UPDATE: I have a neurological condition called synesthesia. What I thought was “reading body language” was an actual shape around the stalkers. They were a square – one day a square literally walked into the bar.
The surveillance footage shown in this post is what helped me understand that. It only took me 14 seconds to recognize I was being stalked – that’s it. Just 14 seconds. It stopped becoming “help me find this person,” and more HOW THE HELL DID I DO THAT?!!?!
After the diagnosis, I then worked with an animator to describe how I see the world.
Then, the world responded (specifically Instagram) and the animation (which technically was an ad for this website) went viral.
This is what happens when trauma becomes your teacher.
No one wants to be stalked, obviously, but had it not been for this life experience I wouldn’t have the diagnoses that I now have (I’m also autistic) nor would I be able to harness those “powers” now to help people.
Being stalked by strangers COMPLETELY changed my life. I’m going to assume that’s not what their intentions were.
Now onto the post (originally published on July 15, 2021) …
there are two very serious criminal investigations happening right now.
One is my case of stalking, and the other involves someone I worked with for 4.5 years and was co-founder of two of his companies.
I was his right hand and built the company with him from day two.
Well, that is until he fired me. Twice.
I legally will not comment on the allegations, but I will speak my own truth.
I love how the media keeps praising Forbes … don’t get me wrong, I’m featured in this article too and looked super cool to my parents … but everyone under the age of 40 knows it’s a dying brand due to lack of credibility. At least be neutral and acknowledge that the article that featured him HAS A DOG as getting top credit for the “DropIn Team.” That’s my dog – my soulmate – my furrever homie who was head of HR. Realize this as a starting point and we can have an honest conversation.
I had no idea any of this was happening.
It was none of my business (even though it LITERALLY was my business).
In November of 2019 when he fired me I walked away.
Technically we were on a walk, and I told him if I was being fired he had to look me in the eye … so we sat down at a plastic table outside KFC where he spoke his version of the truth.
I COMPLETELY disagreed with what he was presenting but knowing him (as best as he lets anyone know him) I was very aware of the “mode” he was in, and knew this was the moment within yourself when you go “this is enough.”
I didn’t even defend myself.
I walked back into the office, shocked obviously, told the team I had been working with what occurred.
I said the words “I’ve been fired.”
I hugged the team and shook hands one last time saying “thank you for this opportunity.” (He was on the phone while I did that.)
My only correspondences with him since that day have been the gradual process of “handing things off.”
I hadn’t even thought about him until June 26, 2021, when I filed yet another police report (technically only an “incident report”) stating that I’ve been followed by proxies. Meaning not the person themselves but a team of people.
(Hilariously, I only know that word because I used it over and over in the pitches for the company I helped build.)
I knew the police wouldn’t do anything.
I didn’t need them to.
I just needed the proof that I talked to them to do what I actually needed to do next.
For the first time though, they believed me (I obtained surveillance footage) and told me I needed a restraining order immediately … they even gave the address of where to go.
Having been in this rodeo before (more on that in a second) I knew I had to (reluctantly) hire a team of my own private investigators to stalk BACK first.
Louis was on a list of three people I gave to a team of private investigators. Coincidentally all in tech, but Louis is the only one I have been publicly linked to.
(The investigators keep saying “this isn’t normal.” They’re actually taking my case personally – and everything you are about to read is STILL happening.)
On day two of the investigation, I was asked if I had googled his name.
(They also asked about the other two individuals … but I’ll get to them later.)
Arrogantly, I answered, “I built his google profile” (which was a super cool and unique life experience since he was in prison when google became a “thing”).
Horrified, I did a direct search for his name, and said: “This is bad.”
Even just seeing his name next to “attempted murder and kidnapping charges” was completely chilling.
I personally built DropIn’s website (well, not this version).
NEVER did I ever think content like this would be housed there.
This was my “good friend” of almost 10 years.
4.5 spent of which were spent in startup mode …
If that’s the case then why would I give my good friend’s name to the private investigators?
Because he told me (and a lot of other people) he hires them … (regularly).
And when people tell you what they do to other people you should listen.
They might do it to you too.
I’m getting ahead of myself … (here’s the song I’m listening to while writing) … maestro …
I remember vividly where I was the first time I knew someone was following me.
I had gone out with my two girlfriends to celebrate Mother’s Day.
We went out to dinner to this fairly posh spot in WeHo and as we were sitting at our table, I noticed a man a handful of feet away with really weird body language.
He was sitting at the bar by himself – which isn’t unusual.
What caught my attention was WHERE HE was paying attention to … it made no sense.
He was turned slightly toward us with his legs crossed and he kept looking up – like there was something there.
Only there wasn’t.
No TV, star galaxy light (which once you have those there’s no going back), or even interesting wallpaper.
It was a dark restaurant and while I didn’t see a phone, I could tell he wasn’t “looking” at something, he was actually “listening” to someone.
It was weird enough that when we left, right before we took this picture (on May 13, 2017), I asked if they noticed him too.
