Controversial squatter family moves out

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - We have new details about the Columbus family that was allegedly living in a home illegally on Laurel Drive in Columbus; it appears now they have moved out.

We first brought you this story a few weeks ago and exposed how under laws known as squatters rights, people can move into vacant homes and lay claim to them.

The owner told News Leader 9's Curtis McCloud no one should be living in the home, and now that they're gone, neighbors are breathing a sigh of relief.

A little over a month ago we came across a woman named Lisa Modern at this home, and she told us she was renting it through her uncle. After calling the owner listed in the property he told us he didn't know the woman living in the house and he was going to take swift action to get them out.

We went by the house on Laurel Drive on Monday and no one was home. Miss Rice who lives next door told us that she hasn't seen the family in about two weeks.

"I think they probably just went somewhere else, they moved backed to Cusseta because that's where they are from," said Rice.

Property Manager Tommy Christmas told us over the phone that the Marshal's office served a formal complaint notice on March 19, warning the family that they were not supposed be in the house.

Last Tuesday Muscogee County Marshals came out to the property to deliver an eviction notice; what they found was a vacant home. The squatters had packed up and apparently took a few parting gifts.

"No toilet, no sink, no nothing not even the copper, the pipes are gone so they just stripped that place through."

The woman we spoke to said that she had been living in the home for over two years. She didn't fight the first legal notice that she received from the Marshal's office and wasn't around to pick up the eviction notice.

"Do you think it's in the best interest of the community now that these people are gone?" asked News Leader 9's Curtis McCloud.

"Yes, because it made the property value go down," replied Rice.

The process took almost a month and now the property manager says he's looking to get in the home and start renovating so that he can put the property on the market.

At this time it is not known whether or not these squatters could face criminal charges for missing material in the home.

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