Danbury, CT – John William Oates, half of the chart-topping musical duo Hall & Oates, was found dead Monday afternoon in the woods behind his Danbury, CT residence, the apparent victim of a man-eating bear.
According to just-released autopsy reports, Oates’ fatal wounds were consistent with those inflicted by the average North American Grizzly bear. Wounds included over three dozen deep gouges on the Grammy Award-winning musician’s torso, as well as the removal and consumption of the “Rich Girl” writer’s internal organs.
Forensic experts estimate the age of the bear responsible for the killing to be between 30 and 35 years of age. At the time of this report, the animal is still at large and considered to be very dangerous.
“I’m terribly saddened by John’s untimely death,” said a teary-eyed Hall at his Philadelphia home. “But I’d be lying if I said that I was even a little surprised.”
According to Hall, the events that led to Oates’ death began back in 1981, when while in the midst of recording their new album at their Norwalk, CT studio, a television news report detailed the escape of a dangerous Grizzly bear from the Beardsley Zoo in nearby Bridgeport.
“I remember watching the news report about the escaped bear with John and being terrified,” said Hall. “But when I pointed out that the bear was reportedly moving towards John’s neighborhood in Danbury and was hungry for the taste of human flesh, he just sat there smiling, nodding his head, and writing down every word I said.”
The warnings Hall spoke to Oates that fateful day would soon become the lyrics to one of the biggest hits of the duo’s career, “Maneater.”
“Oh-oh, here she comes.
Watch out boy, she’ll chew you up.
Oh-oh, here she comes.
She’s a maneater.”
As the search for the elusive man-eating bear continued over the next decade, Hall continually warned Oates of the beast’s reported proximity to the Oates’ residence, only to have his words of warning mocked or outright ignored.
“For whatever reason, John just couldn’t wrap his mind around the idea of a man-eating bear,” said Hall. “He’d always shake his head and say ‘It’s just a song, Daryl, and songs can’t kill you.’ When I’d show him newspaper articles about the bear’s latest victims, he’d tell me to stop believing everything I read.”
According to Danbury police records, however, the songwriter’s death was not the first wild-animal-related death to hit the Oates family in the years that followed Hall’s initial warnings. Both of Oates’ wives and three of his five children were violently killed from 1991-1996, all having been similarly mauled by large bear-like animals while alone in the woods.
Then, on the evening of June 14, 1998, Oates’ eight-year-old daughter, Audrey, went missing during a family camping trip just outside of Torrington, CT. After waiting three days for her to return to the campsite, Oates finally asked authorities to begin a search for the missing child.
“It was the strangest thing. Audrey walked into the woods to tinkle and just never came back,” said Oates during an interview with People magazine in 1999. “My son Derrick and I called out for her a few times, but there was this super-loud bear roaring off in the distance and she probably couldn’t hear us over the racket. We thought about going to look for her, but it was dark and we were pretty tired.”
Despite police finding Audrey’s mangled corpse in a bear den a week after her disappearance was reported, Oates steadfastly refused to believe that the death was anything more than a freak accident.
“It’s definitely tough to lose yet another child to a random accident,” said Oates in People. “Maybe someday forensic scientists will be able to determine what caused the bear-claw-sized gouges in Audrey’s body, but my guess is that it will always remain a mystery.”
On Tuesday, Oates’ lone surviving child, Derrick, publicly attacked police and forensic reports detailing the circumstances behind his father’s death, comparing the department’s belief in man-eating bears to a child’s belief in Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy.
“Personally, I don’t believe the police have done their due diligence in the investigation of my father’s death,” said the 22-year-old Oates. “With that said, I’ve decided to hire some private investigators, or ‘private eyes,’ to continue the investigation. According to my father’s lyrics, they see your every move.”
While authorities have publicly condemned Oates’ hiring of private eyes, they do agree that his plan does sound catchy.