Let's Retire To Beautiful Missouri!

A Story based on actual events!

Lynford Turner

© Copyright 2005 by Lynford Turner



My name is Lynford Turner. I don't make any claim to being a good writer. I simply put things down in real form the way they actually happened and I do it in my own way.   The first part of this story is based on my actual experiences with "Hostile Encroachment" here in the state of Missouri.

Some of the story is based on legal decisions that were made by the courts in Missouri. Of course, to add a little zest to the actual event I added some genuine Missouri encroachers hostility! Trust me, the degree of how bad the land thievery here in Missouri stands out is dependent upon which county you live in and just how much money you want
to pay the attorneys and courts for justice.

By the way, Missouri is my home state!

So…. You’d like to move to the Missouri Ozarks, buy a few acres, maybe build a house and live it up in retirement for the rest of your life? Reasonable acreage, low taxes, fantastic hunting, fishing, swimming, boating, golf or whatever sports you’d like to pursue. The lure of the beautiful scenery, the lakes and rivers, spring flowers, caves, trees and wild life, so many other green attractions, ah yes! What a wonderful place to live out your remaining years! And the people! They’re so friendly! The real estate man and his wife are such wonderfully nice folks!

OK, great, only there are a few things you should consider before buying in. We can begin with the neighbor check, Find out who all has a police record, you know, things like… Who’s the local rapist and how many relatives does he have up and down the road. Investigation will usually prove that the Missouri paradise is full of misfits with every type of background you don’t want to live near.

Most often a property has four sides. As a result there are four possibilities of the bad guys being right next to you. Do despair! There are so many bad guys in that state you’ll certainly wind up with a minimum of two lazy self centered compulsory wanters owning adjoining property. In perhaps two out of five land purchases you’ll wind up with three of these completely undesirable neighbors. At the same time you’ll likely discover that one or more of them are number-two control freaks. If they can’t control your every effort until your money is gone they’ll probably beat you up or, have you beaten up or, have you shot by a buddy while they have a good alibi. That includes pouring high-octane auto gas into your diesel tractor.

They’ll want you to pay for their fences, they’ll move the corner post onto your land just as many feet as they believe they can get away with. All of the time this is going on they’ll be telling other neighbors that you’re a thorn in their ass and somehow, we have to all get together and eliminate this guy from OUR neighborhood.

If you spend your money doing the things they want of you, they’ll wait about arranging your departure until you run out of money. Meanwhile, certain local “Good Ole Boys” will make an occasional attempt to have sex with your wife. They’re not interested in specific age groups or interested women. Any woman at any age is ok. They stand near your wife while making fun of you; beer can in hand, believing your wife really goes for them! Of course there’re several things you can do but whatever you do regarding their demands you’re in a dangerous environment.

Most everybody on your road is probably a litigating bastard and some are presently involved in a civil lawsuit. Most have already tasted some easy money from a lawsuit and eagerly await the next opportunity. Local television programs will be inundated with commercials where lawyers are telling everybody how they’re standing ready to help you protect your rights.

While you’re watching the TV commercial a dump truck may drive by. The owner has two dump trucks, a backhoe, a road grader, bulldozer and a skip loader. He’s well set with all the toys that he really fails to operate with any expertise. But wait! How on earth did he come by all of this equipment? Of course! It was a lawsuit! He obtained permission from a new property owner from California to hunt on his land. The out-of-state property owner thought he’d be a good neighbor so he said ok. In the process of climbing over a barbed wire fence the Neighbor/hunter scratched his nuts.

To make matters worse the hunter claims he fell out of an old deer stand he built on your property several years ago. His claim is upheld simply because of the new owner’s carelessness. The hunter proved lack of maintenance. Now he owns what the former California neighbor used to own. As a matter of probability, the hunter might not have actually scratched his nuts climbing over the fence; further, there were no witnesses that observed him falling from the deer stand. In civil court he only had to prove that it PROBABLY happened.

So, in spite of the fact you’ve learned about some of the bad things regarding the purchase of property in Missouri, you decide to buy in anyhow. You feel certain you can depend upon law enforcement to handle the bad guys! You want to invest in a few acres of the wonderful Ozark Hill Country. After all, real estate is getting pricier everyday. Yeah! That’s a great idea! So you buy a few acres, say 40 or 80, maybe more and feel secure knowing in your own mind that you’ve bought a piece of the rock. Note, I did say, in your own mind!

