The Devastating Effects of Stalking: Ava Zinn’s Victim Impact Statement
The Devastating Effects of Stalking: Ava Zinn’s Victim Impact Statement

Yesterday, I was nervous as much as my family was when the defendant that showed up for his sentencing for stalking. However, it was not the first time I have had to deliver a victim impact statement in a court of law. The last time that happened Bill Clinton was President of the United States, Evan Bayh was Indiana Governor, Paul Helmke was mayor of Fort Wayne, and I was recently promoted to the 7th grade at R. J. Baskett Middle School living in Van Buren, Indiana. That was on July 27, 1995, when I faced Olivia Rozlyn Walker in the Grant County Courthouse when she was sentenced to life in prison for arson to my childhood home. Last August, Olivia Walker died in the Indiana Women's Prison.

Twenty-eight years and four months (or 10,350 days) later, I was in the same position when I faced a different defendant who stalked me. I compared the actions to what Robert John Bardo did to Rebecca Schaefer on July 18, 1989, and Kevin James Loibil to Christina Grimmie on June 10, 2016.

I delivered some of what I said in my victim impact statement to the Honorable Judge David Zent on Monday, November 27, 2023, and from the moment I was called to deliver the victim impact statement, I already had the feeling compared to being dis-enrolled from Indiana Wesleyan University on Thursday, September 27, 2001. However, I knew from what the defendant's statement before being sentenced on November 27, 2023 was no different than what Olivia Walker said before sentencing on July 27, 1995.

Nonetheless, here is my full Victim Impact Statement I wrote as part of what I delivered in the Allen Superior Court on November 27, 2023. It was never more powerful yet chilling. Note what was spoken is in bold.

Your honor:

In the interest of the court, I want to state the effects that the criminal actions of the defendant, Caleb Dahlkamp, has had on me.

First off is what do Rebecca Schaefer, Christina Grimmie, and yours truly (Ava Zinn) have in common? Prior to the crime in question, one will say they had nothing in common aside from the fact they are celebrities of some kind (Rebecca Schaefer was an aspiring actress, Christina Grimmie was an aspiring pop singer, and yours truly a broadcast journalist/MMJ and film/television producer/director as well as a retired webmaster). As of 2019, yours truly (Ms. Zinn), Ms. Schaefer, and Ms. Grimmie, were victims of stalking by crazed fans with yours truly left standing while Ms. Schaeffer and Ms. Grimmie are no longer with us.

Since the crime, as much as I would love the luxury of enjoying my home, I go there with a certain amount of fear. In addition to the already $25,000 and 10 years spent preparing for the move from Marion to Fort Wayne from 2008 to 2018, I have spent a large amount of time and sum of money safeguarding my home with as many as six on-duty security guards, five Blink indoor cameras, two Blink outdoor security cameras (which have caught the defendant in the act), and a Ring doorbell (that also caught not only the defendant in the act, but also an unrelated a rude property manager and a bullying maintenance guy), all of which have become quite successful until October 27, 2023 when my current landlord asked me to take the outdoor security cameras down just as I was starting to recover from the incident even though I have reason to believe similar crimes to what I have already experienced are going to happen again.

From the moment the defendant committed the crime until October 27, 2023, I was feeling that I had a sense of security and safety with the security cameras and without the outdoor security cameras—the same security cameras that caught the defendant in the act and the same security cameras that I had to take down at my current home, I now feel very little security and little safety in addition to the preexisting security precautions that I have put in place since at least 2002, such as leaving the lights on 24/7 (among other security measures that I won’t go into further details) (I often leave the exhaust fans in my bathroom and kitchen on as well as leaving my big television on mostly to Spotify for my cat Caprice and my dog Gabriella "Ella"). When I am at my home [with my family] (with my cat and dog and to an extent my wife and two children), I try to enjoy myself with the things I enjoy prior to the incident, but most of the time, I find myself constantly on alert, if not an extreme terror level red (the same Terror Alert Color Codes the United States Homeland Security used after 9/11). When I am away to go to visit my wife, at the grocery store, attending college (currently IvyTech Fort Wayne and pending admission to Purdue Fort Wayne), a restaurant, attending a meeting with my employees or consultants, or fulfilling my duties as a film/TV producer/director and broadcast journalist, I am also on high alert to the point where I am now considering obtaining a body cam that my security team and many FWPD officers wear as well as a bulletproof vests just to feel as safe and secure as possible.

