Teen awakened by man standing over her during father-daughter retreat

PLANTATION, Fla. – Three South Florida teens found themselves in a real life horror story that was captured on camera.

The teens were alone in a cabin sound asleep when one awoke to find a man standing over her.

The teens were attending a special event at a ranch as part of a popular father-daughter program called Indian Princess.

Now the question is, did detectives do enough when it happened?

The video shows the teens whispering and trying to hold it together after one of them woke up to find the man standing over her.

The Plantation teen immediately called her father who was in another cabin across the ranch.

She hit record, deciding to film herself in case she was killed so people would know what happened.

The video from inside the cabin was taken around 4 a.m. earlier this month at the Circle F dude ranch in Lake Wales.

The South Florida teens were all there with their fathers for the Indian Princess bonding program.

When the teen woke up and saw the man, he hid under her bed.

The girls frantically waited for their fathers to arrive, calling them for a second time.

“I’m scared,” the teen says. “My hands are shaking.”

“Is the front door unlocked?” the father asks.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah, there … can you come in?” she asks.

As the fathers get closer to the cabin, the man emerges from under the bed and flees.

“Dad, dad! He just left,” one of the teens says.

The video and the girl’s description of the man’s hoodie that had a picture of an alien on the back, led deputies to 25-year-old Raul Mora-Yanez, who works on the ranch.

He’s been charged with burglary of an occupied dwelling.

He told deputies he was drinking, went for a walk, and made his way into the cabin, thinking it was empty.

He says the door was unlocked, but deputies say it was not.

In his duties at the camp, Mora-Yanez had a key to the cabin.

“It’s concerning, it’s frightening, it’s disturbing,” the teens’ families’ attorney Eric Schwartzreich said. “They have been emotionally traumatized.”

One of the teens said she saw Mora-Yanez’s cellphone in his hand as he fled, which detectives confiscated.

“They had the phone after they made the arrest that night and they should (have) kept the phone and applied for a search warrant,” Schwartzreich said.

But that didn’t happen. When Mora-Yanez bonded out, the phone was handed back to him.

The families are now concerned that there may have been evidence on it and the burglary charge could be downgraded.

“If someone is in a cabin, if there is a phone and he is standing over the girls, what are the intentions?” Schwartzreich asked. “Is there video voyeurism? Is he videoing? We don’t know.”

“Should more have been done in the beginning?” Local 10 News investigative reporter Jeff Weinsier asked.

“Yes,” Schwartzreich responded. “We are being told right now that, and we are a week past, they don’t have enough to get a search warrant. I find that to be troubling, disheartening and disappointing, and some might say that is outrageous.”

A spokesperson for the Polk County Sheriff’s Office would only say the investigation is still open and they are working with the state attorney, but they had no further comment.

The assistant chief prosecutor for that area says they plan on prosecuting Mora-Yanez to the fullest extent of the law.

He has no prior criminal history.

The ranch says he’s a former camper and they are “upset and disappointed,” and had no reason to suspect he would do anything like this.

“Raul is a good kid who has been affiliated with the Circle F Ranch since 2009 as a camper or staff counselor,” Mora-Yanez’s attorney, Brett Schwartz, said in a statement. “As a father myself, I understand the parents’ anxiety. However, like the allegations, it is based solely on presumptions, not facts. In a court of law, the latter is what matters.”

About the Author:

Jeff Weinsier joined Local 10 News in September 1994. He is currently an investigative reporter for Local 10. He is also responsible for the very popular Dirty Dining segments.