01/09/07 — Student claims abduction to skip school

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Student claims abduction to skip school

By Lee Williams
Published in News on January 9, 2007 1:58 PM

A Norwayne Middle School student is in hot water after she falsely told authorities four Hispanic men abducted her while she waited for the school bus Monday, took her to the woods and sexually assaulted her -- all because she didn't want to go to school, sheriff's officials said.

Wayne County Sheriff's Office officials received a report at about 11:30 a.m. that a 13-year-old girl had been abducted by four Hispanic men while she waited for her school bus at Nahunta Pines Mobile Home Park, Wayne County Sheriff's Office Chief Investigator Capt. George Raecher said.

"The juvenile initially reported that a dark red in color Ford Explorer stopped while she waited for her school bus," Raecher said. "The driver of that vehicle reportedly got out of the vehicle, approached her, grabbed her by the arm, dragged her into a wooded area and sexually assaulted her."

The student told authorities the men tied her up and blindfolded her. When she managed to free herself, she went to notify her mother, officials said.

"Her mother took her to Wayne Memorial Hospital. That was when Wayne County Sheriff's Office was notified," Raecher said.

Deputies and detectives were dispatched to the area where the crime reportedly occurred. They canvassed the area to gather information and evidence, identify witnesses and suspects.

Wayne County Sheriff's Detective Sgts. Carl Lancaster and Shawn Harris led the inquiry. After working on the case for about two hours, officials soon discovered the teen's story was a hoax.

"At approximately 1:30 p.m., the juvenile changed her story about the events and told officers she had lied about the entire chain of events and that she merely skipped school," Raecher said.

The teen was later charged with filing a false report, officials said.

Ken Derksen, public relations director for Wayne County Public Schools, was questioned about the student. He deferred comment to sheriff's officials.

Wayne County Sheriff Carey Winders called the incident "disturbing."

"It is disturbing that the child would make up a false statement such as this just to skip school and not realize the effect it can have on a community, and the unnecessary workload that has been placed on the sheriff's office to get to the bottom of this," Winders said. "It took five detectives and several patrol units that were working to solve this case -- that didn't happen. We've seen in other states where people have made false allegations that have disrupted a lot of lives especially if you try to identify a certain ethnic group that supposedly committed this crime."

Winders said he charged the teen because he wanted to discourage similar behavior from others in the future and restore the public's trust.

"So, the next time residents hear a similar report, they won't assume there's no truth to it or someone is crying wolf," Winders said.