Attack in the Night: Back to the House

Returning to the Scene of the Crime

Greg and Estela walk with Dr. Phil back to their house, the scene of the crime. Greg walks with a crutch, a cast on his leg. They pause on the steps leading up to their door, and Estela begins to cry.

"I'll hold your hand, babe," Greg tells his wife. "You'll be OK. It's no different than when we came back before, it's just dark."

"Let's just go up a little closer and I'll be there. It'll be OK," Dr. Phil assures her.

They step closer to the doorway. Although Greg says he's ready to go in, Estela gathers her thoughts. "I'm just so scared. It just " We were just there, fighting for our lives," she says. 

"Take your time," Dr. Phil tells her.

 

When she's ready, she says, "Let's do it," and nods at Dr. Phil.

Dr. Phil takes her hand and shows her the key. She gives him the OK to open the house. Estela covers her face with her hands. Dr. Phil leads them inside.

"You're OK, you're OK," he assures Estela. "He came through here?" he asks, pointing to their back door, which is now covered with plywood.

"Yeah, that door right there on the left was a glass pane door, and he chopped his way through the glass, turned right and went up those steps over there, straight into our bedroom," says Greg.

Estela says she's OK, but she shakes with the realization that the intruder passed right by the spot they stand now. "It's a person who I've never seen before and he was in my house that night," she says. 

"He was in your home. Even without the attack, it's a sense of violation isn't it?" asks Dr. Phil.

"Absolutely," Greg says.

Dr. Phil asks the couple to look into the living room. He holds Estela's hand while she surveys the scene. They trace the path of the intruder and head up the stairs to the bedroom. "So he stood here where we're standing," says Dr. Phil. 

They walk into the bedroom, pointinag out where the bed used to be, and where the struggle took place. Greg doesn't remember anything after the initial struggle, but he points out the window that he escaped through.

"And that's a 52-inch drop," Dr. Phil comments.

 

He turns to Estela. "You were here inside the room when he went out the window?"

"Yes, I was here all by myself," she says. "I thought that moment I'm going to go for help too. So I opened this window, I pushed the screen and I just started screaming, ‘Please help us.'"

"So, what do you think, as you look around this room? Can you imagine ever feeling safe in this room again?" Dr. Phil asks.

"No," she says.

"We've got plenty of plans," Dr. Phil hints to her.

They tour the children's room, and end up in the kitchen, where the family gathered with neighbors before the police arrived on the night of the attack.


"How are you feeling right now?" Dr. Phil asks Estela.

"I feel good because you are with me. My husband is with me. I feel ... I feel safe," she says.

"We know he's tougher than a boot, right?" he says, looking at Greg.

"Yeah, he's very tough," she says.

"We've learned that for sure," says Dr. Phil. "And we've learned that you're pretty tough. I'm not suggesting that you're ready to just come back in here and say, ‘Well, let's have dinner.' We don't want to do that too soon. Time heals nothing. This can be as raw a year from now as it was the night it happened if we don't do the things that have to be done to make it better. But we can do this. Not alone, with some help, OK? We can do this."

Dr. Phil introduces Greg and Estela to Moll Anderson, author of the book, Change Your Home, Change Your Life.

 

"One of the things we want to do is help this place feel right and new and fresh for both of y'all," Dr. Phil tells them. "And it's totally up to you, anything that is done or not done. We're going to do this with you, not to you. And make this where it doesn't have that same psychological pull to it that it's had before. And we've asked Moll to help us with that to work with you to really make this place feel right and feel like home and safe to you at the right time."

Moll says, "I really, truly believe that if we change this home, we can change your life, and your family, your children. Your strength is so incredible. I'm so moved by the strength you two had and how you fought. And what I want to do is take that strength and the love and the bond that you have as a family and infuse it in this house and bring it back to life."

"That's what I want," Estella says, tearfully. "Thank you. I feel happy and emotional that all this support from you, my family, especially [Greg], you know, it's amazing. What I've been through, trying to be strong for my family, and now here you guys are, trying to make me go back to this beautiful house that I love. So yeah, I will try. Thank you."

"We will do this the right way when you are ready. But there is no hurry, and you're in control. It's totally your call," Dr. Phil says.