- Katarina Garcia
OUR SCARY ENCOUNTER WITH A SEX OFFENDER
Updated: Apr 4, 2020
I come from a family of worriers. My dad’s side is very much reluctant to venture out and try new things. They were adamantly against me studying abroad, but I still did it anyway. At 19, I flew to Vegas with a friend I had met off the internet and we had a blast, but I never once told my dad about this trip. I am not like my dad’s side. I am more like my mother. I like to take risks and go on adventures. And I’ll admit, sometimes I’m a little too ballsy. But so far, I’ve made it out alive every time. It wasn’t until recently that I ever feared for my safety and the safety of my family. This incident has since encouraged me to be more cautious, especially now that I’m a mother.
When we first had our son, Maxon, we had been living in a townhome near the university we were attending. It was a cute apartment complex, but one thing it lacked was gating. Our townhome was directly off a pretty busy road with a lot of foot traffic as well. We had woken up to car accidents multiple times, and my husband’s car got sideswiped by a hit and run driver on one occasion. But other than the crazy drivers, we really liked our apartment complex. That was until the lack of gating became an issue.
In the beginning of my postpartum depression journey, I would get horrible dreams that were supposedly a side effect of my anti-depressants. On this particular night, I awoke from a nightmare where an intruder had broken in and was holding us at gunpoint. I was terrified but relieved to have woken up to find it was just a dream. I told my husband about the dream and we just shrugged it off like we always do. Well later in the day as I was feeding Maxon near the window of the first-floor, I noticed a man walking outside awfully close to our window. The sidewalk was a few yards away, but for some reason, this guy was right up close to the bushes by the window. We ended up locking eyes as he was walking by and it was kind of strange, because he didn’t turn away or anything when I saw him. He just kept staring. I thought it was weird but nothing more than that and continued on with our day.
When Mike got home, I told him about the strange man, but not because I was fearful, but because I thought it was quite funny. We laugh it off and I prepare dinner that night for the family and Mike’s dad who ends up joining us. We have a nice meal and everything is normal as usual. We say our goodbyes to Mike’s dad and he leaves not too long after dinner. Mike stays in the living room on his phone while I go to the bedroom and sit down in our tub chair with the blinds open. Shortly after Mike’s dad leaves, we hear a heavy knock at the door. I am honestly just being lazy at this point, so I beg Mike to get up and get the door. And boy did we get lucky when he did. Mike opens the door thinking it’s his dad who forgot something, but there’s a strange man at the door. He stutters a little and asks Mike, “Uh, Is Sam home?” Mike tells him no one by that name lives here and the man leaves. As soon as he leaves, Mike quickly asks me if that’s the strange man. I didn’t even think to connect the dots, but when I look out the window, my blood goes cold as I realize it is the same man. I hadn’t seen him for HOURS. I start to try to rationalize the whole ordeal and tell Mike maybe he really is looking for his friend, Sam. Mike decides to go door by door on this side of the complex to see if there is a Sam living in any of the townhomes. Sure enough, there is not. So then we start warning the college girls who live next to us to be careful.
As we’re talking to our neighbors, a man who lives behind us asks us if we’ve seen anything strange today. We tell him about the man who knocked on our door and he starts to fill in some gaps for us. Apparently that whole day he was terrorizing girls at our complex. He was just acting strange and hiding behind posts like he was on drugs or something. Neighbor Guy seems real concerned since he has kids of his own and decides he’s going to try to find the guy himself. In the meantime, we go inside and make a call to the police to report this suspicious activity. The cops tell us they’re going to be sending someone by soon, but to use caution in the meantime. My husband decides to go find Neighbor Guy and tag along in his search. When they come back to check in at our townhome, I notice Neighbor Guy has a gun. He’s definitely not playing around. As we’re trying to figure out our next move, I see the silhouette of a large man coming out of the apartment complex across the street, and as my vision focuses, I realize it’s him. I immediately direct Neighbor Guy, who’s on the phone at this point, to the guy across the street. He quickly tells his wife, “I got eyes. I got eyes. I gotta go.” He runs off chasing the guy into an alley, but my husband stays behind. We do have a newborn after all. At this point we’re unsure of what’s happened, until Neighbor Guy comes back looking all defeated. Apparently this guy outran him and he lost him. The creep is nowhere to be found. We’re all upset by the whole thing and when the cops arrive, they just tell us they’ll “keep an eye out.”
We figure there’s not much more we can do, so we try to relax and get some rest. About an hour passes and we decide to check in with Neighbor Guy. Apparently we had missed the whole ordeal. The cops were surveilling the area when they found the creep digging through a bag he had placed in someone’s back patio. As it would turn out, it was our patio the creep had hid something in. What was in the bag, Neighbor Guy didn’t know. The cops apparently couldn’t arrest him, but told him if he ever comes back to the complex, he’ll get arrested.
For all we know, it could have been duct tape and rope in the bag, or worse. Who knows, honestly? I spent the whole night rethinking the whole ordeal. Had he been watching me all day? When he saw me sitting by the window after dinner, did he think it would be me who opened the door? What would have happened if I had opened the door instead of Mike? And then it all dawned on me. It was just like my dream. The creep matched the man in my dream to a T. Same race, same stature, same everything! It was a scary coincidence. I often wonder if us moms get some superhero powers after giving birth that help us protect our family. That’s the only way I can explain this strange synchronicity.
By the next day, the whole complex has been made aware of the creep. While picking up a package from the front office, the leasing consultant tells me the police looked into his file and it turns out this man was registered as a sex offender and has a history of revealing himself to women. Who knows if that was his intention that night, or even worse? We are pretty shaken up by the whole situation and Mike insists he wants to buy me a gun, but we end up changing our minds being that we have a little one in the house. Instead, we take added measures to ensure our safety like making sure to keep the blinds closed and doors deadbolted. We stayed in that townhome only a few more months and then moved into a gated community. Months into our new apartment, we get a call from our old complex and they want a description of the creep because he’s returned again to terrorize residents. We feel helpless for our old neighbors and hope our description helps in some way but have no idea what came out of the whole situation. We can only hope this guy was found and locked up or at least given a restraining order. Now that a sex offender has come this close to invading our home, I am definitely more cautious when it comes to going places alone with my son. I refuse to live in fear, but I’ll be damned if I ever let anyone hurt my son or my family. You don’t mess with a momma bear.