They both said no.
“He was listening to someone’s conversation. It was weird.”
At that point, I didn’t think it was us – why would I? Hollywood also has a nickname of Hollyweird so I didn’t put a lot of thought into it. Like most things in life, I just made a note and kept on keeping on.
I then began to notice a pattern. I would enter into a bar/ restaurant/ whatever and 15 minutes or so in (long enough to get settled), a single male would walk in and sit down very closely.
Again, not super weird, but imagine it happening every.single.time.you.went.somewhere … anywhere.
I was never alone, and I go to some really random and eclectic places.
I was beginning to recognize a pattern and I didn’t like it.
I then called my father who has in the past used private investigators.
“Why do you hire private investigators?” I asked.
(He, for a long time, worked as an attorney for insurance companies.)
“The company would hire them to see if people were committing fraud. Mostly for disabilities. If you’re saying you’re disabled and you’re also training for a marathon – we would use that surveillance to deny the claim.”
<tangent> It was funny, at bring your daughter to work day, we would sit in an empty office and watch the surveillance from the investigators. Looking back, I’m sure it was super illegal but at the time it was awesome. They’d even do the “what’s wrong with this picture?” and a handful of 7-10-year-olds would chime in with the answers. </tangent>
“I think I’m being followed,” I admitted barely believing the words I was saying.
“What are you noticing?” he asked without judgment.
“I’m never alone. It’s the same pattern anywhere I go.” (I then admitted what I noticed.)
“You are in the C-suite of a startup, your CEO is a convicted felon (which I never judged – quite the opposite, everyone deserves second chances), and you’re dealing with high-level executives at insurance companies.
You’re more likely than not being followed to assess what your liabilities are.
Make notes on what you see, but I wouldn’t worry about it too much.”
I listened and thanked him for not judging.
“It’s such an uncomfortable sentence to even say ‘I think I’m being followed.’”
“Daughter, you have ALWAYS had followers,” he said in jest.
<tangent> I’m really proud of this fact (even though he barely admits it) … my father, Owen Eagen (and West Hartford, CT police officer Schwab) set legal precedent in the state of Connecticut for FOUR LIFETIME restraining orders. Not only a first of their kind but also the first given to a non-sexual relationship.
The orders are still active, and at age 16/17 I had to not only live through the horror of the incidents but then both the criminal and civil trials.
I, at length, had to explain what email screenshots were (and the legitimacy behind how they were captured … subpoenaing tech companies I’m sure are a nightmare now, but this was in 2001/2002), what an AOL profile was (where they posted the harassment), and even handled the brutal weight of judgment hearing “this is just a catfight” from men who were put in positions of power, but weren’t capable of seeing the reality of women and not the “fantasy” they wanted/ knew “of them.”
It wasn’t a catfight. It was CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR.
I hate to say that we “won” because nothing felt like winning. I did though revisit the courthouse when I was 18, and met up with the juvenile advocate who said countless more lives were saved with restraining orders similar to mine.
These were the charges we were able to prove.
It was not easy. </tangent>
The consistency of the pattern I currently was witnessing was the only pattern that was inconsistent.
Sometimes it would go on for weeks, or months, then it would stop … I would think it was over … and then it would start back up again.
At the time I didn’t get “danger” vibes, it was just a revolving door of people exhibiting the same EXACT pattern of behavior.
It was surreal to not only see but predict the behavior of people I didn’t know.
I gained the strength to start to tell my friends about it.
“I think I’m being followed,” I admitted to my best friend Kamala while sitting at Rascal on La Brea (RIP – we miss you Sandy) one happy hour.
“What makes you think that?” she asked.
“Watch, a man is about to enter and will sit down next to us.”
Mind you, it was a fairly busy night, and Kamala is drop-dead gorgeous, so OF COURSE, men would want to be breathing in her orbit.
“He’s not going to say anything to anyone (except the server) and will have incongruent body language.
He’ll look like he sticks out like a sore thumb – it’s like having the Lifetime Movie version of a private investigator following you.”
“Okay,” she said as, like clockwork, a man in a chapeau walked in with a book and sat down RIGHT next to her.
“THAT’S HIM!! He’s tonight’s investigator,” I said loudly enough for him and half the bar to hear.
“Now what do we do,” she said partially laughing but also genuinely curious?
“We live the SHIT out of our lives that’s what.
Let’s get another round and talk about our periods and pooping patterns.”
Puns are always intended.
She and I laughed which was all we could do at the time.
All that I’m noticing is patterns and body language, I have no real proof other than what my own eyes are seeing.
<tangent> I truly have a talent for spotting and reading body language. Just last night, I spotted one of my friends from a moving bus not based on what he was wearing, or his face (which was behind a mask) but solely on the way he was standing. I RAANNNN up to the bus like a CRAZY PERSON to say hi. He was completely shocked and couldn’t believe I spotted him. </tangent>
I’m not sure if Kamala believed me at that moment, I never asked.
