Florida Teens at Ranch Awoken by Male Camp Employee Standing Over One of Them: Report
A man was seen on video fleeing from the cabin of three teens when their fathers approached after the girls called for help.
Three Florida teens were asleep in a Lake Wales cabin during a father-daughter retreat, Indian Princess, when one awoke to find a man standing over her around 4 a.m., according to a published report.
One of the young girls, whose name has not released, woke up her cabin-mates and they turned on their phone flashlights, according to court documents.
The incident was captured on video, and shows the frightened 13 and 14-year-olds whispering after discovering the man in their cabin, according to Local 10 News.
One of the girls immediately called her father, and the man hid under the bed, according to the outlet.
The teen who first called her father decided to record the incident on her phone in case she was killed so people would know what happened, according to the outlet.
The girls waited for their fathers to arrive from their cabins across the ranch, calling them for a second time, according to Local 10.
“I’m scared,” the teen said on the recording. “My hands are shaking.”
“Is the front door unlocked?” the father asked on the video.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah, there … can you come in?” she said, according to the video.
When the fathers neared the cabin, the man emerged from under the bed and ran, according to Local 10.
“Dad, dad! He just left,” one of the teens is heard saying on the recording.
The video and the girls' description of the man’s hoodie, which had a picture of an alien on the back, led deputies to 25-year-old Raul Mora-Yanez, a ranch employee, according to the outlet.
According to the outlet, Mora-Yanez has been charged with burglary of an occupied dwelling.
Police said he told them he was drinking, went for a walk, and made his way into the cabin, thinking it was empty, per the report.
Mora-Yanez said the door was unlocked, but deputies say it was not, and that he did have a master key to the cabins due to his duties at the camp, according to the outlet.
“It’s concerning, it’s frightening, it’s disturbing,” the teens’ families’ attorney, Eric Schwartzreich, said. “They have been emotionally traumatized.”
Detectives confiscated the phone Mora-Yanez was said to have dropped as he ran, according to the outlet .
According to the outlet, when Mora-Yanez bonded out, the phone was handed back to him.
“They had the phone after they made the arrest that night and they should (have) kept the phone and applied for a search warrant,” Schwartzreich said.
Because of this, the families of the teens are concerned that there may have been evidence on it and the burglary charge could be downgraded, per the report.
“If someone is in a cabin, if there is a phone and he is standing over the girls, what are the intentions?” Schwartzreich said to the outlet.
“Is there video voyeurism? Is he videoing? We don’t know.”
Schwartzreich told the local outlet that more should have been done in the beginning.
“We are being told right now that, and we are a week past, they don’t have enough to get a search warrant. I find that to be troubling, disheartening and disappointing, and some might say that is outrageous.”
According to Local 10, a spokesperson for the Polk County Sheriff’s Office said the investigation is still open and they are working with the state attorney, but they had no further comment.
The assistant chief prosecutor for that area told the outlet that they plan on prosecuting Mora-Yanez to the fullest extent of the law.
According to Local 10, Mora-Yanez has no prior criminal history, and the ranch says he’s a former camper.
The camp told the local outlet that they are “upset and disappointed,” and had no reason to suspect he would do anything like this.
“Raul is a good kid who has been affiliated with the Circle F Ranch since 2009 as a camper or staff counselor,” Mora-Yanez’s attorney, Brett Schwartz, said in a statement.
“As a father myself, I understand the parents’ anxiety. However, like the allegations, it is based solely on presumptions, not facts. In a court of law, the latter is what matters.”
According to court documents, Mora-Yanez is set for arraignment on December 13.
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