3 ON YOUR SIDE (3TV) - Imagine buying your home 18 years ago, making every payment on time, only to find out you may now lose your home.
One Avondale family says that's exactly what's happening to them.
They are furious because they've made every mortgage payment and have actually paid off their home in full, but now they say a stranger is trying to take it from them.
Hortencia Cruz and her husband Jesus say they're proud of their home.
They purchased it while it was being built 18 years ago and it's where they raised their children.
"Since that day we've been living here. My daughter was little, like 4 years old," said Hortencia.
"This is my childhood home. I've grown up here since I was 4," said their daughter, Daisy Cruz.
For the Cruz family, it's not just a house; it's their home. And through hard work and discipline, they made every mortgage payment until it was recently paid off in full.
So imagine their shock when a strange woman knocked on their door and said the house actually belonged to her.
"My dad told her, 'Go away, you're a scammer,' and so she left right away," said Daisy.
But it wouldn't be the last time the woman showed up unannounced. She actually came back another day and demanded that the Cruz family leave the home because she owned it.
Upset, the Cruz family called the police and even snapped a photo of the interaction.
But Avondale police claimed it was a civil matter so there wasn't much they could do.
However, the strange turn of events got even worse when a process server showed up and told the family they had to go.
"He gave me this letter and he said you have 30 days to leave," said Hortencia.
The Cruz family was shocked. They were being threatened to get tossed from their own home that they bought 18 years ago and paid off. Troubled, they installed security cameras around their home that captured even more official notices being posted to their door.
One notice was a demand for $155,000.
"We found this letter on the door saying we owe them $155,000 for the time we have been living here," said Hortencia.
And, you won't believe the most recent court notice they got.
That "woman" actually filed an eviction notice and is taking them to court to boot them.
The Cruz family say they are left baffled as to what in the world is going on.
"Like, I don't know if she wants to live here knowing her mortgage is paid off or if she wants to like sell the house. I don't understand," said Daisy.
Time for answers, so 3 On Your Side showed up at that eviction hearing.
We wanted to find out who this woman was and why she's convinced the Cruz's home is her home. So, 3 On Your Side found her in the courthouse and tried to get to the bottom of it.
"I'm Gary Harper with 3 On Your Side. Tell me about this house on Alvarado Street you say it's your house?" Gary Harper said.