Aside from the emotional trauma the defendant has caused, there is a significant unrelated financial and physical health impact to yours truly such as the fact I have since been diagnosed with type II diabetes and high blood pressure. Along with the aforementioned security measures I mentioned, I haven’t been to live the life that I wanted to live as I had intended to when I relocated from Marion, Indiana to Fort Wayne on the afternoon of May 14, 2018, under the law, I must divulge any criminal acts occurring in my home or around my home—whether it is disclosed by yours truly or one of my security guards.

As of today, I’m currently in the process of finding another place to live that allows the existing security measures I already implemented and finding a home that allows outdoor security monitoring of which my current landlord should’ve been aware of and finding another place to live that meets or exceeds my needs have been difficult because this is not the first time that vandalism have occurred in my presence.

The actions of the defendant have added to already catastrophic cost that I have dealt with emotionally, mentally, physically, and financially. This has deeply affected my family, the people that love me, my children (past and present), my grandchildren, my extended family, my friends in Grant County and Fort Wayne, my consultants and employees of my company because they are afraid that I could’ve been shot, stabbed, strangled, raped, molested, or beaten to death when the defendant committed the horrible act of stalking—the same stalking act that took the lives of Christina Grimmie on June 10, 2016 and Rebecca Schaeffer on July 18, 1989.

Due to the defendant’s actions and without the right support that I still need, I no longer feel anywhere as much safe anymore without assistance, whether it is that of one of my security guards, security monitoring—the latter of which is without regard to what my current lease states or even if security monitoring inside and out is prohibited by such a lease.

I already have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder due to being in five unrelated abusive relationships in 1997, 2010, 2011, 2018, and 2020; being a victim of three unrelated three rapes/sexual assaults in 2002, 2010, and 2015, two vandalisms in 1998 and 2001, and an arson in 1994. At any likelihood, I will probably remain in treatment, counseling, and therapy for the rest of my life or the next 20-25 years in addition to my own gender transition that began in 2004 as well as unrelated injuries I sustained in a bicycle accident in 2020 and a major back spasm in 2022.

The actions of the defendant have greatly impacted my life since I was dis-enrolled from Indiana Wesleyan University on September 27, 2001 in Marion because I was unable to adapt to the college life at that time and I have gone through the hardships that I went through for 16 years, losing a major scholarship, dealing with a s***-load of trauma due to the death of my mother and suicide of my brother plus 16 years of abuse I went through.

Since the incident, I have had moderate nightmares and flashbacks to the point where on most nights I am unable to sleep and take naps during the day. I will always be afraid that someone will break into my home to cause catastrophic harm to not only myself, my family, even my cat Caprice, or even my dog Ella. I have no faith or trust in some people like I did compared to nearly 25 years ago yet what the defendant did not take is my faith and my sanity. My children [Samantha (1993-2020), Thomas (1997-2006), Tiffani (1999-2021), Sheryl (1999-2009), Tabitha (2003-2018), Kenneth (2015-2018), Sierra, and Lyssa], my nieces (Leeanna, Shayla, and Renee), my nephew (Michael I "Weasel"), my grandchildren (Alisan, Michael II, Leah, Pia, and Christina), my grand-nieces (Clarissa, Siobhan, Elsie, Vanniza, Matilda "Tilly", and Cara), my grand-nephews (Bradley "Bender" and Yancy), and my six cousins (Sharon Sprinkle, Patricia Purvis, Linda Renbarger, Ragina Purvis, Sarah Zickgraf) are also afraid because they are all I have left. My children and my grandchildren do not want to go out to play when they visit me because they fear that the defendant or someone will try to hurt or even molest them. Additionally, my dog is afraid to go outside to use the restroom because she fears that the defendant or someone will try to hurt them with their hands or by using an automobile.

The horribly heinous crimes committed by the defendant also had an overall deep impact on my family who between the day of the crime to today is the fact two of my daughters—Samantha and Tiffani—passed away from unrelated diabetes complications as the stress of the crime caused by the defendant gravely impacted their health to deteriorate.

The defendant should be very damn lucky in 2023 compared to Robert Bardo in 1989 and Kevin Loibil in 2016 were as I have lived through far worse than stalking and have not been the same since the incident. Prior to the crime, I only drank an alcoholic beverage once every one to three months—today that amount has increased to a drink or two almost every week as well as the occasional drinking binges in addition to smoking cigarettes since 1997. Additionally, prior to the crime I was 140 pounds and today I am closer to 300 as I use food to cope as much as I do by smoking cigarettes outside/vaping nicotine inside and drinking beer, vodka, and Long Island Iced Tea as well as using CBD oil/marijuana as of 2021. The healing process will take me at least 30 years to fully recover.

