By Ashleigh / Dec 30, 2022
She attempted to shrink as much as she could and prayed that he wouldn’t try to open the door while her eyes were wide and she was staring at it. She went in front of her niece, who was hiding behind the toilet, and attempted to brace herself for the impending doom because she knew he would eventually find them.
A reassuring shape then felt like it was pressing on her leg. She was completely unaware of what was hidden in her pocket.
Despite being assigned a significant duty, Savanna Jones never anticipated the impossible to occur. The 14-year-old was given the opportunity to demonstrate that she was mature enough to watch over her 4-year-old niece, Zoyee, by her older sister.
She encountered a circumstance that few would be able to face while they were inside the family home, though.
Although Savanna’s mother, Marie, was initially hesitant about letting her watch the children, she soon gave in because she knew how eager Savanna was to impress her big sister. Savanna was dropped off at her sister’s house, but as she backed out of the driveway, she experienced a strange feeling.
Although she was confident in her daughter, she was still worried. And a mother’s intuition is usually right.
She Had Her Doubts
After giving her niece a hug and giving her sister a list of emergency contacts, Savanna kissed tiny Zoyee goodbye. Zoyee eagerly grabbed her toys out of the toybox in the living room when Savanna asked her to show her her collection.
The two then sat on the couch together to watch a Disney film. In this calm area of Montclair, California, surely nothing would occur?
Around 3:30 PM, something strange happened. While singing along to “Frozen,” Savanna and Zoyee heard a knock at the door. In order to find out who it was, she switched the TV off and walked to the door.
Who could be at the door when she didn’t anticipate Maria returning for several hours? Was a delivery planned by her sister? However, she realized there was a serious problem when she peered through the peephole.
A Strange Feeling
A man was standing at the door. Savanna couldn’t see his face well because he was wearing a hat, but she had the feeling that something wasn’t quite right about him. He didn’t look like a salesman, but she didn’t recognize him either.
He most certainly wasn’t an official, either. What did he want, then? Savanna snuck away from the door in silence, hoping that if she ignored him, he would leave. But she was terribly wrong.
Trying To Get In
After a while, the man stopped knocking on the door after continuing to do so for several minutes. Savanna exhaled in relief, but it was fleeting. The doorknob started to rattle, much to her horror.
The man wanted to enter, whoever he was! The door was fortunately secured. The knocking then started up again, but this time it was harder.
Savanna’s chest was thumping from her racing heart. She was confident the man would enter if he desired to. What was she to do? They were in a pickle. The man was about to smash through the door any second. She had to act quickly.
She snatched Zoyee and dashed to the main bedroom down the hall. Would the girls be protected there, though?
Her Only Option
Savanna took a calculated look around. There was a door in the bedroom, but where was the key? She lacked the time to look for it. She searched for a spot to hide, afraid and in a state of panic. She then noticed the master bathroom.
She grabbed her niece and sprinted inside without stopping, shutting and locking the door behind her. The sound that followed made her blood start to chill.
He Got Inside
Emboldened, the man decided not to wait to enter. As he smashed down the front door, Savanna overheard the horrifying sound of wood splintering. She gathered her courage and informed Zoyee that they were merely playing a game, but she was unable to control her shaking voice.
She said that Zoyee ought to remain as silent as possible. They were unable to make noise.
Find A Hiding Place
Savanna could hear the man inside the house now, stomping around. Then, she heard his heavy footsteps walking through the hallway and enter the master bedroom.
She told Zoyee to hide behind the toilet and she crouched in front of her, readying herself. She was going to make sure that nothing happened to her niece.
As they crouched in silence, Savanna knew that it was only a matter of time before the man found them. What could she do? Her eyes stared at the bathroom door like a frightened animal as she braced herself for the worst.
But what was this? Just then, she became aware of something in her pocket, pressing into her thigh.
Savanna slid her phone out of her pocket. How could she have forgotten that she had it? Now, she could get help! But would help come in time?
She frantically texted her mother with shaking fingers, but autocorrect made the first message unintelligible. After sending “I’m baby,” she tried again. “He is inside mom he’s gonna hear me,” she wrote.
While she was waiting for her mom’s reply, she could hear the man walking around the house, opening doors and rifling through cupboards. When Maria finally read her daughter’s message, a chill went down her spine.
But she was too far away to do anything, and emergency services would take too long. But she knew she had to do something.
Meanwhile, the girls waited in silence. They could hear the man ransacking the house, but Savanna prayed that he wouldn’t try to get into the bathroom.
“I kept staring at the door and hoping he wouldn’t try to open it,” she said. Then, after what felt like hours, she got a text back from her mom.
Someone Find Us
Maria had called a neighbor, and it wasn’t long after that Savanna heard another man’s voice echoing through the house. Relief washed over her in waves as she heard the intruder, spooked, begin to scramble.
He sprinted down the hall and pushed past the neighbor before disappearing out of sight. Soon after, the police arrived on the scene.
