STOCKTON (CBS13) – A Stockton teenager is being hailed for her bravery again after a shocking situation in the shower of her own home.

“I used to be happy at home and everything’s fine, and now I’m just scared to be here,” said Sophie Castaneda.

The girl came face to face with a burglary suspect, and now she’s helping police crack the case.

Sophie was scared and terrified for her life as she hid in the bathtub, but this 13-year-old girl made sure she got a good look at the alleged burglar before he got away.

“We got her to be here in the home to be here and protect us,” mother Nikki Castandea said of the new family dog.

Elle is the latest addition to the Castenda family. But she wasn’t here the day Sophie was home alone and came face to face with a burglar.

“Every morning I think, ‘I hope that doesn’t happen again,’ ” said Sophie.

She hid in the bathtub when the thief got inside, and during those frightening moments she thought about “what my mom would be thinking if she saw me dead in the bathtub.”

Sophie says the bad guy found her hiding spot, and when he pulled back the shower curtain, he just stared at her for five long seconds.

“First I noticed his big lips, and I was like ‘OK, I got that.’ And then, I had to see the rest of his face, and then I’d seen his stare and there was no emotion or soul. There was just this blank stare,” said Sophie.

Then, he took off. A week later, Sophie and her mom were online when they saw a picture of Lataurean Conway. Stockton police posted it on their Facebook page.

Conway had been arrested for breaking into someone else’s home down the street. So they called police.

“I said ‘That’s him for sure, that’s him,’ ” said Sophie.

“The picture of him, just the picture of him, of this 31-year-old, the eyebrows, the face, looking at my daughter in the shower, I don’t know the closeness. It’s creepy, its really, really creepy,” said Nikki.

Investigators say Conway will now be charged in Sophie’s case. It’s a relief to this family and, most importantly, a small sense of comfort to a girl who fought her own fears and has helped catch an accused criminal.

“I feel good that I could help police,” said Sophie.

Sophie says she’ll finally be able to get a good night’s sleep with Elle by her side and the suspect behind bars.

Investigators say they will be looking to see if Conway is connected to any other cases.


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