When homeowners recaptured a Texas home held by an alleged “serial squatter” and her teenage son, it looked like the morning after a frat party, according to images.
“They smelled urine. They smelled smoke,” homeowner Jessica Davis told Fox News Digital of what her husband and police found when they entered the home in Rowlett, Texas, on Sept. 27. “Both of the toilets are clogged with mounds of toilet paper and other seeming fluids.”
Davis said she’s pleased the squatter and her son are no longer there, but she and her family will have to spend thousands of dollars cleaning up garbage and rotten food and restoring wooden cabinets in the home’s bar that the squatter allegedly covered with paint primer.
Davis and her husband, Colin Davis, bought their first house in Rowlett, about 20 miles outside of Dallas, in December. Before Davis had to go to Florida for her job approximately six months ago, the home, which had four bedrooms, a pool, and a hot tub, was a dream for the family.
Davis previously told Fox News Digital that the pair did not want to sell the property so quickly after purchasing it and planned to rent it out for a couple of years. They advertised on Apartments.com and Zillow in search of possible tenants and ended up in a horrible scenario with a tenant who reportedly used a fictitious name to move into the residence.
Davis said she received a first message about the home from a hopeful tenant who went by the name “Heather Schwab,” but the lady later told Davis that she was using a friend’s Zillow account and that her real name was Rayes Ruybal.
According to a Zillow spokesperson, the company “strives to provide a safe online platform for renters and landlords, including connecting landlords with third-party providers who can help them thoroughly vet rental applications using credit and background checks as well as eviction histories.”
“We prohibit any user from impersonating another person or operating under false pretences; we take such behaviour seriously and do not tolerate it on our platform,” the spokesperson added.
Everything appeared to be in order with the application, and Davis permitted the mother and her 17-year-old son, who Davis claimed has autism, to move in early while the house payments were being processed. According to Davis, the payments then failed “left and right,” and the homeowners never received money from the woman.
Davis initiated her own investigation into the woman after police repeatedly told her it was a civil matter, Davis said.
She began looking up the name “Rayes Ruybal” on several background check websites and discovered that it was only affiliated with a 72-year-old guy. She also looked into the phone numbers she used to contact the woman and discovered how Heather Schwab was tied to Rayes Ruybal. Ruybal, according to the homeowner, is Schwab’s father.
Davis then looked up the name Heather Schwab and found news articles from 2018 about her arrest and subsequent conviction on felony identity theft charges stemming from suspected repeated squatting in Adams County, Colorado. She and her husband, William Schwab, were accused of renting out homes but never paying the landlords.
Schwab was sentenced to six years in jail in 2018 for defrauding two landlords in Adams County, but was freed in 2020 after serving only 16 months, according to CBS News. According to news reports from 2018, she and her spouse utilised identities such as “Jenkins,” “Rayes,” and “Ruybal” during past squatting instances.
Prosecutors labelled Schwab a “serial squatter,” and the judge who heard her case in 2018 called her offences “appalling.”
Following the finding, Davis and her husband engaged a lawyer and began submitting eviction notices, but to no avail. Local media began probing the case last month, which Davis credits with hastening the process of evicting the squatter and her son.
Davis contacted police on September 27 that her husband was going to check in on the house, and he waited for police to meet him there in case Schwab was still there and they could arrest him. Instead, photographs released to Fox News Digital reveal the residence was vacant save for trash, empty bottles of alcohol, blocked toilets, and food.
Davis stated that the city had previously turned off the water to the house after finding a mistake with Schwab’s name on the utility bill. Davis told Fox that she suspects the squatters were replacing the toilet bowls with water from the hot tub, which was nearly empty.
“The pool is also pretty low now, so they were using that water. There is rotten food everywhere,” Davis said, adding some clothes such as socks and underwear were also left in the home. “She brought in a cat when she wasn’t supposed to.”
The alleged squatter and her 17-year-old son did steal an Xbox, a TV, and inflatable mattresses that Davis’ husband noticed in the house before they left.
Davis stated that her husband noted a strong odour of cigarette smoke in the house as well as filthy rugs.
“We’re actually really scared to flush the toilets. … We can’t even have someone come in and professionally clean because we would have to get those hazmat cleaners because of all of the feces and urine,” Davis said.
The homeowner says she now has a mountain of debts to pay on top of finding new tenants or selling the house. The property was anticipated to bring in $2,850 in rent every month, plus a $300 monthly charge for weekly pool services. Davis, on the other hand, has not received any money from the woman for the three months she is owed and is facing a $1,500 water bill, power bills, legal fees, mortgage payments, and cleaning fees.
“We are probably looking close to maybe $10,000 on getting” the house cleaned and in shape for someone else to rent, Davis said.
Davis believes Schwab and her kid are still in Texas, stating that Schwab has familial ties in the state.
Davis expressed her hope that Schwab would be arrested and that she would sue her in small claims court for the money owed. The homeowner, however, claims she cannot afford to take Schwab to court and has set up a GoFundMe campaign to help with current expenditures.
She complained that city administrators seemed uninterested in her situation early this year until the media reported on it last month.
“It was a brick wall. If the news media didn’t contact the City of Rowlett to tell them, ‘Hey, you need to look at this house,’ I feel like the cops still would have ignored it,” she said, adding she believes the squatter using a false identity on the city water bill also flagged authorities to act quickly.
Davis is seeking for changes to “squatter rights” rules so that police may intervene immediately and not claim a “civil” issue.
“Squatters should not have rights. Anybody who goes into a house illegally or does not pay rent purposely, they should have no rights,” Davis told Fox News Digital.
A spokesperson for the Rowlett Police Department said Tuesday it “appears that she has vacated the property. The criminal investigation is still open and ongoing.”
Fox News Digital previously called a number Davis claimed she used to contact Schwab, but the lady who answered denied knowing anyone by that name or being Schwab.