Yes, your purchase is a lovely acreage where the trees are magnificent, why, there’s even a babbling brook that runs right through the property. Did you get it surveyed? Did the surveyor find any land encroachments? Maybe there’s an old fence lying on the ground that traverses right across, say, 80 percent of your property. Did the surveyor let you know about that?

He did tell you about it? Great! But Oh! Oh! You bought the property anyway. I mean, you thought it was necessary to protect the eight thousand dollar investment paid to the surveyor. Right? After all, if the fence is on the ground it’s not likely to be an encroachment, right? Wrong! Your neighbor has been waiting for you!

The former owner of your property had far too many local relatives in the area for the neighbor to make his move toward a “Quiet Title on the encroached land you think you own. The encroaching neighbor has been “Tacking” {Tacking is an accepted Missouri legal expression} that land right along for years. All of his friends and relatives have witnessed the possible fact that the old fence that is now on the ground was indeed standing up for the legal number of years and the land now belong to him! Aw! That’s baloney! The deed for all the property is in your name right?

Now it’s time for court! By golly you’re not going to let a bunch of hillbillies beat you out of 80% of your land! Oh Shucks! The court awards the trespassing thief the land you thought was yours. Wait! There’s hope! The seller gave you a deed that he’s supposed to defend indefinitely! But dang it! The real estate man went and wrote, “Property sold as is” on the deed. Dang it again! Why did he do that? Well, that’s because the law in good ole Missouri says that the real estate folks can represent both the seller and the buyer. Now guess whom he was really watching out for?

Later, you learn that if the fence had been actually standing, that is, not lying on the ground, the encroaching neighbor could have taken the whole acreage, yep! I sincerely mean every acre you thought you bought! But he failed to meet a few other necessities required by Missouri law for a total land grab so, he was only entitled to the 80% portion of what you thought belonged to you. It would have been easy but he put off some things a little bit too long and you came along and bought the property.

Of course he and all of his friends and relatives feel it’s your fault for taking immediate possession after buying the land. If you’d waited for another thirty days the encroaching neighbor would’ve had time to get the necessary work completed. It’s your entire fault that he missed out. He’ll get even with you later you can depend upon that! The Web shows several case histories where that exact thing happened to the less than wary Missouri land buyers.

Aw shucks! Things like that don’t really happen in Missouri! Says an old Missouri farmer. I’ve been living right here in the Ozarks all of my life and I hain’t ever seen somebody fencing off somebody else’ property! That feller thet writ that story hain’t telling the truth. You can shore ask any lawyer and he’ll tell ye thet it hain’t true either! He’ll tell ye thet the only time there’s an encroachment is cause somebody accidentally stuck a corner post in the wrong place years ago.

That’s likely true! The lawyers will tell you something like that. In any case the lawyer isn’t telling the whole Missouri land-thieving story. Many Missouri attorneys do a large part of their business either defending “Hostile” encroachments or defending against “Hostile” encroachments.

There’s something else you will learn after you purchase land in Missouri. Stealing land is an art long practiced by the farmers all around you. Their fathers did it, their grandpappys did it and now they’re doing it! Moving a corner post is simply a part of the Ozark culture. The really smart encroachers know land value. They’ll simply fence off an amount of your land where the value is approximately equal to the cost of defending it. Since the lawyer and the courts cost can easily run in the many thousands of dollars you’ll find yourself carefully weighing the desire to fight for your own land. There’s always the chance you’ll lose the court case, court cost and the land.

Ok, maybe you’re afraid to buy a lot of land. Instead you’ve decided to buy a house in town. Everybody is so friendly in the little town, you just have to love the neighbors they’re so nice! That does it! You buy that little house sitting on a 100 by 200 foot lot. The back yard is big enough for you to install a swimming pool. Great! So you tell the neighbor on the backside of your lot that you’re going to have a pool installed. Since there is no fence separating the two properties you also mention that you’ll be installing a new heavy wire fence. After all, you want to protect his kids from your new pool!

Suddenly your new neighbor says to you, “It’s not going t be a very big pool I guess.” So you ask, “Er, actually it is going to be a rather large pool.” Your neighbor informs you that all of the lot up to four feet from your back door belongs to him. Of course you know he’s got to be joking. You try to laugh off the joke but the neighbor tells you that if you try to build on his land he’ll sue you. He goes stomping back to his house acting very aggressive. You’re a little bit shocked but you feel safe. You did get the property surveyed before you bought.