Thankfully, the man had only ransacked two rooms in the house, and everyone was grateful that he hadn’t found the girls hiding in the bathroom. Montclair police officers, including a K-9 officer, conducted an extensive search for the home invader.
But, despite his scent being on just about everything, the man had escaped. Then, Maria and Savanna’s sister arrived on the scene.
Obviously, Savanna’s mom and sister were extremely proud of how she had taken control of the situation. “She was very smart and brave,” said her sister Yesenia Barragan. “She did everything right.”
But Savanna, understandably, has mixed feelings about the situation. Her main concern is that the man was never caught and is still out there.
More Aware Now
Today, Savannah Jones is working with her family to process what happened that fateful day. She says that she is still experiencing a range of emotions. “Relief, and then knowing that he’s still out there, I don’t know, scary,” she told a local news station.
She described the intruder to the police and the investigation is still ongoing.
On The Hunt
The police in the Montclair area are still looking for him though, and are confident he won’t go back to the Jones house anytime soon. Savannah’s story is a valuable lesson for any young babysitter who is left alone in a house.
Always keep your phone with you, never engage a home invader, and remain calm so that you can come up with the best way to keep you and your charges safe.
A Lesson Learned
This story is a real-life example. We can learn so much from the actions of Savannah. Although she is just a teenager, she showed much bravery and calm amidst a terrifying situation. She set a good example for Zoyee who didn’t know what was going on.
It is imperative that children know what to do in situations like this. Adults need to ensure that they equip children with the necessary tools to deal with problems. For example, using a cell phone to call an adult in a time of emergency, like what Savannah did.
Most of us remember being taught about “Stranger Danger” when we were in Elementary School. Usually, a policeman or fireman would come to give us a talk on how to be extra vigilant about thieves or ‘bad guys. It’s so important to instill this kind of education in our children as we are living in dangerous times.
Savannah and Zoyee were having a good time together in the safety of their home. Maria did not at all guess that this would happen to her niece, especially in such a well-known suburb.
The schools organizing these safety events to teach children should be done on regular basis. This form of teaching uses plays and colorful props to teach important lessons to young children. The music and fun by the instructors make them life-saving and remember the rules they need to know.
“Edu-Tainment” seems to be the best way to educate kids today as they all have cell phones. This teaches them that their cell phones are also important tools for communication and safety, not just social media.
It was this quick thinking that saved the young girl’s life. Being able to use a device for the right purpose can literally save your life one day. This is also a reminder to constantly check your phone if you do have a young child.
In life, mistakes are bound to happen, which is why we need to take extra precautions in our homes. Parents need to double-check that all doors and windows are locked before leaving the property. And if they can afford it, get an alarm system and sensors on all doors and windows to notify them if one is broken by an intruder.
Situations like these force parents to think about alternative options for their child’s protection. After taking the necessary precautions like alarms, and even guard dogs, what else is there? Well, self-defense of course.
It is never too early to teach your child how to defend themselves. There are many exercises and sports that they can participate in to help the practice how to fight and protect themselves.
It may be a good idea for some parents to consider registering for self-defense classes. Many of these come in Parent-Child packages which makes it a bonding activity for the family. The most common self-defense activities are sports such as boxing and wrestling and many more such as the eastern disciplines of Karate, Taekwondo, Tai Chi, and Yoga.
These disciplines bring balance and coordination to the body and mind. Even practicing at a young age helps the child to have balance and focus. Being calm in a dangerous situation can literally save your life, as it did Savannah and Zoyee.
Maria definitely learned her lesson from this experience. The police were still on the lookout for the suspect, but he was never caught because of little evidence.
This made Maria take extra precautions to protect the girls and vowed never to leave them alone again. She was still living in fear after the incident and was scared to leave the house.
Although the incident was still fresh in the girl’s minds, they tried to be strong. Maria explained to them what happened and they understood the danger that lurks in the world. But will they ever recover from this emotional scarring?
Maria tried to spend more time with them. She started doing karate with them at home so they could learn how to use their bodies in defense. The girls enjoyed it and particpated with enthusiasm.
The local news reporter covered the story. Soon, Savannah and Zoyye were local heroes because of their bravery. This inspired many other ladies in the neighborhood to speak out about violence against women and children. It was clearly a sore subject.
Together the ladies decided to start a Neighbourhood Protection Group to keep each other aware of the surroundings. They had Group chat where they would share information about anything strange in the neighborhood. The new group brought about a sense of camaraderie in all the neighbors.
Savannah and Zoyee enjoyed being local celebrities for a while. It gave them a chance to share their story and inspire other girls to be brave. They had almost forgotten about the horrible incident with all the attention.
Across town, unbeknown to anyone, a wanted man was looking at their picture in the newspaper. He stared in shock, his crooked mouth turned in a grimace. He was thinking about his unfinished business and he never left a job undone.
To protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events, places, or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.