Brittany and James Campbell are “lucky to be alive” after a terrifying encounter with a stranger who was secretly living in their home, listening their private conversations, for weeks.
The parents of two young kids first realised something was wrong when they returned home from a week-long holiday.
James, 36, went to open the front door, but found he couldn’t because there was a stranger on the inside, pulling it closed.
“There is a man peeking through the door. He’s trying to hold it shut and the man says, “this is not your house” just very calmly,” James told new true crime show, Phrogging: Hider in My House.
“We notice he’s wearing my clothes. Things are getting crazier by the moment.”
Brittany and James Campbell discovered a stranger living in their home
Stranger planned to perform surgery on the family
While Brittany called police, James grabbed a sledgehammer for protection and managed to get the man outside where he was arrested shortly after.
But once they got inside, they realised their two-storey Honolulu home had been completely trashed.
The man, later identified as Ezequiel Zayas, 23, had left disturbing notes around the home, saying he’d turn the family from “omnivores” to “ezequiels”.
“This is when we realised this person had been in our home a lot longer,” Brittany told The New York Post.
There were also knives laid out next to their bed as if he was preparing for an operation.
“It was strange and he wrote about wanting to perform surgeries on us and transform us and stuff like that,” Brittany said.
“He wanted to play doctor on us — and not in the cute little kid way. (He wrote about) how he could make us into perfect people.”
Intruder had been hiding in their home for weeks
Thinking back, the family realised strange things had been happening in their home for months, including doors being left open or their computer webcam turning on in the middle of the night.
Brittany also found a video the intruder had recorded on her computer, appearing to be naked, sitting in her office chair.
In one of his journal entries, he had also written about Brittany undergoing fertility treatment, even though the family hadn’t told anyone else about it.
It’s still not known how the intruder managed to enter the home undetected or exactly how long he was there.
The intruder Ezequiel Zayas was charged with burglary.
“This intruder uprooted our entire lives”
Terrifyingly, the Campbells aren’t alone. The shocking encounter, known as “phrogging”, is where a stranger sneaks into someone’s house and lives there unseen for weeks or months on end.
“This is an incident that has really affected us psychologically as a family. It’s uprooted our entire lives,” Brittany said.
“Recovering from this has been really difficult.”
Ezequiel Zayas was charged with burglary and let out while awaiting trial, before being arrested on another charge.
While in jail, he was then alleged to have killed another inmate, but was later declared “unfit” to proceed with the trial. According to court records, he is currently in a Hawaii hospital awaiting trial.