That evening the neighbor kept his high-fi up to seventy-five watts of Rap until bedtime. Matter of fact, he’s been doing that for a month now. You’ve called the sheriff out so many times that he’s blaming you for the problem. The sheriff has asked you twice now to sell out and leave the area because there’s nothing he can do about the Rap noise. That’s because the neighbor always shuts down at 10:00 pm. The sheriff accepts the fact that your whole house is vibrating from the bass sounds of the meaningless Rap. Unfortunately there’s no ordinance in that small Missouri town preventing extra loud noise before bedtime. The other neighbors are too afraid to tangle with this person because as you will learn before long, he killed a man last year allegedly in self-defense during a bar fight. If he killed once, he could kill again.

Saturday arrives; your neighbor has several relatives and friends over for a beer party. They sit out in your back yard whooping it up and making catcalls at you while purposely using extreme profane language for your wife to hear. It doesn’t matter to them that your wife is 70 years old.

With all the worry you’ve completely forgotten about the swimming pool project. Nevertheless a few days later you wake up to the noise of a fence being installed about four feet from your back door, actually, the post are being driven more like three feet from your back door, so the fence is considered on you. You go out and demand to know the meaning of what’s going on! You’re informed that you’d better keep your ass off of “my” property.

Congratulations, you’ve just been introduced to the typical Missouri “Hostile” encroachment. Damn that horrible person! I’m calling the sheriff! Three hours later the deputy sheriff arrives. He looks at you with that, “Are you still here look!” Then he informs you that the fence is not a criminal matter, instead, it’s a civil matter.

In desperation you ask the deputy, “What can I do about this!” The deputy replies, “You’ll have to get an attorney and take this to court. If you can convince the judge that you actually own the property, he’ll make the neighbor take the fence down. But I’ll tell you right now, this guy has always been a helluva problem here in town and he’s infamous for beating people up! Once somebody like him fences off somebody else’ property, they feel they own it. It can get dangerous. People here in Missouri are known to kill people over a fence. It’s not unusual at all for a murder to occur over the relocation of a fence post.”

The beauty of the area that you once recognized as the most important part of your retirement has been completely displaced. Then the real truth begins to weigh in on you. You bought here in the first place because this little piece of “God’s Country” was inexpensive. But….. You got about what you paid for! After lots of thinking you decide that the amount of your real-estate the bad guy is stealing from you is actually worth less than what the cost will be to hire a lawyer, bring the case to court and maybe dodge a few bullets and broken beer bottles.

You’ve got ten years to solve this problem because that’s how long Missouri law requires for the encroacher to possess and use your property as his own in order to obtain a legitimate quiet title to your land. Day after day and night after night you think of only how this encroaching neighbor is ruining your retirement and your life! After a few months you discover new wrinkles on your face that replace some of that smooth smile you still had when you first bought in. You can’t take it any longer! So you…………

A: You sell out at a lower price! Leave the area completely. Your spouse fails to understand your action. She feels you’re not man enough to solve the problem like a better man would do. You loving wife has committed you to shame!

B: You shoot the encroacher and go to jail! While in custody awaiting trial you’re raped by an assortment of Missouri’s worst felons. Later, after your conviction by a jury of selected “Good Ole Boys” you’re transferred to state prison where most everybody, including an occasional male guard, rapes you.

Your wife sells the house at a lower price and moves to Jefferson City, Missouri to be closer to you for the rest of your life. Unfortunately for you she meets a retired prison guard at the local old folks recreation facility and you’re forgotten. Once a year the two go to a small Missouri town where the old prison guard’s son lies in a grave covered with the everlasting plastic flowers that commemorate his time on earth. Chiseled on his handsome gravestone is a short story about how his young life was taken by a crazed neighbor who claimed he was a land thief.

C: You commit suicide! Your wife sells the property at a lower price, travels to Europe on the proceeds, meets a young handsome Italian lover whom she has always really desired and lives happily ever after, well, until she goes broke, then the romance is all over.

D. Your wife can’t take the indecision any longer so she shoots the neighbor! When the sheriff arrives she becomes psychologically disoriented and runs down the street naked with you trying to catch her. The sheriff shoots at her but wounds you. The sheriff takes the wife away in a straight jacket. You’re both analyzed and sent to the nut house. After being declared sane enough to stand trial the two of you are tried and sentenced for murder. Meanwhile the encroaching neighbor’s wife has contacted an attorney and sues for the remainder of your assets. She wins!

Ah yes! Missouri is right here waiting for you! Buy now and enjoy!

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