Real Name: Unrevealed
Case: Lost Heirs
Location: Sacramento, California
Date: May 8, 1987
Details: Seventy-six-year-old Charles "Charlie" Scheel ran a newspaper stand for twenty-five years on the corner of 10th & K streets in Sacramento. While there, he became friends with everyone in his community. However, on the morning of May 8, 1987, he failed to open his stand. Police were called to do a welfare check; they discovered that he had died of a heart attack in his tiny hotel room. For years, he had lived at the Golden Hotel, which was a half block from his stand. As the authorities searched for his relatives, they realized Charlie had in his possession $67,000 in a sack.
Unfortunately, no one knew much about him, and after his death, a search has been made for his closest heirs. A search of Charlie's past revealed no clues to his family. He was friends with quite a few people, but he rarely socialized with anyone about his family members. Ray Turner, manager at a bank next to the stand, brought coffee and doughnuts to Charlie every day for twelve years. However, he knew little about Charlie, including his last name.
On May 7, the day before he was found dead, Charlie left the stand around 11AM and got lunch at McDonalds. He went to the hotel with his lunch, which he shared with manager Linda Jenssen. She was one of the last people to see him alive. She recalled that he was a loner who didn't talk about his background or where he came from. She noted that he normally stayed to himself, eating his lunch by himself in his room. However, she also noted that he was a dependable, kind man.
After his death, investigators searched his room for any other clues that could lead to his family. The only personal belongings found were a pen knife, some keys, and six photographs of Charlie. It is not known who took the pictures; it is speculated that the photographer may have clues about Charlie's past.
Investigators have discovered that he did not have a birth certificate, driver's license, bank account, or social security number. They also do not know where he was born. Furthermore, they are not sure if his birth date is accurate. The date placed him at seventy-six years old. However, he told friends that he was fifty-eight. The only clues to his identity was that he apparently had a sister in the Eastern United States and was formally a boxer in the navy. A marker commemorates the place where Charlie's stand once rested.
Extra Notes: This segment was featured as part of the February 5, 1988 episode.
Results: Solved. Heir investigators received an anonymous tip from one of Charlie's customers that he was originally from Pennsylvania. They traced him to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where they discovered that he had been arrested for disturbing the peace in March of 1957. Through this arrest record, they learned that he had married Mary Agnes Wysokie. They also discovered that Charlie had a daughter, Jacquelyn Sweet, who was born in 1957. For unknown reasons, he abandoned her and her mother before her birth and moved to California. He never contacted them again.
Strangely, after leaving for California, he also never contacted his parents again. However, he did stay in contact with several cousins. His cousins had no idea that he was married or that he had a daughter. Finally, it was discovered that Charlie was born on March 30, 1928, and was fifty-nine when he died, not seventy-six as he told his friends in San Francisco.
Jacquelyn received about three-quarters of her father's estate. She and her husband used the money to buy a new house. She has since got in contact with her father's relatives. She also traveled to San Francisco to meet her father's friends and learn more about him.
- News Vendor Had Secret Past
- 7 of the Freakiest ‘Unsolved Mysteries’ Set in the SF Bay Area
- SitcomsOnline Discussion of Charlie Scheel
- Charlie Scheel at Find a Grave