Kathy Rowe, 53, says she fell in love with a home in 2011 that she thought was perfect for her family, especially for her severely disabled daughter, and her husband who had recently suffered a massive heart attack. But when another couple outbid her, the onetime "San Diego's Top 50 Mother of the Year" honoree embarked on a year-long reign of terror against the couple.
Among the things she says she did for “payback” were listing the house for sale online, stopping their mail, sending prank packages that cost them thousands of dollars, advertising a party at their house, sending Valentine's Day cards to neighbors from the husband, and posting sex solicitations online on behalf of the wife, even inviting strangers to just show up at the home while the husband was at work.
Rowe pleaded guilty to a felony stalking charge; in exchange for her plea, prosecutors dismissed felony charges of solicitation for rape as well as other misdemeanor charges. She was sentenced to a year of electronic home surveillance, five years probation, and ordered to stay away from the couple for 10 years.
Now, in an exclusive daytime interview, Rowe reveals to Dr. Phil what she claims pushed her over the edge, including sleep deprivation. "There were so many things needing my help and my attention, I just became exhausted,” she says. “I was working full time and then doing my husband's work at night, and dealing with my daughter, who had very severe school issues, and then my best friend became sick and her disabled son needed care. So I was, literally, like, running myself ragged and trying to exist on two hours sleep, and it unfortunately affected my thinking. I thought I could cope with it and deal with it. I didn't realize how poorly I was dealing with it until all of this happened."
In the video above, Rowe looks back on what she claims initially motivated her to act out against the couple who had moved into the home Rowe claims was her "dream house." At the time, she says she thought it was "funny, not harmful" to list the house on Zillow, but she also acknowledges that her motivation was to "annoy and embarrass them with the neighborhood."
"They didn't mean to harm me,” Rowe says, “but them getting the house did harm me. It's a little bit of payback, so it would make the pain less ... I'm going through so much pain so if I cause someone else a little bit of pain, it equalizes it or helps me feel better."
She tells Dr. Phil, "I'm actually a very nice person who did really horrible things." Is she truly sorry? What message does she have for the couple? And does she still want the house? Dr. Phil's interview with Rowe airs Friday — check local listings and watch more here.
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