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11News Investigates Vacant House Occupied

Betty says, "Hi Joel, it's Betty Sexton.
Hi I'm Betty Sexton with KKTV.
You're Joel?"

"Yes."

This two-story home in Monument once listed for more than a million dollars.
It's been on and off the market for four years after the owners had to move out of state.

They say they were surprised when they got a call from a realtor.

Erick Waggoner tells us, "To get a phone call that says, "Hey Erick, someone's in your house is unbelievable."

The Waggoners say the man who moved his family of six into their home is Joel Riddle.

We knocked on the door and Joel answered.

Betty asks, "I'm wondering why are you living here free?"

Joel answers, "The owner at one time asked me to send him money because he told me the house was... He was putting it into foreclosure."

But the Waggoners say that's not true.

They say Joel and his wife, Sharon signed this contract to buy their home last July.

That's when they kicked out their long term tenants who had been renting for three years. But the deal to sell never went through.

Joel explains, "The transaction fell out of happening."

Betty asks, "And it fell out of happening because you didn't have the money or what happened?"

Joel says, "Because a deal didn't close."

The Waggoners say they quickly put the house back on the market, but then they learned the Riddles had moved in.

Joel has a different story. He says the Waggoners were letting his family stay there as they tried work out a deal.

Betty says, "If you have some proof I'd love to see it."

Joel replies, "I would imagine I could come up with some emails and I'll be glad to send those to you."

We're still waiting for those emails.

Meanwhile, we called the El Paso County Sheriff's Office.
A sergeant paid Joel a visit and prepared a report for criminal tresspass.
It's now up the district attorney's office to decide if charges should be filed.

Lt. Jeff Kramer says, "It's not something that we've seen. Again it's the first time I've heard of an event like this and I've been investigating with this office for about 16 years."

Laura Kirkham-Waggoner told us, "It's consuming. It's draining. Nobody has time to spend, you know, emotional time working on something like this.

Joel told Betty and the sheriff's office he'd start moving out this weekend. We'll keep you posted.

Lt. Kramer says if you own vacant property and move out of town it's important to have someone keep a close eye on it.


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