Local military family reacts to damage left behind by squatters

February 4, 2012 7:43:50 PM PST
A soldier who just finished his third tour in Iraq didn't receive the homecoming he expected. Squatters trashed his house while he was away serving his country.

The Burbank family relocated to Fort Hood while Staff Sgt. Sam Burbank was overseas. It was a temporary move, but authorities say two people seized an opportunity.

They moved in and ransacked the family's Splendora home.

Now, the actual homeowners are back to survey the damage.

The Burbank family came home to find their furniture, clothes, family photographs and almost everything else they owned tossed outside like trash, and now soaked from rain.

We all know breaking into someone's home is illegal, but Liberty County investigators say the "squatters" who took up residence in the family's home while they were away had set up a drug lab in the house as well.

Authorities found crystal methamphetamines and drug paraphernalia in the home.

The suspects have been identified as Johnny Wayne Bell and Faylisa Danielle Bailey. They claimed to be renters, but detectives don't buy that.

The duo also apparently held a garage sale and sold the homeowners' belongings, including family heirlooms.

What the squatters didn't sell, they trashed.

"The baby beds are ruined, blankets, all that. None of it's here," SSgt. Burbank's wife Hollie said. "Clothes, my grandma's angels broken outside, everything."

We walked around the house with SSgt. Burbank. It's the house he and his wife got married in 10 years ago. The house has been in their family for three generations.

"This is where all the drugs were, where they had everything at," SSgt. Burbank said.

Now, they're left with a mess to clean up and memories to rebuild.

"It just upsets me, makes me mad," SSgt. Burbank said.

The two suspects are convicted felons on parole, officials said. They remained in the Liberty County Jail on Saturday, charged with possession of a controlled substance and burglary.

Authorities are asking anyone who bought something from the yard sale here to return it to the family. They said no one will be punished for purchasing the items. They're just trying to get the family's belongings back in the right hands.