in their way. They asked him to leave and told him to call if he remembered anything else.

The next day, Bob was telling some customers the story of what he found at Dr. Snow’s. He said he heard a rumor an elderly gentleman whose hands trembled, a woman dressed like a nurse, and a smallish woman in an apron were seen the previous day at the Bennington railway station. They appeared to be waiting for the 4:30 train to Biddeford, Maine. He didn’t say who told him or how that person knew.

Bob called the police again, giving them the details of the railway station sighting rumor. Figuring that was why Peggy hadn’t come to his store on Thursday at 4:30—because she left on a train with the others—he suggested the police check the railway station. The dispatcher taking the call thanked him and hung up. Since the three were adults and it’s not a crime to take the train, no follow-up was done.

A journey to Biddeford by train was five hours due to the roundabout nature of and frequent stops on the route. Four hours and thirty minutes into the trip, as the train approached Biddeford, it derailed as it crossed the Dowd Memorial Bridge. Careening off the bridge, it sank to the bottom of the Sacco River.

Because of Bob’s rumor, everyone in town assumed Dr. Snow and the others were on the train and died in the derailment. Their bodies were not recovered from the river. In the two weeks that followed, Bob Garrett attended memorials for each. He had no doubt Dr. Snow, Nurse Power and Peggy were dead. The police seemed to be doing nothing more on this matter.

Needing a break from Bennington, Bob travelled to Biddeford to visit his brother. On Saturday afternoon, April 30 at 4:30 PM, Bob, his brother and two friends were playing euchre in a back room of the Sky Club, a newly opened pub on Washington Street. The room had two doors; the one from the barroom was locked to keep the patrons out of their private card game. The other door, a private exit to the parking lot, remained unlocked during business hours.

Bob and his brother were on a winning streak. He was feeling good and having a lot of laughs when the locked door from the barroom opened, catching all of them by surprise. At first, no one entered. Then Bob saw an old man whose hands trembled, a lady dressed like a nurse, and a smallish woman wearing an apron came in. They walked over to the card table, stood in front of Bob and stared for a minute, then left out the back door. The other card players in the room looked at Bob, saying nothing. He figured they saw the same thing he did.

After the three visitors were gone, Bob saw a note on the card table, like the one he found in Dr. Snow’s kitchen. There was one word scrawled on it, “Garden.” Staring at the note, saying nothing, Bob stepped outside. Feeling a need to know if the Bennington police were doing more on Dr. Snow’s case, he placed a call.

Using the Sky Club phone, he said, “Hi, this is Bob Garrett, we’ve talked before; I was at the house when Dr. Snow and others disappeared. I just remembered something; you guys told me to call if I did. That night, when I checked around for Dr. Snow and the others, I saw new plants in the garden. There must have been gardeners at the house putting plants in on the day everybody went missing. Maybe one of them knows something; did you check them out?”

The dispatcher said, “Thanks, we’ll look into it.” Although Bob hoped to get some information about the status of the police investigation, he got nothing. Afterwards, the dispatcher told the senior detective about Bob’s call.

Up to this point, everyone in town assumed Dr. Snow and the women died in the train wreck. “Boy, that’s odd,” thought the detective. “Why’s this guy calling about gardeners?” He asked the dispatcher where the call came from. The caller ID showed it was a number at the Sky Club in Biddeford.

The detective said, “Maybe there’s something more to this Dr. Snow matter than we’ve thought. Have a uniform go to the house, check around the yard; I want to know what he finds.” A car was dispatched right away.

When the patrolman got there, he went to the garden, saw the new plantings, and poked around the loose dirt with his shovel. Nothing seemed unusual until he uncovered a finger attached to a hand. He called to the station immediately; soon, Dr. Snow’s garden was flooded with cops including the lead detective. The forensic team uncovered one body, then two others.

A couple of detectives were sent out to track down the gardeners and check on their story as to what they did at Dr. Snow’s. The gardeners said they talked to Peggy on Thursday afternoon. She was very clear; they were to clean up after themselves in the basement. They claim they did, hung around a while out front of the house, then left.

After getting back from Dr. Snow’s, the lead detective asked the dispatcher, “You say you know the guy who called in this tip about the garden?

“Yeah, he identified himself as Bob Garrett. I remember him; he’s called before about Dr. Snow’s disappearance. He was the guy patrol found at the house the night they went missing. The officers said he was kinda squirrely, nervous, talked a lot. He was getting in the way, so they got him outta the house.”

“Better bring him in, have another talk.” The detective got on the phone to the Biddeford authorities, asking them to pick Bob up and hold him for questioning until they could get there. Complying with the request, Bob was brought to the Biddeford police station.

When he was picked up by the police, Bob said, “What’s this about? I told them everything I know.” He was informed the detectives from Bennington would be arriving soon. They thought Bob could help with their investigation. A few hours later, the detectives from Bennington got to town.

In an airless, gray interrogation room, the Bennington lead detective sat across the table from Bob. He paused before he began, “Bob, we wanted to talk again because you seem really interested in what we’re doing on this Dr. Snow matter.

