MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Zachary Todd Anderson, 25, is now charged with the kidnapping, sexual assault and killing of 5-year-old Alanya Ertl.

We are learning more about Anderson’s behavior from the time he was a teenager, including his targeting of a former Monticello neighbor.

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Court records show a troubled young man who, at the age of 16, tried forcing himself on his neighbor.

He would eventually be caught and convicted after breaking into her home as she slept upstairs.

WCCO spoke with his victim, who asked that we not reveal her name.

“The notes would be on my truck window,” she said. “‘Would you want a boyfriend?’ And [Anderson] left a phone number.”

She was 31, and living next door to Anderson and his mom. She just laughed it off at first as behavior of a stupid teenager.

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Zachary Anderson (credit: CBS)

Zachary Anderson (credit: CBS)

“And I just kind of would, you know, just show people … ‘Look at this, I got a secret admirer,’ you know. It was a joke, you know, so I wouldn’t do anything,” she said.

But Anderson grew more aggressive, from stealing her cigarettes, to showing up one December night dressed only in boxers.

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“And I was like ‘What are you doing?'” she said.

Anderson demanded to have sex, and tried forcing his way through her front door.

“And [Anderson] said … ‘You know you want to!’ And I’m like ‘No, no, no I don’t,” she said.

Months later, while she and her kids slept, Anderson removed a window screen and climbed in, stealing her cellphone.

He pleaded guilty to burglary and theft, and was ordered to write an apology letter as part of his sentence.

“What it boiled down to was about two sentences that said that he was sorry for scaring me,” she said. “That was it.”

And like so many, she is now in disbelief.

“I felt sick, I felt, like, shocked and sad,” she said.

She never thought Anderson’s behavior a decade ago would end in such an unthinkable act.

The woman told WCCO she is speaking out in hopes it may encourage others to step forward, saying it is hard to believe Anderson did not target other women or children in the decade between her incident and the killing of Alayna Ertl.

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