Richard Hable’s remains were found early Thursday morning buried under his mobile home. An elderly neighbor told WBTV that she tried since May to convince police something was wrong. She said officers apparently didn’t take any action then.
Now, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department is “conducting an internal investigation to determine if all policies and procedures were followed in the case.”
The 80-year-old neighbor, who doesn’t want her identity revealed, said back in May she hadn’t seen Hable for a couple of days. She went to his mobile home to check but she forgot to take the key Hable gave her. She said she saw the young man who was renting a room at Hable’s and asked him if he had a key. The roommate told her that he didn’t because Hable evicted him and took back the key.
The neighbor said she asked the roommate to wait while she went home to get the spare key. She said when she returned she saw the roommate and another man walking out of Hable’s unit.
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“I said, well, is Richard in there? They said no – Richard wasn’t in there, but the place was a wreck and that he had poured a can of paint out in the floor and you don’t need to go in there, so I didn’t,” she said.
A couple of days later she and another neighbor decided to go inside Hable’s unit.
“Blood was on the door. Blood in the house about the size of a washtub, and a big bucket of paint poured right in the middle of it,” she said.
The elderly woman said the next day she called police.
“They came out and told me it was transmission fluid,” the woman told WBTV in an interview. “I said, come on, boys you know transmission fluid is greasy – not dry. But that was what was on the door knob and they were not one bit interested in going inside; said we’ve looked around and we don’t see nothing suspicious and they were going to go.”
The neighbor said she told officers about seeing the two men leaving the mobile home, and convinced police to do more checking inside the unit.
“But then when they went inside they told me the same story about the transmission fluid,” she said. “(They) suggested filing a missing person’s report and they told me he had not been gone that long, and only family could do that.”
Since they weren’t related, and she didn’t know how to contact relatives – if they were around – the neighbor said there wasn’t anything she could do.
The months went by. No one heard from Hable.
The elderly woman said then one day in August another neighbor told her that a sheriff’s deputy went to Hable’s house to serve a subpoena for Hable to appear in court for one of his criminal cases. She said she couldn’t reach the deputy, so she called 911.
Her house phone seemed as though it wasn’t working properly, so she hung up.
The woman said officers showed up at her house anyway because of the 911 hangup. She said she told them about her missing friend, went with police to his mobile home and opened it for them.
“One of the guys still insisted it was some kind of oil stuff down there – not blood. I said no. Why don’t y’all send it to the lab,” she told WBTV. “So then they decided to file a missing person’s report.”
The missing person’s report listed Aug. 20 as the date it was filed.
This week, almost two weeks later, there was a flurry of police activity at Hable’s house.
WBTV asked CMPD about the handling of the case – whether officers were first notified in May.
In a statement to WBTV, a police spokesperson said: “We are aware of this information and currently conducting an internal investigation to see if all policies and procedures were followed in the case. Our findings will be released publicly once the circumstances have been determined.”
WBTV is an Observer news partner.