A Mount Moriah, N.L. family says their privacy was invaded by two RCMP officers who entered their home unannounced and questioned their young daughter about a missing girl early Sunday morning.
Cortney Pike told CBC News she and her partner, Andrew Dunphy, were awoken around 5:30 a.m. NT Sunday by the sound of steps at the top of their staircase.
"I said, 'Andrew, I think there's someone in our house," Pike said Tuesday.
"They just yelled out 'Hello.' It wasn't, 'This is the RCMP,' nothing.… Andrew jumped out of bed because he heard a strange man's voice in the house. He ran out, and it was two police officers walking down our hallway."
Pike said the police, who she learned had entered the home through an unlocked door, started asking questions about a missing girl. The couple said they had no idea anyone was missing and asked the police why they were in their home, Pike said, but didn't get a clear answer.
But Pike says she learned she and Dunphy weren't the first people police questioned in the house. Pike said her 11-year-old daughter, Nevaeh, told her she was awoken by a flashlight shining in her face.
"She said they came in her room. They opened up her bedroom door," Pike said.
"She couldn't even see who it was," she said. "To me, their first question should have been, 'Where's your mother, where's your dad, where are your parents?' But no, they were bombarding her with questions about this girl."
Pike said Nevaeh was shaken up by the incident and has had a hard time sleeping since.
After the officers finished speaking with the couple, Pike said, they walked up the street — leaving their vehicle in their driveway — and left a short time later.
Pike said she later learned that the missing girl had been reported found several hours before the police showed up at their home.
'What gives them the right?'
Pike went to the police detachment the next day looking for answers, and was told the officers were given permission to enter the home after knocking on doors and windows to no answer.
She disputes that claim, saying any kind of noise would have alerted their dog, Bear.
WATCH | Cortney Pike describes what happened in her home early Sunday morning:
"They would have had to sneak through this house for my dog not to bark. Creep up over those stairs. Because he barks at everything," Pike said.
"If you had knocked on our door, we would have answered and you could have searched everywhere.… They shouldn't have asked [Nevaeh] anything without a parent being present."
Pike says the police also told her they came to her home after receiving a report of the missing girl being seen in a red house on the street. She said there are multiple red houses on her street, including one across from her home, but none of their neighbours had any dealings with police on Sunday.
The RCMP would not answer questions about the incident but provided a statement to CBC News on Tuesday.
The statement acknowledges the missing girl had been found the evening before but says police received a report after 4 a.m. on Sunday morning that the 17-year-old was missing again and went to Pike's home based on the report.
"After a sustained period of knocking, door bell ringing and verbal communication, police entered the residence through an unlocked door, verbally announcing their presence," says the statement. "The resident owner was subsequently awakened and confirmed that the missing person was not present."
Pike says she and her partner have found a lawyer to file a complaint over the incident, saying they were shaken by the experience.
"I feel like our rights were violated. There's no reason why someone should just walk into our house," she said.
"[Police] have to follow the law as well.… Andrew told them that if that was him and he walked into someone's house looking for someone, he would have been charged with trespassing. He wouldn't have gotten away with it, so what gives them the right?"