Netflix’s latest true crime story might have taken some creative liberties, but the Westfield community has its own ideas about where The Watcher letters stemmed from. Some neighbors and people from Westfield, New Jersey, still believe that the original family sent the letters to themselves. Is it possible?
Some of the Westfield community believes Derek and Maria Broaddus fabricated ‘The Watcher’ letters
With the release of The Watcher on Netflix, the original author of the article that made headlines about the threatening letters dropped an update. In his update, Reeves Wiedeman from The Cut included a section about the most asked question about The Watcher.
“Did the family do it?” Wiedeman wrote is a variation of something he heard regularly throughout his research.
He’s not the only one who heard the comment multiple times from community members of Westfield. Councilman Mark LoGrippo, a representative of the Third Ward, where 657 Boulevard is located, also commented on this rumor.
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In an interview with Tap Into Westfield, LoGrippo confirmed that he was present when the family came forward with the letters in 2014. The councilman feels that the Netflix drama is “more entertainment than reality.” However, his main concern is the family who still lives in Westfield and that people in the community still repeat “the false rumor of the letters being manufactured by the Broaddus family.”
The rumor that The Watcher was all a hoax still swirls around Westfield today, eight years later. Is there any truth behind it?
There was another letter from ‘The Watcher,’ but the recipient threw it in the trash
Maria and Derek Broaddus received their first letter from The Watcher three days after they closed on the house at 657 Boulevard. Unlike the Netflix series, they were not living at the house already like Nora (Naomi Watts) and Dean Brannock (Bobby Cannavale). Instead, Derek was painting and overseeing some home renovations before they moved. That’s when he found an oddly addressed envelope in the new mailbox to “The New Owner.”
“Dearest new neighbor at 657 Boulevard, allow me to welcome you to the neighborhood,” the first letter began, according to The Cut. “How did you end up here? Did 657 Boulevard call to you with its force within? 657 Boulevard has been the subject of my family for decades now and as it approaches its 110th birthday, I have been put in charge of watching and waiting for its second coming. My grandfather watched the house in the 1920s and my father watched in the 1960s. It is now my time. Do you know the history of the house? Do you know what lies within the walls of 657 Boulevard? Why are you here? I will find out.”
After the first letter mentioned the Woods family, Maria contacted the previous owners to see if they knew anything about the letters.
“I asked the Woods to bring me young blood and it looks like they listened,” The Watcher wrote in the first letter.
Andrea Woods replied the next day that they had received a similar letter from The Watcher before selling the home. However, they threw it out, thinking it was odd but not dwelling on it any further. The contents of the letter, she said, were similar to the one the Broaddus family received.
The Broadus family received three letters from ‘The Watcher’ and never moved into the house
Another letter appeared two weeks later, addressed to “Mr. and Mrs. Braddus.” The person spelled their name wrong but had specific details correct.
“Welcome again to your new home at 657 Boulevard,” the new letter began. “The workers have been busy and I have been watching you unload carfuls of your personal belongings. The dumpster is a nice touch. Have they found what is in the walls yet? In time they will. I am pleased to know your names now and the name of the young blood you have brought to me. You certainly say their names often.”
The Watcher correctly identified their three children in birth order using their nicknames. Then things became even creepier.
“657 Boulevard is anxious for you to move in,” the letter continued. “It has been years and years since the young blood ruled the hallways of the house. Have you found all of the secrets it holds yet? Will the young blood play in the basement? Or are they too afraid to go down there alone. I would [be] very afraid if I were them. It is far away from the rest of the house. If you were upstairs you would never hear them scream.”
The letter only worsened as it went on. It’s no wonder the Broaddus family never moved into 657 Boulevard.
“Will they sleep in the attic?” The Watcher asked about the children. “Or will you all sleep on the second floor? Who has the bedrooms facing the street? I’ll know as soon as you move in. It will help me to know who is in which bedroom. Then I can plan better. All of the windows and doors in 657 Boulevard allow me to watch you and track you as you move through the house. Who am I? I am the Watcher and have been in control of 657 Boulevard for the better part of two decades now. The Woods family turned it over to you. It was their time to move on and kindly sold it when I asked them to.”
A third letter arrived to the Broaddus family a few weeks later, but it was shorter.
“Where have you gone to?” The Watcher wrote. “657 Boulevard is missing you.”
Did Derek and Maria Broaddus write ‘The Watcher’ letters?
The far-fetched theories from the community include ideas of a long-con or buyer’s remorse. However, none of the arguments made much sense. Why would sending strange letters get Maria And Derek Broaddus out of the home’s debt?
In the end, the Broadduses bought their dream home for $1.35 million in 2014 but sold it for only $959,000 in 2019. They lost approximately $400,000. They also paid roughly $100,000 in property taxes for five years, the utilities, home insurance, renovations, and private investigators — all for a home they never lived in. The money the Broadduses made from the Netflix drama don’t even cover their loss on the sale of the home.
There’s no reasonable explanation for why Derek and Maria could have sent the Watcher letters to themselves.
All seven episodes of The Watcher are available for streaming on Netflix.
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