She envied the couple who bought her dream home. What happened next is sickening.

A series of strange phenomena began to plague a young California couple in the months following their move.

When Janice Ruhter and her husband Jerald Rice bought their dream home in 2011, they were looking forward to welcoming their second child into the world and settling into a peaceful family routine.

But a series of strange phenomena began to plague them in the months following their move to the San Diego house, Maura Dolan reports for The Los Angeles Times.

Their mail stopped arriving, then a torrent of junk mail and books they hadn’t ordered arrived all at once.

Strangers began ringing their doorbell and asking to buy the house, saying it was newly listed for sale — and when Valentine’s Day rolled around, the couple’s female neighbours began to receive cards mysteriously signed with Mr Rice’s initials. 

Then, Mr Rice found a series of vulgar ads online. Some bore his wife’s picture and some included a photograph of their family home, but they all had one thing in common: they invited complete strangers to the house to have sex with Ms Ruhter. 

Rowe reportedly admitted to playing “childish pranks to let off steam and ease the pain”.

 “Adult entertainment of all types when my husband is not home,” the creepy ads said, according to The Los Angeles Times. “Come see me during the day while my husband is at work and we can get our freak on.”

A horrified and disbelieving Mr Rice called his wife at work and then the FBI — and what the bureau’s agents allegedly uncovered was so unnerving, it will give you goosebumps. 

“Childish pranks”

FBI agents paid a visit to a woman called Kathy Rowe, who had originally made an offer on Rice and Ruhter’s new house. Rowe, 53, had a severely disabled daughter and a cancer-stricken husband, and reportedly felt the set-up of the abode was perfect for her family’s special needs.

She was reportedly devastated when she was denied the home — and as she eventually admitted to FBI agents, she had been playing “childish pranks to let off steam and ease the pain”.

Documents in court allege Rowe encouraged a man enquiring about the online sex ads “to just show up at the door and force his way in the door on me, totally taking me while I say no”. Shockingly, she allegedly told another man to “just stop by any Monday-Friday 9am-3pm” to ensure “the element of surprise”, according to evidence presented in court.


She allegedly told one of the men she particularly liked anal sex, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Rowe said in court: “These things were all stupid pranks, which I can see now would be frustrating to the family if they were aware of them”.

Rowe’s lawyer Bradley Patton said the woman began her campaign hoping to force the couple out of their home. She had been driven to breaking point by the stress of caring for her family, he argued.

Rowe said in court: “These things were all stupid pranks, which I can see now would be frustrating to the family if they were aware of them”.

More than nine years in jail…

While Rowe apologised to the couple and ultimately reached an out-of-court settlement with them, San Diego County prosecutors charged Rowe with solicitation of rape and sodomy, harassment and using another’s personal information.

The case has now moved to the appeals stage, with the appeals court remarking: “this evidence creates a reasonable inference Rowe intended the men to take indecent liberties with, lay hold of, or kiss the victim against her will when they made contact with the victim”.

If convicted, Rowe could face nine and a half years in jail and would have to register for life as a sex offender, The Los Angeles Times reports.

Ms Rowe claims she never sought to have Ms Ruhter raped, and has argued in court papers there will be no one to take care of her family if she goes to prison.

A trial date has yet to be set.

This story is based on that by the Los Angeles Times, which notes that it relied on legal documents and did not speak to Rowe, Jerald Rice and Janice Ruhter.

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