However, despite the help that I received from the FWPD Victim Assistance and renter’s insurance, the incident caused me to lose even more than the sense of security, safety, and welfare. What the defendant stole is even worse than when a crazed fan ruins a major event. It is even worse because this is someone that I thought was a fan who appreciated my work turned out to be another Robert John Bardo or Kevin James Loibil.

I lost a few deals, yet I still managed to do well as a student about to graduate from IvyTech Fort Wayne and continuing my education to Purdue Fort Wayne without the 21st Century Scholarship I already lost in 2009.

People should not be able to commit crimes like this and get away with it. The emotional and financial impact will be felt for years to come. I believe Mr. Dahlkamp needs to spend at least three years in prison and the $10,000 fine for this crime. I know this because back in 1994, my brother was a victim of stalking, and it's time that he be held accountable for his actions.

I would ask the court to consider granting me an extended restraining order against Mr. Caleb Dahlkamp for at least 25 years to life upon his release from prison. I am afraid of him and what he might try to do to me or my home in the future. Additionally, I respectfully add to the record that, as a favor, a court order stating that I am allowed to put outdoor security cameras regardless of whether or not my current and future leases allow such cameras.

Thanks for understanding,

Aeverine Frathleen "Ava" (Zinn) Nieves (November 27, 2023 Official Victim Impact Statement)

Then it was the defendant's turn to give his statement and I knew nothing he said in 2023 made any difference as I heard a similar statement from Olivia Walker in 1995, but I remember hearing something about the "Golden Rule" but by then I knew it was already too late when Judge Zent announced the sentence of one year--I realized I already made the right decision.

I had only learned just 18 hours before I left to catch the Fort Wayne CitiLink for the Allen County Courthouse that the mother of one of my good friends unexpectedly passed away--Mrs. Paulette Battishill. It was the third such individual with ties to the Mississinewa Consolidated Schools after my high school guidance counselor and my middle school librarian, the sixth influential person of mine after Jerry Springer (one of my broadcasting idols that got me into broadcast journalism), Bob Barker (who inspired me to become a vegetarian in 2014), and Bob Knight as well as the ninth overall in 2023 alone (after my fellow Vote for the Girls Purple Team North teammate Kendra Ray, my security guard Hank Cash, and my father-in-law Phil Sorensen). I had a heavy, heavy heart going in. I had not been feeling like myself from a month earlier (on the same afternoon Hank Cash passed and a month before on 10/27/2023, everything stopped where it was and another security guard of mine, George Williamston, alerted me of a fateful letter that would eventually have all of the ingredients of what came to be.... Fort Wayne's Version of 9/27.

I do sincerely thank my security guards of Hank Cash (posthumously), George Williamston, and Rachelle Walters for making the move from Marion to Fort Wayne in 2018 and I knew they were the right security guards when my late mother hired Hank and George in 1999 as well as hiring Rachelle in 2009. Additionally, with my cat Caprice and dog Ella on alert, I knew Caprice and Ella were going to be heroes.

That being said, moving forward from this point on, I have made a decision not to renew my lease at my current home after June 1, 2024 despite my best efforts to get things resolved and with the fact that what I know what my best interests are for my family, my family, my employees, and my consultants, the environment in my current neighborhood on the northeast side of Fort Wayne on Saint Joe Road is no longer living up to my expectations.

I have simply run out of options and have no quick options to improve things at my current home at the moment until I find a home that is willing to work with me without issues or problems. I am planning to begin the process to find a new place for Caprice, Ella, and myself (as well as to a lesser extent my wife Breeanna and my twin daughters Lyssa and Sierra on a part-time basis as Breeanna has her own place and is currently not on my lease as Caprice and Ella are on my lease) to live that does meet the needs with the Section 8 Voucher, but that will take four to six months at most.

In the end, I feel that I know I have made the right decisions after November 27, 2023--a day that will forever live in Fort Wayne infamy as much as September 27, 2001 was when I lived in Marion.

NOTE: In the fall of 2021, I incorporated this story into a three-part season two episode of Caprice & Ella.

Caprice & Ella (season 2 episodes 5-7, original air date: August 19, 2021)

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