ADA COUNTY -- Ada County Sheriff's deputies said a woman and her family were squatting in a house near the Boise Ranch Golf Course. Then, the woman claimed that because they had paid property taxes on the home, it was theirs.
The woman, Tara Mashburn, her adult son, her husband, and four children were living in a house off of Cloverdale.
Deputies believe Mashburn thought she was taking the appropriate steps to claim the house when she sent a letter about the situation to authorities.
"About two weeks ago, the sheriff's office received a certified letter from a Ms. Tara Mashburn. In the letter she states that they have openly and hostilely taken possession of a house, and that they're actually against all the world," said Sergeant Jake Vogt.
Vogt said the Mashburn letter claimed she had paid property tax on the house and that she even included documentation.
The sheriff's office found the home's owner.
"We did in fact get in touch with Bank of America, who is the titled and deeded owner. They informed us that Ms. Mashburn, or anyone else, did not have permission and was not allowed to be there," said Vogt.
Vogt also said the bank foreclosed on the house.
As best as the Ada County Sheriff's Office can tell, Mashburn and her family have lived in that house for two to three weeks, trying to use adverse possession law to claim the house was now theirs.
Deputy Ada County Prosecutor Roger Bourne said in his 35 years with the prosecutor's office, he's never heard of a case like this.
"Adverse possession was meant for situations where a mistake had been made," said Bourne. "It would have to be open and notorious, that is so that the owners of the property knew they were living in it, and didn't cause them to leave for 20 years, then maybe."
Last Friday, deputies went to the house to explain that Mashburn and her family were trespassing. And that the owner, Bank of America, asked them to leave.
"They told them that they'd be coming back at 4 p.m. that day, and if they were still there, they'd be arrested," said Vogt.
Because of security concerns, deputies did not return that afternoon.
"Ms. Mashburn actually called our department to attempt to file a complaint on some of our deputies for not arresting her. She said that she had 15 witnesses there that she wanted to witness the arrest, and she was upset that she wasn't arrested." said Vogt.
Over the next few days, deputies noticed the Mashburn family had padlocked the gate to the house. They also put up "No Trespassing" signs.
Thursday, deputies went to the house and arrested Tara Mashburn and her son Kassidy McDaid. Mashburn and her son are charged with trespassing and unlawful entry. Their court date is set for April 25.
Deputies said this is a good reminder to anyone who owns a vacant property to check up on it regularly, and ask neighbors to keep an eye on it, too.