Editor Keith Smith won both first and second place in the Best Breaking News Coverage and his harrowing account of an intruder in the house while Haley Volz was in her bedroom placed second. The story is below.
The headline of the story Someone's in the house, mom was one of his entries in Best Headline Writer that earned Smith a third place award.
Home from the University of Louisville campus because of the pandemic, Haley Volz had listened to her mom, Jaime, working in her bedroom the previous day.
When the noise started up again on the other side of the wall which their bedrooms share, Haley yelled down the hallway at her mom, “What are you doing?”
When there was no answer and the noise stopped, ice ran through her blood and she texted her mom the same question while retreating to her
Jaime texted back, “I’m heading to work. Why?” then added, “You’re the only one home.”
Haley locked herself in her bedroom and texted 911 while asking her mom to call 911.
“I heard him walk towards my door and started pounding and kicking on it,” she said. She sat down in front of her door and put her entire weight on it “...hoping I could hold it back long enough until someone got there to help me.”
Haley added, “I was too afraid to call and for him to hear me on the phone.”
Mom had called not only 911 but also her mother Sharon Daunt who lives next door on Hwy 154 between Hwy 10 and AA.
Jaime texted Haley, “Grandma is on the way.”
While Haley held the door closed, the person was using a crowbar to pry the door open and put it through the door.
“I knew he would’ve gotten through the door shortly as I couldn’t hold him back forever,” Haley said. “I was extremely lucky my grandma was home and able to come to my rescue.”
Grandma had a gun and announced it when she entered the house.
The invader went back to Jaime’s bedroom, threw a mirror through a window and escaped, wanting no part of a grandma with a gun who was there to protect her granddaughter.
Pendleton County has had a series of homes that have been burglarized over the past couple of weeks with an arrest in one incident where a couple was caught allegedly in the act (story on page 6).
According to a post on their Facebook page, Pendleton County Sheriff’s Office listed areas to be on the look out were 22 East 6000 block, Hwy 609, New Hope Rd, and Hwy 154. There is a belief that the person(s) are coming off of AA and looking for quick targets and then retreating back to AA and to their home.
They did post a photo of a vehicle of interest in connection with multiple burglaries.
Chief Deputy Marty Hart indicated by Monday morning that a minivan had been impounded and was registered to a Mitchell Kiskaden of Foster, Ky.
The investigation in the string of burglaries is continuing and as of press time, no arrests have been made.
As far as the Volz household, the encounter still has Haley scared.
Grandfather took the two grandkids for a refresher course on handling and firing a gun. They had first learned how to safely handle one when they were younger.
“I’m strongly considering adding a gun to every bedroom here,” said Jaime “They both know how to shoot, but I thought a refresher might make them feel a little safer.”
It is something that Haley would consider.
“I wouldn’t be opposed to having a gun in my room now...Honestly though, I would keep anything in my room to make me feel safe again because I don’t right now at all. So if it takes a gun to do that, then so be it,” she said.
While mom is planning on how to protect her family in their own home, those moments are seared in her memory.
“It was the most terrified and helpless I have ever felt in my life...I called 911 and said I just sent my mom and probably got her hurt, too. I just kept watching for the little dots on my phone saying that Haley was texting me back,” said Jaime.
This story has a happy ending as grandma rode to the rescue.
“After I could hear she was in the house and told me she thought he was gone, I was able to finally breathe and unlock my door to come out of my room and go outside to wait on the police to get there,” said Haley.
“It was the hardest, longest (hug),” said mom about when she reached her daughter before noting, “Even her brother who beat me home gave her a big hug.”