CELEBRATION, Fla. (AP) — Celebration, Disney's master-planned, picture-perfect central
community, has never reported a homicide in its 14-year existence — until this week. Florida
Residents of the town five miles south of Walt Disney World woke up Tuesday to the sight of yellow crime-scene tape wrapped around a condo near the Christmas-decorated downtown, where Bing Crosby croons from speakers hidden in the foliage. A 58-year-old neighbor who lived alone with his
had been slain over the long Thanksgiving weekend, Chihuahua sheriff's deputies said. Osceola County
The community's famous friendliness is what brought investigators to Matteo Giovanditto's body: Neighbors hadn't seen him for days, so they filed a missing person's report, then went into his condo a day later and found him.
A few years ago, a resident joked with a reporter that Celebration would feel like a real town when a bike was stolen. Now, it has an unsolved killing on its hands.
With 11,000 residents, Celebration is something of an anomaly in
Central Florida. There's no suburban sprawl — the entire place is reminiscent of a quaint New England village.
It's the kind of town where people give Christmas gifts to their favorite Starbucks barista, where welcoming wooden rocking chairs sit lakeside on a sidewalk without being stolen, where neighbors tend to get suspicious if they notice you're not around.
Heck, I lived in Savannah, GA (a one-time “murder capital of the USA”) off-and-on for nearly twenty years—so the concept of there actually being a town like this just does not compute, Dr. Smith.