CHICAGO (CBS) – A Benton Harbor woman says police won’t help her remove a squatter and convicted sex offender who moved in after she gave him permission to do some cleaning in her rental property.
Renae Head called CBS 2 Investigators for help.
“It’s my house,” Head said.
She owns the rental property and pays the taxes, but Demetrius Howard had claimed it, she says.
The rental property is right next door to her home. Head says Howard moved in a month ago after she met him at church where he played the organ, so she hired him.
“I gave him permissions to clean the house, not live there,” Head said.
Text messages between the two show Head telling Howard “I can’t rent the house” and begging him to leave. His response: “Let’s go to court.”
“It’s a nightmare. I can’t sleep,” she said.
When Howard refused to leave, Head called police.
According to the police report, Howard showed the officer his driver’s license with Head’s address.
“And he had mail coming here,” Head said.
Howard also gave Head’s address when he registered as a sex offender, which was news to her.
“I started crying,” she said. “I said, ‘No, you can’t stay here. I have children around here.’”
Head said she tried to tell police Howard didn’t have a lease, but he argued they had a verbal agreement, and Head’s goddaughter Hope Campbell said police refused to look at the text messages.
“Police didn’t want to hear it,” Campbell said. “They say he had ID saying he lives here, and if you want him out you have to go to court and evict him.”
“I say he’s a squatter,” Head said. “They’re treating him like a tenant.”
“I want people to know who this person was and what he was doing because I don’t want anyone else to be a victim to this,” Campbell said.
Howard told CBS 2 Investigators he has a right to live in the house but admits he doesn’t have any physical proof. He said he has a verbal agreement and pays Head $350 a month in cash.
Head denies that.
CBS 2 reached out to the Benton Harbor Police, who promise to reevaluate Head’s case.