I didn’t need to, I love her dearly, and even just saying what I was seeing was helpful.
Later that week, we went to a different watering hole for another happy hour. (These hours are starting to sound sad, and not happy.)
We sat down in the corner of the bar, and again, like clockwork, in comes the investigator … only this time it was the EXACT SAME ONE FROM EARLIER IN THE WEEK.
It’s not only that that man was there, but it also was the body language he was exhibiting (the SAME EXACT PATTERN), AND in SUCH a different type of place.
If Rascals was like an apple store (not literally but one that sells apples) this place would be like one that sells oranges.
If I went to an apple store and an orange store and saw THE SAME PERSON THERE IN THE SAME WEEK I’d probably have a similar response.
What was my response?
Rage. Pure. Unbridled. Rage.
I immediately hopped down from the barstool and walked up to him breaking my own pattern but saying as LOUDLY as I could “WHY ARE YOU FOLLOWING ME?”
Now, if a chick walks up to you at a bar and says WHY ARE YOU FOLLOWING ME? What would your response be?
A) Go home you’re drunk.
B) No I’m not, and I’m going to move over here.
C) You are crazy – leave me alone.
D) All of the above
All of these are valid. His answer wasn’t.
His answer was “I’m waiting for my wife who is doing laundry … whatever whatever whatever.”
He went into this ACTUAL laundry list of EXACTLY where he came from and where he was going.
WHY WOULD ANYONE SAY THAT?!
My friends and fellow patrons noticed how upset I was getting, as my friend Eddie asked if I needed help.
“YES,” I said LOUDLY. “THIS MAN IS PART OF A GROUP THAT HAS BEEN FOLLOWING ME FOR OVER A YEAR. I’M SICK OF IT.”
Eddie then got very protective and placed his actual body in between where Kamala and I were sitting so he physically couldn’t come near us.
“This is happening, this is actually happening,” I said to Kamala somewhere from a stage mixed with grief, exhaustion, confusion, and fear.
I then for the first time processed not what they were doing with the information (I truly had/have nothing to hide) but just that a file somewhere exists with the information living in it.
Is it labeled with my name?
Am I just a number?
It was a combination of creepy curiosity of the literal label and SHEER RAGE that I even have to THINK ABOUT THIS.
I’m my own label maker.
WHO THE FUCK DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?
I don’t remember much else from that night.
I don’t remember him leaving.
I don’t remember when we left.
I just remember it was the first time that I knew FOR SURE I was being followed.
“Who do you think is behind it?” she asked.
“I know one person who hires private investigators regularly, he admitted it to a bunch of us.”
“Who?” she asked.
“Why would he follow you?”
“I have no idea – I haven’t gotten to the why yet,” I said both inflated and deflated at the same time.
“I’m sure I know other people who hire private investigators but this has gone on for over a year at this point. The cost ALONE makes this a 1% of a 1% situation.”
“What are you going to do?” she asked.
“I’m going to have to confront him. I’m going to ask him why this is happening and see what he says.”
Kamala knew about his background as she asked “if I was sure about that?”
“Why would I be working for someone I didn’t trust? He’s my friend and mentor. I mean, I’m new to asking people the question ‘why are you following me?’ but I know I can do it. I don’t judge people on their pasts.”
Around 10 am the next morning, I placed the call to my friend, mentor, and colleague asking a question I couldn’t even believe I was asking …
“Are you paying people to follow me?” I said shaken and stirred at the same time.
“No, Jen,” he said immediately. “Why would I follow you?”
I … I … I gotta go I said as I burst into tears. If it’s not him then who is it I thought for the first time now genuinely feeling like I was in danger.
I grabbed the keys to my car and called my parents.
“I’m being followed,” I admitted.
“WHAT,” my father asked completely surprised?!
“THAT’S STILL GOING ON? THAT’S NOT FOLLOWING THAT’S STALKING.”
“I’m going to the police,” I said as I hung up letting them know I would call them back after.
I’m going to the police I admitted to myself.
I’m going to the police to tell them I am being stalked and I don’t know by who.
Again, I didn’t look at it from a “why” perspective just the reality that it was happening and the physicality of it all sinking in.
This is happening. This is happening. This is a thing.
“You have to speak your truth.
You have to speak your truth.
You have to speak your truth.”
— I SAID TO MYSELF IN A TRANS LIKE STATE.
All logic at this point left my body.
I was coincidentally wearing this EXACT shirt while speaking my truth to officers.
I know IN that moment I “owned it” but the sweat and tear stains told a different story.
“OWNING IT” was about vulnerability and confidence in vision – not with conclusive evidence of the “why.” Unlike in algebra – I didn’t need to solve for “Y.”
Nor did I have to actually “solve” the equation, I only had to present it.
Which I have.
For the past 4 1/2 years.
Read these texts … and look at the surveillance footage, I’m STILL being aggressively and brazenly stalked …
This is my story. It is only part one of it … but I will continue to speak my truth LOUDLY to as many people that will hear it until this stops.
Please help me.