After police spent weeks investigating an alleged kidnapping and rape of a teenage girl, the girl confessed Tuesday that she fabricated the story to get attention from her mother.
"In a follow-up interview, she totally recanted the story," said Detective Brian Shimmel. "It never happened."
The 16-year-old girl told police she was abducted June 13 by a man in his 40s while she was walking home from summer school. She said the man in question threatened her with a knife near the high school, forced her into a truck and drove her beyond the city limit, where he raped her.
She told police the man dropped her off near the high school and threatened to kill her if she told anyone. She said the whole thing took an hour.
Shimmel said he and other police personnel retraced her account of the day four times but the time line didn't add up. He said he canvassed the scene multiple times, interviewing neighbors, classmates and teachers, and couldn't find one witness to corroborate the girl's story.
The teenager told police she could not see the man's face because he had blindfolded her, but she contrived details about the truck she claimed was used, such as chipped paint on the hood and a dent in the door, Shimmel said.
"I had to push off a lot of other cases to work on this," Shimmel said. "We feared that there was a kidnapper out there, which took priority over other serious cases."
He said at the onset of the case that there were none of the usual red flags of a false report, such as lying to avoid getting in trouble for coming home late from school.
But concocting a story about rape to get attention also is a common excuse.
Shimmel said the girl was interviewed three times, including a two-hour session Tuesday.
Given that she eventually told the truth, Shimmel said he will not pursue charges against the girl for filing a false police report.
Bee staff writer Erin Tracy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 578-2366.