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Case of Mysterious Fish Head Solved

Laguna Niguel resident Julie Casper was understandably a little "freaked out" when she discovered a fish head left on her front porch over a month ago. Here is the complete story.

Most people get packages or flowers delivered to their front doorsteps, but not resident Julie Casper.

In late September, Casper had neither a bouquet of red roses or a UPS package delivered—she had something quite different that was well, a little fishy.

On Oct. 4, Laguna Niguel Patch reported in our  that a resident did indeed find a fish head at their front door and called the cops on Sept. 27. Well, a few weeks later and Casper is ready to tell her side of what she says is a pretty funny story. We couldn't agree more.

Let's step back a bit first.

For Casper, married and mother of one, September and October were two tough months, she says.

"My father-in-law had been diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer and we had no idea he would leave us so quickly. I was going to the hospital daily and was just genuinely run down and then some strange things started to happen…"

Let's start with the fact that she had finally taken some well earned time off to be with her son from July 31 through early September.

"On Sept. 26, my husband had gone up north to take care of his mum as his father was ill. I was taking care of our house down south."

That same night, she recalled having to move her car into the garage.

"As I walk out, I see a giant opossum in the garage. I know what you are thinking, what has the opossum got to do with the fish head…hold on…it will make perfect sense…"

After she pulled into the garage, she got out of the car only to find herself staring eye-to-eye with an opossum that was poking around in her garage.

"It stopped and then he became frozen, and so did I," she said.

A Cry for Help

Casper quickly called her neighbor across the street but admits feeling badly for being such a baby about the whole thing, and not taking into consideration that it was midnight.

The neighbors came to help but after hours of rummaging through the garage, nobody could find the rascal.

"I think they secretly thought I was nuts, which I probably was," she said. "But, being the wonderful neighbors they are, they stayed looking with me until 1 a.m. At some point, I finally relented and said 'OK, maybe he did run away.' I went to bed and just did not sleep at all, making the next day very difficult to stay awake."

She also wondered if the opossum was still camped out in the garage because when she Googled “opossum,” Google said they like to nest, and only leave when they are ready to leave.

Fast forward to around 2:30 p.m and Casper pulls up the driveway in her car, and notices an ice chest outside the front door entry gate.

"I wondered if our other lovely neighbors had been fishing and sent some fish over to us," she said.

She then went through the garage, looking out for the opossum, and then straight for the gate and ice chest.

"I open it and I was in pure horror to see a FISH HEAD," she laughed. "Holy crap, I thought. What the hell is that?"

A Little More Help From Her Friends

Casper then called over to another neighbor, Agnes Swanson, who had been working in her home office to see if she saw anything. Swanson mentioned a man in a gold Toyota Camry had left the ice chest.

"I thought, there has never been a gold Camry on our street before," she said. "Again I needed help, so I immediately searched on the Internet: 'FISH HEAD ON DOORSTEP.'" 

Wiki Answers simply said: "Leaving a dead fish on doorstep means you will be KILLED."

She shared her findings with Swanson, who quickly called the police.

"I could not for the life of me think what we had done as family for someone to do this," Casper recalled.

The police came out and they, too, were baffled.

"The policeman took the report and told me to be aware of my surroundings," she said. "I called my husband and told him I needed him to come home because something terrible had happened. That night, my husband came home to stay with me as I was freaking out."

He simply put his hands on her shoulder and said, "Honey we are both well traveled."

But Casper wouldn’t have it. She had just Googled the situation and at that point, she was convinced they were in trouble. In addition, there were three letters written on top of the ice chest W-E-S.

Casper's sisters then Googled this new information and W-E-S came up as a gang with possible overtones to initiation rites. 

"I know what I know, we need guns and lots of them," she said. "I was able to confirm that two neighbors owned guns who had given me their phone numbers in the past."

Casper's husband then started again, "No one would put the fish head on ice in a Ziploc bag and then in an ice chest. You know many people make fish head soup? It is actually a delicacy."

But she, "knew what she knew and they needed guns."

Fish Lovers Found

Now, another neighbor came over, the one who loved to fish, who Casper thought originally had left her a piece of fish to eat. He said exactly what her husband told her, "As a fisherman, I know that if they were trying to send you a message they just would have thrown the fish over your fence and not put it on ice in a Ziploc bag in a nice ice chest.'"

"I was horrified but inquisitive about his thoughts as they were the last thoughts I had," she said, still convinced her family was in imminent danger.

Her husband calmly suggested that she write a flyer that asked: "Are you missing a fish head, maybe for a gourmet soup? Please call Julie..."

"I then knocked on my neighbor Jimmy's door. I had him read my flyer rather than explain and he was so excited. He said, ' Ahhhhhh... honey our fish head, someone delivered it to the wrong door. We all collapsed in laughter as his wife had fully seen the police arrive, and all the drama that was going on. She did not realize what was really happening."

The Caspers and their neighbors spent the better part of the evening laughing after learning the truth.

Oh, and Jimmy promised her some fish head soup.

So, what did Casper learn: "Call husband before you Google."

Case of the mysterious fish head resolved.

Debbie Tharp November 08, 2011 at 03:03 AM
Best...Story...Ever! I am rolling on the floor right now!
Debbie L. Sklar November 08, 2011 at 04:22 AM
A great ending to a great crime blurb.
Debbie L. Sklar November 08, 2011 at 04:23 AM
A great story and one she can tell her grandkids!
Debbie L. Sklar November 08, 2011 at 04:23 AM
I'd have to agree!
Don Tharp November 08, 2011 at 05:09 AM
So funny

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