Stranger secretly lived with us

It was the bike sitting outdoors that tipped off Brittany and James Campbell that one thing was amiss.

The couple and their two younger sons had been away from their Honolulu dwelling for a few week. They returned dwelling on September 20, 2019, to search out one thing horrible.

James went to open his dwelling’s entrance door, however discovered he couldn’t. A stranger was inside, pulling it closed.

“There’s a man peeking by means of the door. He’s making an attempt to carry it shut and the person says, ‘this isn’t your own home’ simply very calmly,” James, 36 and who’s within the US Navy, remembers within the new Lifetime true crime present, “Phrogging: Hider in My Home.” “I’m simply floored.”

The present, which premieres July 18, examines the crime generally known as “phrogging,” wherein a stranger sneaks into somebody’s house and secretly lives there for days, weeks and even months. The primary half of the collection’ premiere focuses on the Campbells’ harrowing ordeal.

“They’re fortunate to be alive, frankly,” Jessica Everleth, the present’s govt producer, instructed The Put up.

A man has been accused of living in James and Brittany Campbells' home while they were away.
A person has been accused of residing in James and Brittany Campbells’ dwelling whereas they have been away.
KHON2/ Lifetime
James and Brittany Campbell
James and Brittany Campbell have been newlyweds and residing in a typical suburban neighborhood in Honolulu when a person allegedly lived of their dwelling, noticed them and detailed surgical procedures he needed to carry out on them in a journal. Their ordeal is featured in a brand new Lifetime present, “Phrogging: Hider in My Home.”
credit score: Lifetime

James grabbed a sledgehammer for defense and managed to get the person out of the home whereas Brittany known as 911. As soon as the intruder was within the entrance yard, James says, “We discover he’s carrying my garments. Issues are getting crazier by the second.”

The police arrived and arrested the person, a 23-year-old named Ezequiel Zayas, KHON2 reported. However, after he was hauled away, the nightmare was simply starting.

The within of their dwelling was in utter chaos. Pots and pans have been piled on prime of one another. In the lounge, James’ musical tools had all been taken out. Their bed room was in full disarray.

It was “simply trashed,” Brittany, 37 and a stay-at-home mother, instructed The Put up.

James and Brittany Campbell
James and Brittany Campbell knew one another in highschool after which reconnected afterward when James was a single father with two sons. They married in 2018, in keeping with “Phrogging: Hider in My Home.”
credit score: Lifetime

What they discovered subsequent was rather more upsetting.

Somebody had used one in all their outdated laptops to document disturbing diary entries and particulars concerning the household.

“There [were] all these typed notes known as ‘The Omnivore Trials: A rehabilitation for Ratlike folks’,” James says on the present.

“That is after we realized this particular person had been in our dwelling quite a bit longer,” Brittany instructed The Put up.

Brittany seen knives that had been laid out subsequent to the pc. And he or she discovered a typed “manifesto” about grotesque plans for the Campbells — together with surgical procedures resembling “sexual reconstruction” and a “hand transplant.”

“He needed to play physician on us — and never within the cute little child approach,” Brittany stated. “[He wrote about] how he may make us into excellent folks.”

The Campbells' home after a man allegedly lived there while they were away.
The Campbells’ dwelling, above in nonetheless from a KHON2 report, after a person allegedly lived there whereas they have been away.
The Campbells' kitchen.
The Campbells’ kitchen.

She additionally discovered a video that the intruder had made on her laptop, apparently whereas within the nude.

“This man had been sitting bare in my chair — that’s disgusting,” she says on the collection. “I simply felt terror.”

All of the sudden the household regarded unusual occurrences within the dwelling in latest months — a pc’s webcam turning on in the midst of the evening, doorways that have been left open or unlocked, the canine barking — with recent horror. Such is commonly the case with phrogging victims.

“It begins out slowly — issues go lacking,” stated Everleth, including that persons are extra apt to imagine they’re residing with a ghost than a long-term trespasser. “You assume it’s an city delusion, nevertheless it’s extra widespread than you assume.”

"Phrogging" — the act of sneaking into someone’s space and secretly living there — is examined in a new Lifetime show.
“Phrogging” — the act of sneaking into somebody’s house and secretly residing there — is examined in a brand new Lifetime present.

Mysterious origins

The time period phrogging, which is alleged to originate from frogs leaping from place to position and is pronounced “frogging,” has solely been coined lately. However the crime itself has been occurring for many years.

A&E’s true crime weblog notes a 1986 case wherein Daniel LaPlante, 17, discovered a hiding spot within the dwelling of Tina Bowen, a teen with whom he was obsessed. LaPlante taunted the household by doing issues resembling consuming leftover milk, which escalated to taking Tina and different members of her household hostage, in keeping with the weblog. Tina finally escaped and known as for assist.

“[Sometimes a phrogger] has parasitic attachment to the house owner or dwelling itself. It’s terrifying,” Everleth stated.

Not like squatters, who search for empty, deserted spots, phroggers aren’t deterred by occupants. It takes till the second the proprietor or renter sees one thing resembling a hand or footprint, comes head to head with the intruder or catches them on some type of surveillance digicam to determine what’s going on.

It’s nonetheless unclear how Zayas bought into the Campbells’ two story home or how lengthy he lurked there. However the journal talked about very private particulars about them, resembling the truth that Brittany was present process fertility therapies, which the couple hadn’t shared with anybody.

“The strangest factor is that he knew medical details about us,” she instructed The Put up. “It’s actually weird.”

Ezequiel Zayas
Ezequiel Zayas has been charged with housebreaking and homicide within the first and second levels.

Crimes and punishment

After his arrest, Zayas was charged with housebreaking and launched. Shortly after, he was arrested once more, this time for allegedly vandalizing a Buddhist temple.

In 2020, whereas in a correctional facility for that crime, Zayas allegedly killed a fellow inmate, 62-year-old Vance J. Grace.

He was charged with homicide within the first and second levels within the fall of 2020 and pleaded not responsible. The person was “discovered unfit to proceed” and is at present on the Hawaii State Hospital, in keeping with court docket data, awaiting trial.

The Campbells, in the meantime, are nonetheless recovering from the unusual, harrowing ordeal and have since moved out of their Honolulu home and away from Hawaii.

“That is an incident that has actually affected us psychologically as a household. It’s uprooted our complete lives,” Brittany says. “Recovering from this has been actually tough.”

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