“We thought they died in the trainwreck, but let me tell you some new developments. We found three bodies in the garden: Dr. Snow, Nurse Power, and Peggy. We also found footprints leading from the garden to the toolshed in the basement. What do you know about that? ”

Bob said, “See, I’ll bet it was the gardeners. That’s why I called; I remembered seeing those new plants. Did you talk to them?”

“Yeah, we did. They said they cleaned up when they were done working, but we found the footprints there the night those three went missing, after you called. Their boots didn’t match the footprints we found. We are executing a search warrant for your house and its contents as we speak. Are we gonna find shoes that match the footprints?” Bob said nothing.

“Another funny thing, Bob: you told the patrol officers, the night they were called to Dr. Snow’s, you didn’t go into the basement.” The detective then asked, “How is it, if you didn’t go into the basement, you saw ‘new plants’ in the garden?” Bob didn’t answer.

“It wasn’t the gardeners, was it?” There was a long pause, then the detective said, “Why’d you do it, Bob?”

Bob squirmed in his chair; he looked at the door of the room as if he wished he could run out. Realizing he wasn’t leaving, Bob’s conscience finally got the best of him; starting to cry, he began talking.

“Peggy came to the store at her usual time that Thursday; she owed me money. We argued over some prices and overdue bills. She left; I followed her home, angry that she wouldn’t pay up. When I got to the house, I knocked; she came to the door. She didn’t want to let me in; I forced the door open. We stood in the hallway quarreling over the grocery bills. I didn’t mean to push her; you know I don’t remember much other than Peggy falling, hitting her head on a table. I just lost it, guess I froze, didn’t know what to do.

“Nurse Power must have heard the commotion. She came out of one of the rooms into the hall and saw Peggy on the floor. I’ve know her all my life; she worked for Dr. Snow. Surprising me, she got to the phone, put the receiver up to her ear, and was about to dial; I grabbed at the receiver, trying to get the phone; instead I twisted her head, must have broke her neck or something. That left Dr. Snow; he didn’t see nothing, he was upstairs, but he was a loose end; I couldn’t be sure, I had to finish him off, too.

“I then went downstairs in the basement, had to check, make sure nobody else was there. I saw new hydrangeas had been planted in the garden and the soil was loose, I got the idea to bury all three bodies under those bushes. When I started burying them, it was dark. Digging graves for three people was hard; it took me maybe two hours. When I was done, I cleaned off the shovel, putting it back in the basement shed. I didn’t notice I hadn’t wiped off my shoes.

“When I got done with the bodies, I came back upstairs into the kitchen and found that note on the table. It made no sense to me, I didn’t write it. That’s when I called the police. I wanted to seem like a concerned friend. Before you arrived, there had been fire in the fireplace. By the time you got there, it had burned down. I turned some of the lights on. I was hoping you guys would take my report lightly; you did.

“That train story, I was blowing smoke, didn’t count on the trainwreck, but I knew the bodies wouldn’t wash up out of the river because they weren’t on the train. It was perfect; I thought I was in the clear. Being at the memorials was for show. Then I came here, you know, to clear my head. I didn’t count on the victims tracking me down in Biddeford at the Sky Club.”

The lead detective interrupted, “Wait. What do you mean by ‘the victims tracking you down?’”

“It was just like that note on the kitchen table said: “4/30, 4:30, Sky Club.” Today’s April 30; the three of them, Dr. Snow, Nurse Power, and Peggy showed up in Biddeford today at 4:30 at the Sky Club. Somehow they got the door unlocked, came into the room where we were playing cards, walked over to the table, didn’t say nothing, just stared at me, then left. Then I saw that note with the word “Garden.” I freaked, thought, somehow, they were alive, following me. You don’t believe me, ask the guys; they saw them,” Bob said.

“We’ll talk to the other guys but, you know what, Bob, we figured those three were dead in the trainwreck. If you hadn’t called about that ‘Garden’ note, we’d have never looked for the bodies in Dr. Snow’s backyard. Read him his rights,” the detective said. Bob was arrested and put into a holding cell. As Bob was being led to a cell to await extradition, he said, “I really liked them. I’m sorry.”

Cleaning up loose ends before he got out of town, one of the card players told the detective, “The door opened like Bob said, but we didn’t see three people. We didn’t see nobody; Bob just got up and left. Maybe he saw something; I don’t know.”

Since that night at Dr. Snow’s house, Bob wasn’t sure whether he wanted to get caught or not. Then again, maybe this sighting could have been what Bob’s conscience wanted him to see. Now, maybe, his three victims would leave him alone.

As he was getting ready to leave, the detective said to his Biddeford counterpart, “I’ve seen a lot of crazy things, but all this over a grocery bill, for that this guy became a killer, I don’t get it.”

In the end, it didn’t really matter what the reason was: the three victims were dead, Bob would soon be in jail, and the mystery of the disappearances at Dr. Snow’s was solved, save for one thing…who wrote those notes?