COEUR d'ALENE - When Leah Watson, 24, returned to her home outside Blanchard last week, a day after spending the Thanksgiving holiday with her mother in Coeur d'Alene, something was missing.
The 1990 Fleetwood Travel Trailer she was living in with her 3-year-old daughter, Addison, was stolen. In addition to having all of her possessions taken, Watson's three pets were missing: a one-year-old boxer named Honor, a cat named Ninja and a turtle named Nickel.
"They literally hooked up to my trailer and just drove away," Watson said. "There's really no way you can prepare for something like this. I was left with only what I had in my car. They took my entire life."
Stealing the trailer required the thief to re-inflate the trailer's back tires and cut the hitch lock.
"They weren't just in and out," Watson said. "They also rearranged a lot of the cars that had been parked in the back of the property. It's almost like it was planned."
Watson is now staying with her mom in Coeur d'Alene and commuting to Spirit Lake for work. She said with everything taken, explaining things to her daughter has been heartbreaking.
"I can't lie to her about it," Watson said. "She keeps telling me she just wants to go home and keeps asking me about all of her stuff. I have to just say 'I'm sorry babe, it's gone.'"
Addison is also asking about the family pets.
"They weren't just mine; they were hers," Watson said. "Me and my daughter raised those animals together."
According to Watson, Honor would have been outside during the theft of the trailer. The cat and turtle were inside.
"I'm really worried they did something to the dog," Watson said. "It makes me sick just thinking about what they could be doing."
Watson, who was working to purchase the trailer from her mother, first moved to the property in Blanchard three months ago. Her then boyfriend's family friend owns the property and she said that is what prompted her to move there.
"I'd been trying to get out of that area and move closer," Watson said. "I was trying to stay there for winter and move after. I figured if I stayed there through the winter it would be easier - but I was wrong."
During the three months Watson lived on the property she said she had a "weird" arrangement with the land owner - who often helped her with maintenance on the trailer, brought food and toys for her daughter and would only occasionally ask her for rent money.
"I asked him (about the theft) and he told me he had been sleeping all day and didn't hear anything," Watson said.
After discussing the theft with her landlord, Watson contacted the Bonner County Sheriff's Office.
"The police came and took pictures and there were tracks and footprints in the snow," Watson said. "They told me there was nothing we could do at the moment and we had to wait and see if someone comes forward with some information."
Police told her it was likely that someone took her trailer to live in, and they wouldn't try to sell it.
Along with allegedly stealing the trailer for a place to live, the thief also took countless memories and important personal records.
"This could haunt me for years and years afterwards," Watson said. "I have nothing left."
Watson works full time as a caregiver at Rose Terrace Country Homes in Spirit Lake. She said she has been working there for three years.
"I just really like taking care of people and making their life comfortable," Watson said. "I'm really attached to the people up there."
In the wake of the theft and losing everything, it is now Watson who is receiving care. She said friends and family have been rallying around her - providing her and her daughter with clothing and support.
"I had been losing faith in people prior to this," Watson said. "But this has really shown me that there are good people around."
Watson said she hopes that someone will see the pets and either contact the Bonner County Sheriff's Office or send her an email at email@example.com. Honor is a blond boxer with a white chest that was wearing a red, yellow and green collar when he went missing. Ninja is a black and gray cat.
Leah Watson holds her pet turtle, Nickel. Nickle was in Watson's trailer when it was stolen.