Woman stalked by man she tried to help

Updated: 06/11/2014 10:55 PM | Created: 06/11/2014 10:12 PM
By: Caleb James, KOB Eyewitness News 4

She says she was trying to help, but her helping hand may have led to a life of terror.

When an Albuquerque woman was worried about her neighbor, she asked APD to do a welfare check.

She said the decision changed her life in a terrible way.

"Being fearful is a horrible way to live," said Elisabeth Sacco. "You become stressed, you become ugly."

Sometimes life beats us up so badly, we can hardly recognize ourselves.

"It almost feels like I'm standing in a 12 round boxing ring and the referee said, 'Anybody else want to come in and take a punch?'" she said.

Albuquerque was blanketed in February snow, and Sacco's neighbor Shayne Lewis was outside in it -- cold, and screaming.

"I called for a health and welfare check," said Sacco.

Her decision turned out to be round one of an unfair fight.

"He has made death threats to me and my children," she said. "Tells me how I'm going to watch my children die."

Sacco has no idea why, but said Lewis began stalking her.

She's filed more than a dozen police reports, and she said police didn't seem to take her seriously till she had Lewis at gunpoint attempting to break into her house.

"The officers were there in 90 seconds," she said.

But it wasn't enough time to catch him.

Since the attempted break in, he's even followed her 15 year old daughter onto a city bus.

"The judge decided, this was fearful enough," Sacco said, thumbing through the reports she's made.

Last month, a judge said "enough" and granted Sacco a restraining order against Lewis.

But on Tuesday, he didn't show up to court.

"I'm past my frustration point," said Sacco.

APD tells KOB Eyewitness News 4 they're frustrated too.

Lewis is now homeless.

Despite canvassing churches and shelters for two weeks, officers can't find him to serve the restraining order.

"Having to walk around with a gun because I fear for my life?" said Sacco. "I take it with me everywhere."

Now Sacco doesn't leave the house without her new normal -- a .25 caliber pistol.

"I keep it under my pillow every night," she said.

APD said officers are actively trying to locate Lewis to serve him that restraining order. 

A spokeswoman says he's also facing misdemeanor stalking charges -- the strictest punishment in New Mexico.

Lewis has a long criminal past, including drug and shoplifting charges.

If you see him, please call 242-COPS with your tips.

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