Did This 70-Year-Old Grandfather Stage His Own Suicide, Or Was He Murdered?
QUINLAN, TX — March 10, 2017, 70-year-old Michael Chambers was spending a quiet morning with his wife, Becca, in the small town of Quinlan, Texas.
The morning may have started like any other day, but by that night, Michael had vanished — and all that remained was a trail of blood and a lot of unanswered questions.
Michael Chambers with his wife, Becca Chambers [Investigation Discovery]
Michael’s daughter Suzy Losoya said she believed that her father and Becca, who had been together for 37 years, had had “a perfect marriage.”
“Dad spoiled Becca. He doted on her. From opening the doors to making the coffee to fixing the breakfast and making the dinner, he was very loving,” she said. Michael’s son-in-law David Losoya agreed that Michael treated his wife “like a queen.”
Michael was a Dallas firefighter for over three decades and was well-respected in the community. Since retiring in 2008, Michael spent his time with family and on his other passion: Working on classic cars and going to car shows.
He was a church deacon at First Baptist Church, where he also sang in a gospel band and was a member of a car club called The Texas Most Wanted.
On that Friday morning in March, Michael said goodbye to his wife as she left for work and prepared for his day, which he planned to spend working on cars and cutting firewood.
That evening at 5:50 P.M., Becca texted Michael as she left her job as a home-health aide. He never responded, and when she arrived home she found Michael’s truck still at home.
But the house was dark, and Michael had not left the garage door open for her. Becca called Michael’s cell phone, but it went to voicemail. Worried, Becca reached out to family members to see if they had heard from him.
Becca remembered that Michael had mentioned going to the back of the property to cut firewood. She recruited her neighbors to help her search the 10-acre property for Michael — but they found no sign of him.
Michael’s garage shop was locked, so Becca got the keys and went inside. He had left tools, his wallet, and keys around in a way that suggested that he may have been there recently.
Then Becca noticed blood on the floor. At 6:55 P.M., her neighbor, who had retired after a career in law enforcement, called 911.
A Hunt’s County sheriff’s deputy arrived at the scene shortly afterward. The deputy looked for any signs that Michael could have been a victim of a robbery. That’s when police noticed something odd: The wallet was on the counter, but his driver’s license was missing.
Michael’s family members pointed out that his 12-gauge shotgun and expensive tools were untouched. In addition, Michael had around $1,000 in cash on the console of his truck.
“It did not appear like a robbery to me,” Hunt’s County Sheriff Randy Meeks said, adding that the amount of blood on the garage floor was “minimal.”
Then, the police noticed a wooden rod that appeared to have bloody prints on it. “My thoughts were that someone had hit him on the head with the dow rod and had taken him,” Sheriff Meeks said.
Investigators pinged Michael’s cell phone and learned that the phone was either dead or turned off, but they were able to determine that the last known activity occurred at 5:50 P.M. in the Lake Tawakoni area.
Police and family members launched a massive search around the area, but they came up empty.
The next morning, investigators started to piece together a timeline of Michael’s last known movements. Becca told investigators that she had asked Michael to grab her some mascara from Walmart.
Police found the items he’d purchased in the house. Security footage from Walmart showed Michael paying for the makeup items at around 11:00 A.M. and then leaving the Walmart in Quinlan, headed in the direction of his home.
Police checked with other stores on Michael’s route, but could not find any evidence that he had made other stops.
Hunt County called in a team of bloodhounds to search Michael’s property, and they continued to alert in an area near a culvert on Michael’s property that led to a large pond. Authorities did an extensive search of the pond along with two separate dive teams, but no trace of Michael was found.
Police delivered a heartfelt plea for public help. “I’ve never known a more devout Christian man than Michael Chambers. I would trust him with my life,” a tearful Sheriff Meeks said at a press conference.
Michael’s family offered a $25,000 reward for information and set up a Facebook page where they appealed for help from the public.
Some family members began to raise questions about Michael’s youngest son, 31-year-old Justin Chambers, who had had a rift with his father. Justin had been in and out of foster care as a child before Michael and Becca adopted him. And Michael’s son-in-law David said that Justin had a habit of calling his father for money.
However, a few months before he went missing, according to David, “Mike had totally quit. He said, ‘I’m done with this. It’s time for him to take care of himself’,” David said. “From what I understood he would call and get belligerent with Mike, [and] make threats.”
