After phone calls asking her to come out, they tried using a bullhorn. Finally officers jumped the fence and kicked in the door of the home that she had occupied for about 30 years.
Police said Tuesday was their third visit to the address. This time the visit ended with Knowell and Sylvester Jones in handcuffs, charged with trespassing.
The bank foreclosed on the home in February, realtor Pat Prendiville said, and Knowell and Jones were evicted in August, but they kept coming back and breaking into the house. The bank had been able to get the couple to leave peacefully several times before, but by Tuesday's incident, they were fed up with the recurring situation.
"We put all their personal property in storage; they have the right to get their property, we're not taking away that right" Prendiville said.
Neighbors have watched the couple's returns for several weeks.
"It's kind of sad when you see old people like that, they can't just start over," Downtes McQuarters said.
Knowell has had her share of hard times. Two of her sons were both murdered, Christopher James in 1997 and Daniel in 2003, the governor even issued a $50,000 reward in Daniel's case.
The couple was taken to the North County Jail. Although trespassing is a misdemeanor and violators would normally be cited and released, because Knowell and Jones have trespassed repeatedly, they will be kept in custody.