Polk County mother shocked to learn man who helped family file FEMA claim arrested for murder

Polk County

POLK CITY, Fla. (WFLA) – She declined to show her face, but wanted to share her story, the details of which leave her terrified, stunned and worried.

A Polk County mom is still in shock after watching a Wednesday afternoon press conference with Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.

She couldn’t believe it when the sheriff held up a mug shot.

She felt sick to her stomach. She admitted that she wanted to throw up at that moment. She recognized the man’s face.

She knew him. He had been inside her home.

He was a young man working for FEMA after Hurricane Irma, in Polk City to assist neighbors with claims.

His name is Gerjuan Jackson.

The woman and her husband invited him in their home during the process to file. They had a long conversation with him.

Nearly four months later, the mom now stood in her home, stunned.

The man she was looking at on television was now accused of murder, under arrest for allegedly killing her beloved neighbor, 68-year-old William Reiss.

“Oh my God,” she yelled to her husband. “Oh my God. This guy was in our house!”

She admits that she knew something was off that day in late September 2017. The young man with the FEMA badge was acting strange, nervous, and she says he was asking “weird” questions, wanting to discuss weapons over water damage.

She claims he asked about the number of guns they had, the crime rate nearby and the number of times her home had been broken into in the past.

That’s when this mom went “mama-bear” in a heartbeat, worried about her family’s safety.

“It was a rage that he passed a background check to work through FEMA,” she said.

Turns out, her mother’s intuition was spot-on when she met the man from FEMA.

The sheriff announced Wednesday afternoon that there had been an arrest in a recent mysterious murder in Polk City, where a man died a horribly violent death inside of his home, and a critically-injured friend of his was left to die on the side of the road, but was able to flag down three good Samaritans for help.

The sheriff explained that the young man from FEMA had befriended Reiss, a 68-year-old grandfather who just happened to be a gun collector.

After purchasing several pieces, arrest record show, the young man working for the government, drove home to Alabama, picked up two buddies and returned with murder on his mind – leaving the mom, her family and her neighbors stunned and heartbroken for Reiss’ relatives.

“There’s no words,” she said, tears welling in her eyes. “No words to comfort someone, just hold onto the memories and hold them in your heart.”

FEMA offered the following statement:

“FEMA is aware of an alleged incident that occurred in Polk County, Florida, and are looking into additional details on this matter. Our thoughts are with the families and loved ones of the victims.FEMA’s Inspection Services are handled by contracted firms, and not FEMA employees. Currently, FEMA contracts with two private sector companies for disaster survivor home inspections. Questions about individuals employed within those contracted companies, or those companies’ hiring practices, must be pursued through their individual contractors. FEMA works closely with law enforcement on a regular basis, and will provide appropriate coordination with law enforcement on this incident.”

Follow Melanie Michael on Facebook


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