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Lakewood mother homeless after 'extremely violent' man allegedly lit her apartment on fire

Posted at 10:23 PM, Jan 24, 2020

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LAKEWOOD, Colo. — A single mother was left with little to nothing after an “extremely violent” criminal who was avoiding law enforcement broke into several apartments, including her own, last week.

Tanya Valdez Ovalle told Contact7 when she was finally let into her apartment, she was shocked by the disaster.

“He lit the bathroom on fire,” Ovalle said. “It just reeked like smoke.”

The mother and her 2-year-old son moved into their first apartment less than four months ago. Ovalle said it was her first step towards independence.

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The terror at the Renaissance at Concord Plaza apartments, off Kendall St. in Lakewood, unfolded on Jan. 15, when police and the West Metro Swat Team responded to the apartment complex to arrest Jacob Joseph Medina, who was wanted on several felony warrants. Medina broke through the walls of several apartments, barricaded himself, and started a fire to avoid arrest, according to Lakewood Police. They say he eventually came out and was arrested, but only after destroying several units.

"I get sad. I mean, that was my house," Ovalle said.

Despite a faint smell of smoke, Ovalle managed to salvage some of her clothes and her son’s, but lost everything else.

“Everything else was pretty much damaged or contaminated from the fire or destroyed by the fire,” she said.

The 21-year-old mother, employee, and part-time student said she didn’t have renter’s insurance and described it as a tough life lesson. Ovalle said she’s reached out to a couple of organizations for help and is waiting to find out if she qualifies. In the meantime, she moved into her parents’ home and is sleeping on the living room sofa.

Ovalle considers herself lucky and say’s just grateful she wasn’t home, but she admits she needs help getting back on her feet.

The young mother is studying to be an aesthetician.

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