John Koster/North County Times
A sprawling courtyard echoes the Spanish flair at a massive home on Fortuna Ranch Road in Encinitas.
A 16,000-square-foot home on Fortuna Ranch Road has become a sad monument to its former owner and to those who didn't want the massive structure built in the first place, the North County Times reported.
The house fell into foreclosure in February and has been vacant for about three weeks. It was recently stripped by thieves of up to $1 million in imported fixtures, police said.
Former owner Suzy Brown said Thursday she wasn't surprised that the property, now surrounded by a security fence and patrolled by a private security guard, was ransacked.
"I warned (neighbors) that if they chased me out of town, the house was going to stay," Brown told the paper. "I warned them that it will go derelict, and it will become the monster house you always feared."
Brown's neighbors were the ones who created that moniker years ago when the 15-bedroom, 17 bathroom single-story villa began to take shape in an upscale but semi-rural neighborhood in the city's eastern Olivenhain neighborhood.
Brown, who built the house in 2004, had planned to turn it into a "recovery house" for patients looking to escape the clutches of drugs and alcohol.
The city killed that idea after neighbors complained that a residential treatment home could have no more than six occupants, far fewer than the 41 originally planned for the site.
The home slid into foreclosure on Feb. 13. An auction with a starting bid of $2.3 million garnered no bids, despite the fact that building the home cost an estimated $13 million.
Neighbors told the North County Times they're saddened and frustrated by the recent turn of events.