Ronald DeFoe, the murderer that led to or inspired, depending what you believe, Amityville Horror has died, but what happened to George and Kathy Lutz?
State Officials have confirmed the death of Ronald DeFoe, who died on Friday while serving his 25-years-to-life prison sentence at Sullivan Correctional Facility in New York. No cause of death has been given yet.
In 1974, Ronald DeFeo shot and killed six of his family members in a large Dutch Colonial house in a suburban neighbourhood in Amityville. At the time, he pled insanity and claimed voices told him to do it.
The murders went on to inspire the story of The Amityville Horror book and movies, after George and Kathy Lutz moved into the house a year on.
What happened to George and Kathy Lutz?
In December 1975, George and Kathy Lutz moved into the house they bought for a steal of a price. The only catch? It was the setting of a mass murder less than a year before.
The couple moved in with Kathy’s three children from a previous marriage, but it took only 28 days before they fled the house. Within days of moving in, they claim to have noticed strange activity.
“There were…odors in the house that came and went. There were sounds. The front door would slam shut in the middle of the night…I couldn’t get warm in the house for many days,” said George to ABC News.
The alleged happenings only got stranger—they claim to have found strange gelatinous drops on the carpet, Kathy Lutz allegedly transformed into an old woman, and George even claims to have seen her levitating.
Eventually, the family fled, leaving behind all their belongings still in the house. Years on, the Lutz’ worked with author Jay Anson to create The Amityville Horror, using 45 hours of tape recordings from the couple.
Claims of a hoax
As with most paranormal claims, there exists believers and non-believers. George and Kathy Lutz were met with their fair-share of disbelievers, and those who labelled it all a commercial hoax.
The later owners of the house have previously attempted to debunk the story, claiming some of it didn’t add up to what they found when they moved in. While the very priest depicted in the book reportedly claimed he didn’t experience any of the paranormal effects the book said he did.
George Lutz remained adamant in his story of what happened, but admitted that some features of the story, including the famous green slime, were added as embellishments.
Where are the Lutz family now?
Kathy and George divorced in 1980, and both have since passed away. Kathy died of emphysema in 2004 and George died of heart disease in 2006.
Their children have tended to shy away from the horror spotlight, specifically daughter Missy. However, Daniel Lutz appeared in the 2013 documentary My Amityville Horror and remained adamant that the hauntings happened.
While son Christopher Quaratino claimed to the Seattle Times that although the book was not a hoax, it was extremely amplified. He regularly clashed with his step-father, and moved away from the family aged 16.
Now, the house at 112 Ocean Avenue has new owners after being bought in 2017 for $605,000. Reportedly, it no longer represents the iconic structure shown in the movies and has been entirely renovated.