AVONDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5)-- A big update on an Avondale family who said they were being forced out of their own home by a mysterious woman they never met. That woman claimed their house belonged to her.
Jesus and Hortencia Cruz say their year-long nightmare has finally come to an end.
“We feel like the nightmare is over because of this letter we received from the Superior court,” said Hortencia.
“It's not easy that feeling that someone is looking over your shoulder,” said Jesus.
[ORIGINAL STORY: Avondale family says stranger is trying to 'steal' their home]
But to understand their relief, you must understand what a meek and unassuming stranger put the couple through.
In a previous 3 On Your Side report, we explained how a woman claimed her name was Hortencia Cruz, the exact identical name as the homeowner Hortencia Cruz.
With that information, the woman tried to claim ownership of the Cruz's Avondale home, saying she had paperwork proving she was the rightful owner, not them.
She even took the Cruz's to court to evict them from their own home which is where 3 On Your Side’s Gary Harper caught up with the woman who continued to say the home was hers.
She said her parents bought the home nearly 20-years ago but then died.
About a year ago, the woman claims she came across documents indicating her parents had left the home to her which is why she says she wants the Cruz's out.
“You still feel in your head that this house belongs to you,” asked Harper.
“Correct,” she responded.
“There's no forged documents or anything that's fabricated that would make this not a real deal,” asked Harper.
“I don't think so,” responded the woman.
The Cruz's have made every monthly mortgage payment and even recently paid off their home in full, so the house no doubt belongs to them.
Still, that didn't stop the woman from showing up to the Cruz' home on a routine basis demanding that they leave the property.
Police were called several times, but nothing was ever resolved.
That is, until recently when the woman took the Cruz's to court and tried to have them evicted from their own home.
But the judge claimed she had no authority in the matter and moved the strange and complicated case to a higher court.
“I'm not going to get involved with it I'm just going to transfer this case to the Superior court,” said the Judge.
Well, here's the update. The case was transferred to Superior Court, but it was never heard because the petite woman named Hortencia Cruz never followed through with her attempt to obtain the home.
As a result, the Cruz's received a letter from Superior Court saying the case was “abandoned” and dismissed.
3 On Your Side also discovered one reason why Hortencia Cruz stopped pursuing the Cruz family is that she died. In fact, we found published obituaries listing someone named Hortencia H. Cruz with the woman's exact same date of birth had passed away.
“It's astonishing really I don't know what to think,” said Hortencia, the actual owner.
As a result, the Cruz's will now never know exactly what motivated the woman to try to take their home.
Regardless, the Cruz family says although they feel terrible for the woman's death, they're happy the ordeal is behind them.
“I don't know how to say thank you to your guys and Gary Harper, Channel 3,” said Jesus.
“We feel like we can move forward,” said Hortencia.