Entertainment And News

Video Captures The Moment A Mother Found A Homeless Person In Her Child's Bed

Photo: YouTube
Home surveillance footage

A mother in Portland, Oregon was shocked to learn that a homeless woman had entered her child's bedroom without her noticing after she checked her security camera.

The child’s mother, Kelsey Smith discovered the woman in her son’s bed after her dogs alerted and led her from the back porch to the bedroom.   

Smith, a resident of northeast Portland, is demanding measures be taken to deal with the region's homeless population.   

The security camera video showed the homeless woman asleep in her child's bed.

Smith said that she was on her back deck speaking to a friend when her dogs started to bark incessantly.

Smith told KPTV that she went to the front door expecting the contractors to be there to work on an accessible bathroom for her son. 

After discovering nobody at the front door, she headed to the bedroom where the dogs were alerted. 

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“The dogs continued to go crazy, specifically my chihuahua, which was running circles around my legs, which was really unusual,” she said.   

“I followed her to where the other dog was into my children’s bedroom. My lab was standing on top of the bed on top of a pile of clean clothes that I had thrown on there. I walked in wondering if she had cornered a mouse or something because she was going crazy and I realized there was a person under there.”

Smith originally thought it was her husband and called out his name.

Immediately after, she realized it was a complete stranger. 

“I backed out of the room, talking to my friend on the phone saying I needed help, that there was a homeless person in the kid’s bed,” Smith continued.

“At that point, she leaped up, I recognized her as a woman. She hopped off the bed and picked up the ottoman at the foot of the bed and bum-rushed me, threw it at me, and then meandered out the door.”

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Footage from a camera in Smith’s son's room that was placed for medical purposes shows the mother telling the woman to leave the home. 

“My first thought was what is going on?” she said.

“The fear didn’t come until after she was gone and I started to run through the scenarios in my head about how this could have played out differently if my younger kids had been home.” 

“My 24-year-old son heard the commotion and came running upstairs, charging up the stairs because he knew something was wrong. He went straight out the door and into the street following her, calling 911,” Smith reveals. 

The mother told a local TV outlet that the homeless woman was apprehended by Portland police after trying to break into another home on the same street.  

KPTV reports that the Portland Police Bureau confirmed Terri Lynn Zinser, 54 as the perpetrator. 

Zinser was taken into custody and charged with burglary in the first degree and harassment.

The 54-year-old was taken to Multnomah County Detention Center.

“I was glad she was caught,” Smith stated. “I saw she obviously needed help, so I asked what would happen if they took her to a hospital. They told me she would be out within two hours. So I said ‘okay, I want to press charges.’” 

Smith found out later that Zinser was released from custody. 

“That’s really disheartening considering we went through and looked at our Next Door app and there was another person who had posted a picture of her breaking into their house,” she said. 

Multiple people sent Zinser's arrest reports to Smith.

“Which is a very long list of trespassing, harassment, assault, and burglary,” she says. 

Smith revealed to the news outlet that she contacted the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office about pressing charges. 

The DA Office told her “The charges have been dropped and that I can leave a message for the DA and he can call you back.”

“I haven’t heard anything and that was two days ago. I have to assume someone heard that message and nobody has gotten back to me,” Smith says. “I don’t understand why she is not in jail. She’s not harmless. She proved that. She’s proved that from the stories that I’ve heard from other people.”

Smith voiced her concerns about the city’s homeless population, lack of mental health services, and the need for more police training. 

In a statement to FOX 26 KMVU, the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office explained the situation.

They said that “based on recent federal court rulings and recent history with this defendant having similar cases dismissed due to a lack of participation in treatment and the court’s inability to compel the defendant to participate in treatment, we had initial concerns about whether we could proceed with this case at this time.”

“The accused had recently spent months at the Oregon State Hospital during which time the staff there was unable to restore her ability to aid and assist her court-appointed lawyer,” the DA continued. “She was then ordered to engage in treatment in the community, but she did not appear for her evaluation and she left the treatment facility." 

The Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Nan Waller has since dismissed the previous charges against Zinser back in August. 

“Our Strategic Prosecution Unit is reviewing this case and the previously dismissed cases to determine whether we are able to proceed with prosecution,” the DA stated.

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Annabelle Miller is a writer for YourTango based in Connecticut. She covers news, celebrity gossip, and pop culture topics.

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