ROWLETT, Texas — Few people believed Jovon Humphrey when she wrote about her close encounter with a mountain lion last Sunday. The Rowlett mother of five has very few dull moments in life but what happened last week will be something to remember forever.
"I was in disbelief. Then it turned into shock and then it turned into fear," Humphrey said.
It was 1 a.m. Sunday and Humphrey was sitting in her vehicle under the carport. She had had a long day and was on the phone with a friend when she noticed something out of her peripheral vision. At first, she thought it was one of her children and was prepared to scold her child for being out of bed that late.
"I let the window down and when I turned I said, 'that's not a kid,'" she said.
She saw a large beige-coated mass walking in between her two vehicles parked in the carport. The top part of the animal stood as tall as the bottom of the passenger's side window.
Jovon stayed in her car and immediately called Rowlett police. She recalled what she said to the dispatcher on the line: "I'm sitting in my car and there is a mountain lion in my backyard. She says 'huh?' I said there's a mountain lion in my backyard."
Texas Parks and Wildlife tells WFAA there hasn't been a mountain lion sighting in the metroplex in at least two decades. There were sightings in Grayson and Erath counties in 2018 and 2014 but that was it. Mountain lions are native to Texas but mostly stay in the western and southern parts of the state.
Thanks to neighbors Stephanie Higgins and her boyfriend Logan Aduddell Humphrey's story didn't seem so far-fetched anymore. Their security cameras near Lake Ray Hubbard captured the male juvenile mountain lion.
"[I thought] it was just a hefty bobcat and then as it started to walk across the screen I was like, 'that's a big one...I don't think so,'" Higgins said.
Humphrey tells WFAA she saw the footage and says it was definitely the same lion she saw that early Sunday morning. She has not gone into her backyard since. Jovon believes everything happens for a reason and this will be a moment she remembers for a very long time.
"To me it was spiritual. There's only so many times in your life that you're going to see something like this," she said.
WFAA talked with Sam Kieschnick with Texas Parks and Wildlife. He says mountain lions are native to the region but are so incredibly elusive. Sightings even in areas in Texas where they are prevalent are very rare. He says if you do find yourself in an encounter with a mountain lion, stand your ground and do not run. Also, try to get loud and be intimidating.