Real Name: Howard Thomas Drummond
Case: Lost Heirs
Location: Lansing, Michigan
Date: January 28, 1989
Details: Seventy-four-year-old Howard Thomas Drummond was a retired bank employee and postal worker who moved into the YMCA in Lansing, Michigan, in 1985. He rented a room for forty-nine dollars per week but did not want to pay the extra five dollars a day to have his own private bathroom. He always ordered the same breakfast: fried eggs, bacon, and rye toast, for $1.99. He also bought two more of the same breakfast, which he ate for lunch and dinner. His daily expenditure on food was just six dollars. He always saved money and other items, such as empty coffee jars, magazines, and rubber bands. He owned eighty pairs of white socks and eight identical suits and hats, so that he could wear the same outfit everyday.
He seemed to have no friends and few acquaintances. However, the people who did interact with him felt that he was a kind person. He did practically the same thing every day at the same time. After talking with the manager at the YMCA, he would walk to the downtown Lansing post office. He subscribed to the Wall Street Journal, Forbes Magazine, Psychology Today, Foreign Affairs, and Soviet Life. He regularly received envelopes from banks and sent out registered letters to banks. He also always visited postal worker Frances Dodge every day. He often gave her shopping lists, written on the backs of old envelopes. He would always give her money to pay for the items. After completing his daily routine in Lansing, he would return to his room at the YMCA. He never allowed anyone inside his room.
Howard passed away on January 28, 1989. Two days later, county attorney Paul Rosenbaum visited the YMCA to settle his estate and find possible heirs. After two weeks, the attorney was able to sort out all of his papers. He found several interesting items within Howard's possessions. There was a diary that listed the headlines of news stories on stations across the United States. There were three watches that did not work. There were a large amount shoe laces. Also, there were several pictures and newspaper clippings of Princess Diana. Paul also discovered that he had eleven different bank accounts across the country. A total of $249,746 was found in his belongings.
Howard always carried a gym bag with him, but strangely it was not found in his apartment. It is believed that some of his most important papers were in the bag. In the apartment, Paul found a key marked "#29" that he believes belongs to a locker at a bus station. It is possible that the gym bag might be in this locker.
There is little known about Howard Drummond. He was born in Houston, Texas in 1911, the only child of impoverished parents. He served in the Army from 1942 to 1945. He was fired from a job at a California bank for stealing scotch tape. He later worked as a postal employee in Pasadena. He lived at YMCAs in Pasadena, Denver, and Daton.
A search is being made for his next living heirs.
Extra Notes: This segment first ran on Unsolved Mysteries in the November 15, 1989 episode.
Results: Solved. After the broadcast, Howard's half-brother and niece came forward and received the inheritance. Other relatives were also able to prove their relationship to him and received some of the money as well. The county has closed the case and is no longer looking for heirs.
- Drummond (February 1989 Article from Lansing State Journal)
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- Howard Drummond at Find A Grave
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