Not many people who get stalked by serial killers live to tell the tale.
Rarer still are cases of such encounters in which the would-be victim doesn't realize they were being stalked by a notorious killer until after the fact. That's exactly what happened to Redditor juliaakatrinaa4, who is convinced that she had a close encounter with serial killer and sex offender Joseph E. Duncan III when she was living in Montana as a little girl.
During a sleepover one night, juliaakatrinaa4 and her little sister were woken up by their friend. The girl thought she had spotted a deer on the deck and she wanted to show them. After looking out the window and agreeing that it was a deer, they went back to sleep.
However, about five minutes later, their friend shook them awake a second time and said that what they had seen was actually a person. The girls looked again and clearly saw a tall silhouette looking into the kitchen window.
Their fear was only heightened when they noticed what looked like two green pinpoints of light coming out of the man's head.
Juliaakatrinaa4 wanted to tell her parents, but she was too afraid that the man would see her walking through the house, so she decided to use her friend's cell phone to call her parents' landline. As soon as the phone started loudly ringing, the man took off into the night.
Immediately after, the trio ran screaming and told her dad what they'd seen. He called the police, but they never found him.
As it turns out, the local police station sent out notices in her neighborhood about a dangerous sexual predator who had been spotted nearby only a couple of weeks earlier. The man had a warrant out for his arrest and had been staying with a family member that lived a few streets down from her.
About three months after her experience, the same man police were searching for was arrested only two hours away.
He was none other than Joseph E. Duncan III, who kidnapped eight-year-old Shasta Groene and nine-year-old Dylan Groene from their Idaho home and molested them in 2005. He also murdered their teenage brother, their mother, and the mother's boyfriend.
Shasta was eventually found safe in Coeur d'Alene, but little Dylan's body was discovered a few days later.
What's especially horrifying is that during his interrogations with police, Duncan admitted to stalking the Groene children by watching their homes with night vision goggles -- which emitted the very same light that juliaakatrinaa4 saw. Through researching his online writings, she also found that he had been living in Montana while searching for children to kidnap before coming across the Groenes.
Juliaakatrinaa4 admits that she has no solid proof that the man she saw was Duncan, but it seems disturbingly likely that it was. Either way, I'm sure she's eternally grateful to be alive.
(via Reddit / juliaakatrinaa4)
Duncan is currently on death row in federal prison for the kidnappings and murders of the Groene family, as well as the 1997 murder of a 10-year-old boy named Anthony Martinez. He also confessed to killing two girls in 1996, but he was never charged with their murders.