LITTLETON (CBS4) - A judge in Arapahoe County gave a Littleton family permission to move back in to their home after squatters took possession and lived there for eight months.
The illegal occupants of the home were given 48 hours to leave the premises after their claim to occupy the home by "adverse possession" was shot down in court.
After 12 years living on Mabre Court in Littleton, Troy Donovan got a job with a racing team in Indiana. Donovan left Colorado in March, 2011, his wife Dayna and their two children followed a few months later in August. After months of trying to sell the house, the Donovan's winterized their home, turned off the utilities, and left for Indiana.
The Donovans say their plan was always to return to Colorado. But that turned out to be quite difficult. While still in Indiana, the Donovan's former neighbors on Mabre Court told them people were living in their house.
Donovan recalls asking the occupants to leave when they returned to Littleton.
"We show up at the house and we say 'Look, I'm Troy Donovan, this is my wife Dayna, we own this home,' " he told CBS4.
The people inside wouldn't budge, so the Donovans were forced to move into a relative's basement in Greeley.
The people living inside, Veronica Fernandez-Beleta and Jose Rafael Leyva-Caraveo, claimed they bought the home. They told Littleton police they paid a man named Alfonso Carillo $5,000 for some legal paperwork called a deed of "adverse possession."
Carillo is a former realtor whose license has been revoked. Carillo also faces criminal charges in Denver and has been connected to a string of homes occupied by squatters up and down the Front Range. The homes vary in size and price, but all have connections to Carillo through various court documents CBS4 has obtained.
After seeing previous CBS4 stories on stolen homes, the Donovans confronted the people living in their home.
"I told her 'What you're doing is wrong, it's illegal. I would really like you to move out of the home or we will take legal action against you,' " said Dayna Donovan.
On Thursday a judge ordered that the Donovans get their home back.
Fernandez-Beleta told CBS4 in Spanish, "I am sad and confused and distressed."
The Donovans say they are thankful they can finally return home.
"We get to get out of the basement, get a full home to live in," Dayna said. "A home we created and worked very hard in as well."
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