CLEMMONS — Residents of the 2700 block of Knob Hill Drive said Monday that their neighborhood normally is quiet.
There had been rumors for years about Pazuzu Illah Algarad and Amber Nicole Burch, the young couple who lived at 2749 Knob Hill Drive — whispers of Satanic rituals, animal sacrifices and drug activity, but nothing the neighbors could document.
However, things had been quiet at the simple brick house in recent years. Immediate neighbors said the residents, which included Algarad’s mother, had been nice to them, and that they did not see them that often.
But on Sunday morning, officers executed a search warrant at the house and started digging up the backyard. They found skeletal remains of two unidentified individuals buried in shallow graves, and Algarad and Burch were arrested on murder charges.
“It was a big shock,” said Keith Bryson, who lives across the street with his wife and two young kids.
Several neighbors stopped by his house to chat on Monday, watching as officers continued to search the house across the road.
“They’re shaken up. They’re scared,” Bryson said. “I’ve tried to put everyone at ease.”
A steady stream of cars passed slowly down the road, and neighbors guessed that many of them were just onlookers curious about the investigation. The front yard of 2749 Knob Hill Drive and a neighboring yard were lined with law-enforcement vehicles and television station vans.
Many of the neighbors have lived there for decades and can remember when Knob Hill Drive was just a simple dead-end road. Now it branches into several developments, not far from West Forsyth High School.
“It’s just a quiet little neighborhood. Everybody stays to themselves,” said Linda Culler, who has lived there for 48 years.
Her house is next door to the one under investigation. Culler has mown the family’s front yard for the past few years. Culler said Algarad’s mom would come over to pay her, but she has not talked to Algarad in the past few years.
Culler said she has been inside the house one time, many years ago. She said Algarad had a “devil type” drawing, but she chalked it up to something a kid or teenager would do. Culler described Algarad as “a little weird,” but she said he has always been polite.
“They’ve been nice to me,” Culler said.
On Monday afternoon, officers could be seen sorting through belongings in the driveway next door.
“I never suspected anything like that,” Culler said.
Lauren Hurst has lived across the street for about 20 years and describes the neighborhood as “awesome.” She said the recent investigation is “the exception to the rule.”
Hurst said the couple helped her family put up a mailbox one time, and the Hursts gave them some firewood and let them use their phone sometimes.
“We were kind to them, and they were kind to us,” Hurst said.
Hurst said there was a lot of hearsay about the couple, but she said she decided a while back that she was not going to give up hope that they would turn their lives around.
Neighbors were aware that Algarad had been connected to a shooting death a few years ago. He is on probation for a 2012 conviction of accessory after the fact in connection with the shooting death of Joseph Emmrick Chandler. Nicholas Pasquale Rizzi of Lewisville was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in that case.
Before that it wasn’t unusual to see a lot of people coming and going at Algarad’s house, Bryson said, and he had to call the police a few times when things got out of hand. But things have been quiet since Algarad’s conviction, he said.
Bryson said the couple came over and talked a few times, and Bryson’s family even invited them to church. The recent development is disturbing, he said.
“How did we not know there were bodies buried across the road?” Bryson said.
Carol Spears lives a few houses down from the couple, where she has been for about 30 years. Spears said that officers had visited the house in the past.
Spears said there was talk about drug activity taking place at the house, as well as Satan worship and animal sacrifices, but Spears said she could not back any of that up.
Spears said people were “very shocked” when details of the new investigation began to surface.
“I think we expected to hear that they found animal remains more than human remains,” Spears said.