Nonverbal autistic man moved from residential facility after bursting into neighbors' homes
DAVIE, Fla. – It was around four 4 a.m. Jessica Naylon said she was awake, nursing her daughter. Suddenly, a strange man burst through her front door of her home in Davie and ran up the stairs to the second floor of her home.
"I don't know anything about him," she said. "Nothing, except that he's standing here, naked, in my home, in the middle of the night, feet from my family."
Naylon said the man was completely nude and made it to the landing outside her bedroom.
"Imagine if I came out here with my momma bear instincts and unloaded my weapon on him," she said.
The incident happened in March 2018. Naylon told the Leave it to Layron team a friend who was visiting helped chase the man outside and the police were called.
Later that morning, Naylon learned where her naked intruder came from: just a few yards away.
We've learned his name is Craig. For his privacy, we're not identifying his last name, but he's in his early 20s. We're told Craig is more than 6 feet tall. Craig also has autism and is nonverbal.
Craig lives at BARC Housing, a residential facility for people with autism and developmental disabilities.
Dennis Haas, the president of BARC Housing, told the LITL team Craig was in the shower last year before he ran off the property and ultimately into Naylon's home -- explaining the nakedness.
"Over the years and most recently, Craig has exited the property," Haas said. "And on some occasions, visited the neighbors and knocked on their doors, entered their space."
Melissa Rentner, who lives right next door to Naylon, got two unexpected visits from Craig in one weekend.
"The door opens and a big tall person just runs by, straight through to my house," Rentner said.
Rentner was chatting at her kitchen table with a friend. The friend didn't lock the door behind her and minutes later, a fully-clothed Craig ran into her home and up her stairs.
Rentner said she'd never seen Craig before and immediately called 911.
Her friend helped get Craig down the stairs and out of the house.
"And then his handler was out there to grab him," Rentner said. "It was just so very fast."
She said the very next day, she called police again when Craig came back. This time, the door was locked and he wasn't able to get inside.
Two different police reports made out a day apart detail similar accounts: Craig gets away from his caregivers, jumps the fence surrounding the BARC Housing property and off he goes.
"Once he figured out he can jump the fence, he's going to keep doing it every chance he gets," Naylon said. "He needs [to be] somewhere with the next level of care."
Haas explained BARC Housing is not a facility where people are physically restrained.
"That's not what [we're] about," he said.
Nearly 40 residents live on the five-acre property. Some are teens and some are seniors with varying disabilities. Some clients work and attend school, while others, like Craig, require a different level of care.
Haas said Craig simply likes to run. Therapists and behavioral specialists have worked to keep Craig from running off the property.
Over the years, the facility has installed a secure entrance gate. The fencing around the property has been updated. Trees and shrubs have also been installed to help curb Craig's escapes.
Haas said Craig also wears a GPS tracking bracelet. There are protocols in place in the event Craig runs away and each incident is fully reviewed.
But, Haas admitted, "Craig is presenting in a way that has probably been amongst one of our greatest challenges over the years."
The latest escapes led Haas and his staff to a difficult and delicate decision.
"We're sad to have to relocate Craig," he said. "This is his home. He is a neighbor in this community. At the end of the day, his safety is paramount, as is the comfort and safety of the neighborhood."
Haas said Craig has lived at BARC Housing for nearly six years, but a recipient of BARC services for nearly 15 years. After working with Craig's family, the community and direct support professionals, Haas said a more suitable home for Craig has been located.
"It is an understatement to say that we will miss him tremendously. Nevertheless, we believe that this new opportunity for Craig is in his best interest and wish him and his family all the best," Haas said.
"I don't want anything to happen to him because he obviously doesn't understand," Rentner said.
Rentner and Naylon said the decision to move Craig does give them some peace of mind.
"For my home, my children, my community, but for him, too," Naylon said. "He's not safe there."
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