FORT WAYNE – The 80-year-old woman had seen him before – his aunt and uncle lived next door, and he visited them from time to time.
When he knocked on her door Monday evening and asked to use the bathroom, she was reluctant.
But she let him in anyway, not knowing she would soon be in the hospital with serious injuries, and the man would be in jail.
Police reports said the man, later identified as Zachery Doan, 19, was in the bathroom for a long time when the woman asked him to come out.
Doan walked out and said he needed to borrow a gas can.
The woman, who was not identified in the reports, sent him to the garage.
A short time later, he knocked on the door again.
He told her the gas can was broken, and he needed to use the telephone.
This time, the woman refused to let him in and told him to go next door to ask his relatives for a phone.
Doan became angry, the woman told police. He pounded on the door and demanded she take him somewhere.
She told him no, and he stood staring at her for a few minutes through the window before leaving.
The woman called her daughter who told her not to let him back in if he returned because he was probably casing her house, court documents said.
About 9 p.m., the woman sat down in a chair and turned on her television.
Then she heard a loud boom from her kitchen and turned to see Doan coming toward her from the kitchen, court documents said.
Late Monday, city police officers were called about a home invasion robbery in the 7300 block of Springhill Drive, near Baer Field Thruway and Lower Huntington Road.
The woman’s neighbors heard her screaming for help and came to find her on her porch.
She was covered in blood with her eyes swollen shut, and her nose had been split open, exposing her nasal cavity, according to court documents.
Her neighbors asked what happened, and she said the couple’s nephew had broken in through the back door and struck her with a closed fist in the nose, face and head, police reports said.
The woman also said her purse, containing her phone, identification cards and about $100 was missing.
She was taken to Lutheran Hospital where her doctor told police one of her eyes was “pulverized” beyond repair and would need to be removed.
Her other eye had a detached retina, and it was unknown whether she would regain vision, the doctor said.
The woman will also need surgery to repair multiple facial fractures, he added.
Police pulled fingerprints matching Doan’s from the scene, and he was arrested Tuesday.
Doan, of the 800 block of Lavina Street, was charged Wednesday with robbery resulting in serious bodily injury, burglary resulting in bodily injury and aggravated battery, all felonies.
He was being held at the Allen County Jail in lieu of $75,000 bail.
“He took her eyesight, her serenity, her peace of mind and her purse, but he did not take her strength and courage,” Jen Fecher, the woman’s granddaughter, said in an email.
Fecher encourages neighbors and community members to follow through on suspicious behavior, chemical smells and the constant traffic of unknown people in and out of houses to help law enforcement.
“This is one of the only ways law enforcement can head off these types of people and possibly prevent such a violent crime from happening to your family member,” she said.