HOPEWELL, VA (WWBT) – An update on a local mother and four children terrorized in their home. Tonight the victims speak out for the first time.
We told you about the crime earlier this week. A stranger kicked down the family's door in the middle of night, demanded money and threatened to kill everyone inside the home. Now, we're learning more about what the victims call, "a terrifying ordeal."
Tiawanna Cross says the suspect choked her, punched her 14-year-old son in the face, and threw her pregnant 18-year-old daughter to the floor.
"I was pinned up against this wall. He had his hand under my throat, said Cross.
Cross no longer feels safe in her Hopewell home. She and her daughter, who's five months pregnant, can't stop thinking about what happened around 2 a.m. Sunday morning. Cross was sleeping in her bedroom when someone kicked down the side door of her home.
"When I heard the noise I popped up and I looked first," said Cross.
Cross says the suspect, 23-year-old Jerome Edwards, had her daughter by the shirt --pulling her toward the bedroom. The teenage girl had been on the couch sleeping. The victims say Edwards repeatedly asked for money out of a safe.
"I'm crying telling him I don't have a safe," said Cross.
Cross says her three youngest children tried to help but Edwards hit her teenage son.
"He grabbed my son and pushed him in a corner. He told my son shut-up before I shoot everybody," said Cross.
The 14-year-old managed to call 911.
"There was nothing I could do because he kept telling us he had a gun," said Cross.
Police caught Edwards as he was running out of the home. The family is now packing and looking for a new place to live. They say Edwards didn't get away with any of their belongings. He did take their sense of security.
"I don't feel safe anywhere; especially here," said Cross.
The victims say they don't know Edwards or the reason why he targeted their family. Investigators are calling the crime random.
Edwards is being held at Riverside Regional Jail. He faces a number of charges including abduction, robbery, and burglary.