Abandoned Austin home left to deteriorate

Brett Bachtle
Created: June 24, 2020 05:48 PM

(ABC 6 News) - In recent years, a home just outside of Austin city limits has succumbed to neglect and vandalism after the owners abandoned the property.

It’s the same house that Kathryn Dyas custom-built for her family 25 years ago. Earlier this week, Dyas and her daughter Ilsa Otto returned to the home which is now unrecognizable to them.


Since the family sold the house in 2007, Otto has been following its trail of events.

According to Otto, in 2017 a Chinese family bought the home to live in only temporarily as a member of the family sought treatment at Mayo Clinic. When winter came, they abandoned the home and returned to China. Since then, the house has sat vacant.

“I have had recurring nightmares about it for the last couple of years. Just that I’m trying to protect it and there’s intruders in my house. It’s really just sad to see because it used to be such a beautiful property,” said Otto.

Otto’s family and the community now have questions as to why the property has been allowed to deteriorate. Mower County Sheriff Steve Sandvik says the county is very familiar with the situation and it’s very complicated.

“It’s an abandoned ownership situation of a property where the property taxes are paid in full and current,” said Sandvik.

Sandvik says although they’ve reached out multiple times, contact cannot be made with the owners. With no victim to report the damage to, he says not much action can be taken.

In Lansing Township where the home resides, there are no property maintenance ordinances in place.

“The county has gone forward and hired a firm that has expertise in this area. Their job is basically to help find a creative solution to help bring a legal resolution to it,” Sandvik said.

While the family continues to grieve the loss of their former home, they hope a resolution can soon be found.

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