true crime

Amber Dawn thought she was living alone. Then one day she looked up, and saw something chilling.

When Amber Dawn was just 20 years old she moved into a one bedroom apartment on her own.

Well, at least she believed she was alone.

The apartment was in the small town of Enumclaw, Washington – at the foothills of Mount Rainer, one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world.

One the night she moved in, Amber thought she heard footsteps in the attic.

She brushed it off, telling herself that it was just her imagination being overactive in an unfamiliar setting.

“I was laying in my bed and I heard footsteps in the attic. They were very clear footsteps,” she told the Criminal podcast.

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“I was laying in my bed and I heard footsteps in the attic. They were very clear footsteps." Image via iStock.

“I wasn’t quite sure why I would be hearing that, but whenever you move into a new apartment, you start to notice all the different sounds that that particular space makes and so I wasn’t quite sure what it was.

“But it sounded like footsteps.”

That's when Amber noticed a trap door in the ceiling, right above her bed. It led to a crawl space to the attic - an attic that Amber wouldn't set foot in for the next six months.

Amber wasn't home much, as she worked three jobs, but when she was home she noticed that a few strange things were happening in the apartment.

Weirdly, cans of soft drink and soup would go missing - a crime that Amber originally blamed on her brother, who lived three blocks away and had a spare key.

One day Amber's apartment flooded while she was at work. She had just bought a German Shepard puppy and she would keep her in the bathroom when she was out of the house.

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“I came home, opened up the bathroom door, and my puppy was in the bathroom sink.

“There’s no way she could have gotten into that sink. She was a little puppy, the toilet was far enough away from the sink that she wouldn’t have been able to climb.

“There was water all over the ground, it was a big mess. But she was sitting in the sink. Someone must have put her in that sink.”

Once again, Amber convinced herself that it was nothing.

But then, Amber became sick and had to take a day off work. For the first time in six months, she deviated from her usual schedule.

At 7pm that night Amber heard a loud noise in the bedroom, but put it down to being one of her pets.

“I just dismissed it because I have animals and they make noise,” she told Criminal.

At 11pm, Amber drew herself a bath, turned off all the lights, and settled in for a long soak. Naked, in the bath tub, she looked up at the ceiling -  and that's when she noticed the trap door to the attic was open.

“Everything just slowed way down. I must have sat in that bathtub for ten to fifteen seconds but it felt like five minutes and I put it all together.

Do you ever hear mysterious sounds in your house at night? New episode today! Link in bio. Artwork by @yssrs_creative

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“I put it all together, I was like, ‘OK the footsteps the first night, the doors being closed when I had left them open, the missing food, my dog in the sink.

“There was someone living in my house with me."

Amber very slowly got out of the bath and put on her dressing gown. She knew the man who had been living in her attic must have been hiding in the wardrobe - so she silently walked passed the wardrobe and out of her bedroom.

“I had to walk by the closet in order to get out. The closet were those mirrored doors and that was very scary to see myself in the dark, knowing he was on the other side of that door.

“If he would’ve opened that door, if I would’ve seen him, I would’ve lost it. He’s been living in my apartment for six months, if he wanted to hurt me, that’s not what he wants. He just needs a place to stay.

“He’s probably not a bad guy, like he put my dog in the sink. I don’t want to freak him out, I don’t want to scare him by screaming or yelling because then he might hurt me so that he doesn’t get caught."

When she got to her lounge room, Amber grabbed her phone and a hammer. She called her sister-in-law and told her "someone's in the house".

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She then walked out the front door, with the hammer in one hand and her puppy in the other.

Her sister-in-law arrived at the house within minutes and they phoned the police.

By the time the police arrived on scene, the man was gone - leaving nothing but a sleeping bag, a book, and some food in his wake.

“I don’t know how he was getting into the apartment. I left a window open for my cats so he could’ve gone in and out that way. I had a spare key, he could have taken my spare key and made a copy. He could have lived there before me, I don’t know.”

Amber moved out the next day and 20 years later she still hopes that one day she'll find the person who was watching her every move for those six months. She says her close call has taught her to listen to her instincts.

“Not that I want to make everybody paranoid, but listen to your instincts. Deep down I knew what was going on but I didn’t trust myself, I thought I was just imagining it.

“Since then I’ve learned to listen to my instincts and if my instincts are telling me that something isn’t right, then something is not right.”

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