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Neighbors describe life next to murder accused Daniel Callihan

LORANGER, Louisiana (WVUE) – A mother and daughter who live next door to Daniel Callihan in Amite described him as strange.

Neighbors said it's been a strange experience living next door to the accused killer, telling Fox 8 they can sleep a little easier knowing Daniel Callihan is behind bars. They just want to live in peace.

The words Darci Heck never thought she would say: “My neighbor is accused of murdering a mother, kidnapping her daughters, and killing one of them.”

“He was shady and unpredictable. He was out on the streets a lot,” Heck said.

She said Daniel Callihan used a swing blade to mow the lawn. Heck said Callihan had been living in his small trailer for the past few months with a woman she believes is his accused accomplice, Victoria Cox.

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“He was unstable. He was just restless. We just didn't trust him,” said Laci Beetz.

A Ring video shows the moment Heck said Callihan broke into a nearby residence, naked, with a crossbow in his hand and a leather apron over his butt.

She told Fox 8 last month that they noticed smoke coming from the home of a disabled man up the street. There, Heck said, Callihan was asked to watch the man's cat. She believes he set the house on fire.

“I just think when the fire started, they could have caught him … The girls wouldn't have been killed now. They wouldn't be dead,” Beetz said.

When she first received the Amber Alert, her heart sank because she didn't even know that her neighbor just a few meters away was responsible.

“When they found out the little girl had died, we just cried. It could have happened to anyone, it could have happened to us. It could have been out here,” Heck said. “It broke a lot of people's hearts. My mom was very sad when I heard that.”

The community, including Heck's 12-year-old daughter Laci, was deeply shocked.

“Laci doesn't like to go out anymore. She doesn't like to go out, if she hears something she runs into the house. She just wants to do cartwheels. So it's hard. It's hard,” Heck said.

They are angry, scared and confused.

“I want to strangle this man. Really. I just want to shake him and ask: What do you think? Why?” Heck said.

“I was scared because I didn't want this to happen to us because this is my mother and I don't want anything to happen to her. She is my everything. She is the only thing I really have,” Beetz said.

Heck said Callihan lived here with his mother for a while and lived under a bridge before moving in.

She told us that Callihan asked if he could work at her dog grooming business attached to her house, to which she replied.

“Not without a drug test, you know. Thanks, no thanks,” Heck said. “A lot of my clients come back here, and a lot of them bring their kids and like to look at the dogs. And you know, I want people to feel safe.”

Heck said she was troubled by everything Callihan is accused of.

“The whole sex trafficking thing really shocked me. Really shocked, you know. Shocked. I just want to build a wall,” Heck said.

She thinks they could have done things differently.

“I'm glad he was caught. I'm glad they found him. I'm glad they found him. I'm upset that it took a little longer than I think it should have, but they caught him. He can't do it again. And I'm pretty sure he won't see the light of day,” Heck said.

We're told investigators went to the scene of the fire, but Heck believes this tragedy may not have occurred if Callihan had been arrested.

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