Homeowners Fight To Get House Back From A Squatter After Months-Long ‘Hostage’ Situation


Jessica and Colin Davis couldn’t have been more excited about their first house: it was a peaceful four-bedroom with a pool located in Rowlett, Texas, about 20 miles outside of Dallas. However, the couple decided to move to Florida six months later because Jessica received a job offer from the Sunshine State.

Since they didn’t want to sell the property, they used the Zillow rental program to find a tenant, who introduced herself to them as Rayes Ruybal.

The platform had, apparently, taken care of running the background checks to ensure everything was above board. “They identified her, they verified her, her records came out clean,” said Jessica Davis.

Image credits: CBS TEXAS

The renter’s initial Zillow message came in under the name “Heather Schwab,” but the woman clarified that it was a friend’s account she was using.

Once the deal was closed, Ruybal asked Davis if she could move in with her 17-year-old son a few days earlier than expected, explaining that a half-naked woman’s body had been found near their hotel, so they wanted to leave the area.

The homeowner, a mother herself, agreed to hand in the keys earlier on, since the deposit and first month of rent payments showed as pending online.

A few days later, however, the checks bounced. As it turns out, the payments had been made from a closed account, the bank informed Davis.

The couple placed their trust on the Zillow rental program to lease out their four-bedroom property

Image credits: CBS TEXAS

After the payments started failing, Davis noticed that the woman had not only stopped answering her calls but also locked all the entries to the house and dismantled the garage door.

This is when Davis began digging into the mysterious tenant. 

First, she found information about Rayes Ruybal. “The only name that I could come up with was a 72-year-old individual,” she said.

But the landlord continued her investigation. Upon investigating the phone numbers she used to contact the woman, she found a connection between the names of Ruybal and Schwab. 

Eventually, she discovered that Schwab was Ruybal’s daughter. She then found CBS News Texas reports from 2017 and 2018 linking Heather Schwab, along with her husband William, to arrests and convictions in connection to serial squatting in Adams County, Colorado.

Schwab asked Davis to move in a few days early, saying that a dead body had been found near her hotel

Image credits: CBS TEXAS

Image credits: CBS TEXAS

Some of the aliases they had used during previous squatting incidents were “Jenkins,” “Rayes,” and “Ruybal.”

According to CBS, Schwab was sentenced to six years in prison in 2018 for felony theft following two scams on landlords but served only 16 months before being released in 2020.

“I did the job for them,” said Davis of the Rowlett police, who she claims isn’t doing enough to help with the case. When she asked to evict Schwab, the homeowner was told it was a “civil matter,” not a criminal one.

She also stated that, upon informing the local police that the squatter was using a false identity, she was told she couldn’t report it as identity fraud given that her own identity wasn’t stolen.

Before Schwab’s arrest, she and her spouse had allegedly been involved in 20 squatting tricks in northern Texas prior to them moving to Colorado.

They started with their schemes in 2005, CBS Texas reported.

Local police told Davis that the issue was a “civil matter,” not a criminal one

Image credits: Jessica Davis

“The Rowlett CID is currently in charge of this matter and is working closely with the District Attorney’s office to address this case comprehensively,” a spokesperson from the police department told Fox News Digital. 

“While the eviction process is primarily a civil procedure, the CID is actively looking into this case to assess whether any criminal charges may be warranted based on the specific details involved.”

Squatting laws are different from state to state, with some states having complex and rigid procedures that make it difficult to evict someone.

Meanwhile, Davis has decided to take matters into her own hands.

The landlord hired a lawyer and filed a 30-day eviction notice on September 5, which means that the squatter and her son must vacate the residence by October 5.

Davis is hoping that, once Schwab is out of the property, police will be able to arrest her.

She has also had the City of Rowlett shut off the water on the house after officials found problems with “Heather Ruybal”’s application, CBS News wrote.

Colin Davis was able to enter the property through a storm door and confront the squatter

Image credits: Jessica Davis

Image credits: Jessica Davis

Image credits: Jessica Davis

Image credits: Jessica Davis

“She’s getting away with this, and nobody besides you guys want to hear about it,” Davis told the news outlet.

Colin Davis has even entered the house to confront the squatter after gaining access through a storm door. The images, shared by Fox News, show the house full of beer cans, home improvement tools, and cleaning products.

“You scared the s*** out of me,” Schwab appears to tell him after being discovered.

The serial squatter is reported to have previously abandoned her two dogs in a boarding facility

Image credits: CBS TEXAS

“They know eviction laws as well as many attorneys,” attorney Marc Girling said of the Schwabs

Image credits: CBS TEXAS

Image credits: CBS TEXAS

The man reported that blankets that were once used as blinds are now missing.

Since they are not receiving a penny from their Rowlett home, the property owners fear that they could lose the house to foreclosure. To avoid this fate, they’ve moved into a different house to save money.

Their advice to homeowners looking to lease out their properties? Conduct more background checks.

“Do what apartment buildings do. Get a copy of the Social Security number. Get a copy of the driver’s license. Get information on their car. Honest, follow all those tedious steps that apartment complexes do, because they do it for a reason.”

People sided with the Davises and demanded that justice was served


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