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Stockton’s Harding Way ‘Mystery House’ Demolished

STOCKTON -- The mystery house on the corner of West Harding Way and Baker Street in Stockton is no more.

Demolition crews ripped into the side of the home Wednesday morning in front of about two dozen neighbors.

"There is no other alternative," neighbor Anita Kelly said. "They gotta take it down. No one is stepping forward."

Stockton Police Officer Joe Silva said there were a number of liens against the property and a laundry list of code violations.

Photographs from inside the home show dry rot in the walls, exposed wires and burn marks. The home was also originally a one-story home that had a second-story addition later.

"With that, there is a lot of weight going into the structure which is causing the structure to sink," Silva said.

Derrick Moore is a lender working with the property owners to pay off their debt and fix the house. In fact, Moore says they were two weeks away from getting the money.

"Sometimes, the story isn't what it looks like," Moore told FOX40. "I've been working to get that property completed and fixed up. There is a record of them pulling permits. There's actually a new permit on file that I have been made aware of that has been frozen."

The home was owned by the late Carmen Cortez, who died in 2002. Her son Arturo now owns it but has yet to go through probate for the home, so the deed still isn't in his name.

Still, the city says they have given the family opportunities to address the issues.

"The city has been working with the property owners trying to address the property for some decades now," Silva said.

Silva said code enforcement told the family back in April about demolishing the home and a judge signed off on the work.

Some neighbors were said to see the home reduced to rubble.

"It's just, dang, I thought they were going to do something with it," neighbor Tamika Williams said.