Ronald Stan faked his own death 37 years ago, but now he’s been caught and it left three families shattered
Last month, Debra Proctor received a phone call at her work that turned everything she believed into a lie. A police officer told her that the man she was married to and had lived with for more than 16 years had committed ‘unimaginable deceit and betrayal’, her husband was a bigamist.
Her husband Jeffrey Walton, 69, was really Ronald Stan. The officer proceeded to tell her a story, complete with dates and proof, that could have been ripped from the pages of a best seller. Her husband had faked his own death after a blaze at a barn in Ontario, Canada, in 1977. He abandoned his wife and two young children. He crossed the border to the United States and was declared legally dead in 1986.
Using his new identity, he married twice – deceiving both women and luring them into bigamous marriages – and had another son, now 36. His story has drawn comparisons with the fictional Don Draper character in the hit TV series ‘Mad Men’. In the series, set in the world of New York advertising, Draper, played by Jon Hamm, assumes the identity of another man. He marries and has two children while hiding his true identity all the time.
Friends said Walton sat down with his stunned wife and made a full confession. Heartbroken, angry and confused, Debra spoke with family members about what to do. Less than two weeks after discovering her husband had a wife and two children who he had abandoned in Canada she filed for divorce.
The two-page document filed with the district court for Cherokee County reveals that Walton left the marriage with virtually nothing – except the clothes he was standing up in. He had little cause for counter-argument.
At least this awful man was left with exactly what he deserved, NOTHING!