Seminole deputies search for man they say broke into home with children inside

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SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - Seminole County sheriff's investigators are asking for the public's help in identifying a man they said broke into a home while children were inside.

Investigators released a sketch of the man who they believe was armed with a gun when he kicked in the door of the house in the Sleepy Hollow subdivision near Longwood.

Melissa Belcher said she was horrified when she learned the man broke into her home while her four children -- ages 16, 15, 13 and 12 -- were inside.
 
"It was an absolute nightmare," Belcher said. "I got a call from my son saying there was a man standing in the living room with a shotgun."

The incident happened Monday night.

Belcher said the man kicked the door to the house open and walked about 5 feet into her living room.

"My oldest son opened up his bedroom door, wondering who was there," Belcher said.

Belcher said her son realized there was an intruder in the house so he slammed his door shut to let the man know there was someone home.

"(The man) bolted, he fled. I guess he was not expecting anyone to be at home, so he got a little surprised," said Belcher.

Once the man was out of the house Belcher's son ran to a window to watch as the man left. His mom gives him credit for foiling the would-be burglar's plans and saving his siblings.

"There is no way of knowing what would have happened had my son not responded the way he did. It's just a terrifying thought," said Belcher. "I just hope that this person can be caught."

Deputies described the man as black, 20-30 years old, 5 feet 9 inches tall with a medium build. Investigators said the man was last seen driving a red Mazda 6.

Anyone with any information about the identity of the man is asked to contact the Seminole County Sheriff's Office at 407-665-6600 or Crimeline at 800-423-TIPS (8477).