A Killer Nanny

Charlotte Foster wanted a male nanny who’d play sports with her sons. She got an escaped murderer.

After the macaroni incident, Foster's husband was suspicious, so he got the nanny's social security number and conducted his own background check.

The Friday ending the nanny's first full work week, Foster was co-chairing an auction at her son's school. She picked the kids up, came home and had 15 minutes to change clothes and head back to the auction.

"What are the kids doing tonight?" her husband asked. She told him they were going to rent movies and video games and order pizza. Her husband said he'd take the kids to Blockbuster while she changed clothes, because he didn't want the children to leave the house with the nanny.

The nanny didn't know how to make macaroni and cheese.
David Terrill
The nanny didn't know how to make macaroni and cheese.
Foster hired the nanny to play soccer with her sons.
David Terrill
Foster hired the nanny to play soccer with her sons.

"This guy's not checking out," Foster remembers him saying. "I've got a security guard down the street in case he tries to leave the house."

They went to the auction, came home, paid the nanny for the week and told him they would see him Monday. At 11 p.m. they piled the three boys into the car and drove three hours to their house in Salado.

Foster says the companies for which the nanny claimed to have worked in Brazil had never heard of him. On Monday morning the background check showed that Davis had a criminal record in California -- a felony charge involving a firearm -- and had filed a complaint that someone had stolen his identity.

"We didn't know who he was. We just knew he wasn't who he said he was," Foster says.

Accompanied by a police officer and his company's head of security, Foster's husband told the nanny they had discovered that he wasn't Stephen Glenn Davis and terminated his employment.

That evening, the Fosters sat their sons down and told them the nanny had been fired. Because she was afraid Davis might try to kidnap her children, Foster told the boys that if they ever saw Stephen at school or a soccer match they should run in the opposite direction as fast as they could, screaming for help. "He knew our whole routine," Foster says.

The Fosters wrote a severance check and delivered it to Nanny Professionals Inc. But Mathews never gave it to the nanny; she says she was afraid that if he got his money, he would leave town. Plus, she didn't think he necessarily deserved a severance check because he had been hired on false pretenses.

"I kept stalling in hopes that I could get some kind of law enforcement person to pick him up," Mathews says. "I was afraid he would disappear and we wouldn't be able to find him."

The nanny left an angry message on Foster's husband's cell phone saying he was going to get the money the Fosters owed him.

"Then I'm back on high alert," Foster says.

The head of security picked up the check from Mathews and took it to the nanny. He told the nanny that the Fosters are honorable people and if anything happened in the future, the Fosters would not be responsible.

"As he's walking out the door, three federal agents are walking in," Foster says. "If this guy gets out of jail, he's not going to look for the nanny company -- he's going to look for us."

In the summer of 1999, Californian Stephen Glenn Davis applied for a loan but was denied because he had bad credit. He ordered a copy of his credit report and discovered that someone claiming to be Stephen Glenn Davis lived in Houston and had applied for a passport. The real Davis didn't have a passport and had never tried to get one.

He contacted the San Francisco Police Department and made an official complaint on August 18, 1999, with the San Francisco field office of the Diplomatic Security Service, the law enforcement branch of the Department of State, which handles identity fraud, passport fraud and terrorism.

A copy of the false passport was sent to the Houston field office on October 27, 1999. The next day, special agent Jay Smith and other federal agents went to the nanny's apartment. "We didn't know who this individual was," Smith says. "We just knew who he wasn't."

The nanny lived in a two-bedroom 1,000-square-foot apartment at The Lodge on Eldridge Parkway. The sprawling complex's buildings are covered in gray rocks to create a sitting-in-the-Alps-sipping-cocoa-before-hitting-the-slopes feel. There are free mountain bike rentals, an indoor racquetball court, a peanut-shaped pool and Tuesday-night fitness parties.

The nanny's building is located in the back of the complex. Coincidentally, Smith says, the agents arrived at apartment 2116 just moments after the Fosters' severance check was delivered.

When the nanny opened the brick-red door, agents recognized him from the fraudulent passport photo. Smith explained that they were investigating a case of identity fraud and told the nanny that a person in California had possibly stolen his identity. The nanny invited the agents inside and sat down at his kitchen table. When they asked if he had a driver's license or any identification, he produced the fake passport, which constituted a federal felony, Smith says.

In investigating identity theft, agents ask questions to which most people know the answers: the name of their first-grade teacher or their high school mascot. If a man claims to be from Mississippi, Smith asks him to draw a map, tell him the state capital and point to its location on the map. "If that is truly who they are, they're gonna know answers like that," Smith says.

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