INDIANAPOLIS -- A far eastside woman says she's afraid to leave her home – terrified that four men who broke in and brutalized her and her daughter Wednesday night will return and take everything she owns.
"Sarah" – that's not her name; she asked not to be identified directly out of fear for her safety – says she was lying in bed watching TV around 11:00 p.m. when she heard a key-rattling noise outside her home in Park Valley Estates, near the intersection of 16th Street and Mitthoeffer Road.
She thought it was her 19-year-old son, who had just left her home a few minutes earlier.
"The next thing I know there was a black male standing over me. He hit me in the face with a pistol and told me to 'shut the [expletive] up,'" she said.
What followed was 15 minutes of terror for Sarah and her adult daughter, who was also at home and in her own bed at the time.
Sarah says one of the men apparently shimmied the window open in her dining room and crawled through. Three more men busted through the front door a short time later.
The men grabbed Sarah and her daughter by the hair and pulled them out of their beds. The women were forced to their knees and pistol-whipped. The men threatened to kill them.
Sarah was struck in the head with the butt of a pistol six times. But she says she was most afraid for her daughter.
"At one point they came back into the room and held the guns to our heads. I thought I was going to die. I just kept talking to them and making her stay quiet. I covered her head and asked them not to hurt us and just kept telling them there was nothing here for them. And that's when I get hit the sixth time in the head. But my worry was that they were going to rape and beat my daughter."
Sarah said the men ransacked the house, repeatedly yelling at them to turn over a gun they believed her son had stolen from them.
She believes the men had been at her house before while she was out of town as guests of her son. On one of those occasions, a gun apparently went missing. The men blamed her son.
Sarah thinks the men were watching her home, waiting for her son – who only stays with her part-time – to leave.
"My son wasn't even gone 20 minutes," she said. "I honestly think they were watching and waiting to attack us to get back at my son."
The men never found a gun in the home, but they did steal approximately $20,000-worth of jewelry and some $2,000 in cash, along with electronic devices and the women's purses.
One of the men also forced Sarah to hand over the rings on her fingers.
"He grabbed my fingers like this and squeezed my hand and said, 'Let go of the rings. So I did, because he said, 'If you don't, I'm going to shoot you.'"
The men, eventually deciding there was no gun to be found, then rushed out of the house and into a vehicle that pulled around to pick them up.
Before leaving, one of them gave Sarah a warning.
"He said, 'Don't move until we're gone. If you call the police, we're going to come back and kill you,'" she said.
The men left Sarah battered, with a swollen eye and possible concussion. She says her daughter escaped only being struck with a pistol once.
Prior to the incident, Sarah says she and her family were already discussing getting permits to carry handguns for self-defense. Now, she says, they're definitely going to.
And, she said, she's not going to cower in fear and be afraid to speak out.
"I want to see them caught. I want to see them in jail. I want to see them punished for what they've done. I want to feel safe," she said. "And I don't want them to do this to someone else."
If you have any information about this incident, you're asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 317-262-TIPS. Your call may remain anonymous.