Teen who texted parents she's been kidnapped is busted for lying
Sometimes lying to your parents lands you in a timeout. You might even get grounded.
Other times, it can get you in trouble with the cops.
That was the case when a 16-year-old San Jose girl texted her parents about 2:30 p.m. Tuesday that she had been kidnapped and was at some unknown, mysterious location, according to police.
Her parents called police. They had last seen her an hour before riding away on her bicycle. Officers swooped in and scoured the Cambrian neighborhood and some of the girl's favorite hangouts.
One neighbor who asked to remain anonymous because he knows the "nice" family said he saw patrol cars and specialized police SUV units on the street for "three or four hours."
The girl was found at 7:59 p.m., according to department spokesman Officer Jose Garcia, when an officer spotted her riding her bicycle two blocks from home. She later "admitted to fabricating the story to avoid being disciplined" by her parents after she had stayed out with her friends, according to a police report.
"This used up a lot of our resources," Garcia said. "We never take these things lightly."
Garcia said seven patrol cars and officers and 13 police officers — many of them detectives — were involved in the search for the girl, including checking stores she likes and movie theaters. Morgan Hill police and Santa Clara County sheriff's deputies and volunteer search and rescue teams also were mobilized. When the girl was found, the sheriff's office was preparing to launch a helicopter.
Unfortunately, Garcia said children lie too often to their parents to avoid getting punished, and too often, police are called in to help in these type of nonemergency situations "more than we would like."
"First of all, it's a crime. It's also crying wolf, and it mobilizes so many people," Garcia said.
Peter Bellmio, senior policy adviser for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, doesn't track how often people call in with false kidnaps, but he said it is an "age old" problem that happens too often.
Texting a false kidnap, he said, is just the same as calling in a false kidnap over the phone or written message, even though it's a modern medium.
"It really makes it difficult for police who have the difficult job of telling when it's a real abduction," Bellmio said.
When the teen finally returned home, she was cited for making a false report and released to her parents, who couldn't be immediately located to find out what her at-home punishment will be.