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Valerie Richardson

Valerie Richardson

Valerie Richardson covers politics and the West from Denver. She can be reached at [email protected].

Articles by Valerie Richardson

Douglas Grensted abandoned his wife Barbara and daughters Beth and Lynne when he faked his death after leaving for a hunting trip in 1968 in Grover Beach, California. (Photo courtesy Lynne Grensted Thurston)

Social Security hits kids with $100,000 bill after 'dead' father turns up alive 47 years later

In 1968, a 39-year-old funeral director named Douglas Grensted disappeared while on a hunting trip, leaving behind a wife and two young daughters. A decade later, he was declared legally dead, and Social Security paid his family about $100,000 in survivors' benefits. So imagine their shock when they discovered in 2016 that he had been alive all that time -- and not only that, the Social Security Administration wanted its money back. Published December 26, 2018