But despite the tension between them, Justin insisted that he would never hurt Michael. He also claimed that he was at work all day on the day his father went missing — and police said that they were able to verify his alibi.
When the DNA results came in, experts verified that the blood on the floor and the rod was a match to Michael. They brought in a blood-spatter expert who examined the crime scene, and found that the direct, round blood drops appeared to be “too perfect.”
The expert concluded that the blood was “staged” to make it appear as though there had been a kidnapping or abduction. The expert also said that the bright red color of the blood could suggest the presence of an anticoagulant — and speculated that the blood had been preserved in a vial, and then intentionally spattered to suggest a crime scene.
On March 20, Becca made a change to her cell phone plan. She removed Justin’s phone from the family plan and also suspended Michael’s service.
Some family members raised questions about why Becca would cancel the service given that it could provide crucial evidence — but others said that Becca had had to make the change for financial reasons.
Then, Becca stated that she wanted to sell Michael’s truck. She told Suzy that she wanted to obtain a temporary death certificate for Michael — and assured her that the court order was only temporary.
Despite Becca’s insistence that the order was just a formality, Suzy said that she strongly objected.
In May, police began to call in family members for polygraph exams. Justin was polygraphed twice and passed both times. One month later, Becca was asked to submit to a polygraph. She agreed, but was very reluctant to talk about extramarital affairs, according to police. Then, to the family’s shock, Becca admitted to having an affair.
She said that the relationship with the other man had ended five months before Michael went missing. She said that she believed Michael knew about the affair but chose not to confront her.
Police said that Becca passed the other part of the polygraph test, and based on those results, they eventually ruled her out as a suspect.
Police called Becca’s alleged lover in for questioning. He admitted to the affair, but police said that he had an alibi for the day of the disappearance.
A few months later, Suzy got a message on Facebook. The person claimed to know where her father’s body was. He called Suzy and said that her father had been murdered — and claimed that Becca and another man had killed Michael.
Suzy called Sheriff Meeks, who told Suzy that he questioned the authenticity of the information because the tipster was a convicted felon.
On July 15, Suzy was shocked when she received word that her father had officially been declared dead — just two months after his disappearance.
Surveillance footage showing Michael at Walmart the day he went missing [Investigation Discovery]
Suzy learned that the court order that Becca had said was temporary was permanent. This meant that Becca was eligible to receive payments from Michael’s estate. For now, Michael’s $750,000 pension issues monthly payments to Becca Chambers.
Then, there was another shocking twist in the case when police begin to wonder if Michael Chambers could have staged the crime scene himself in order to escape his life.
David remembers having a strange conversation with Michael in which his father-in-law commented that it would be “easy” to disappear and make it look like an accident.
But other family members insist that Michael, a devoted father, and grandfather, would never walk away from his home and community. “It’s not a path he would take,” Suzy insists.
A cell-phone expert was brought in to learn more about Michael’s exact route on the day he went missing. The forensic cell-phone analysis showed that Michael left his house that morning, drove through Quinlan to the 2 Mile Bridge, went past the bridge, and stopped for 10 to 15 minutes.
Later that day, around 2:30 P.M., Michael went back to the same location — and that’s where the signal of the phone stopped.
Since the data showed that he was only traveling at 4.2 miles per hour, Sheriff Meeks determined that Michael had been traveling on a bicycle, which police were unable to locate.
The Sheriff’s Department now believes that Michael plotted an elaborate suicide, first staging the blood at his home, and then going to the location near the bridge — where, according to Sheriff Meeks, he took his own life.
“This was not an abduction, and it’s not going to be a homicide,” Sheriff Meeks said. “He left on his own.”
Sheriff Meeks released a statement to a local news agency in which he indicated that police believed that Michael had jumped off of 2 Mile Bridge to take his own life.
Sheriff Meeks said that police had found evidence of a motive that could have possibly caused Michael to take his own life but said: “we are not at liberty to discuss this because this is still an ongoing investigation.”
The Hunt County Sheriff’s Department and many in the Chambers family believe that Michael committed suicide — but others find that conclusion hard to accept.
Suzy says that she is divided from the rest of the family because she believes that her father’s disappearance is related to foul play — but says that they are all united in their search for answers.
For more on the Michael Chambers case, watch the “Moment of Truth” episode of Investigation Discovery’s Disappeared on ID GO now!