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Girl reports almost being abducted, then admits she made it up

Posted at 8:00 PM, Jan 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-08 20:00:29-05

LEE COUNTY — A report about a man trying to abduct a teenager in Lee County turned out to be completely made up.

Deputies said the teen admitted to the false police report when they spoke with her again Friday morning.

The report was filed Thursday night and deputies got to work immediately going from door to door in the neighborhood on Braman Ave., trying to find information about the man who the girl said tried to abduct her.

We spoke with a former police chief who said this is the kind of case where officers don’t want to waste any time.

"We’re talking a juvenile alleging an abduction. This is a serious crime. So police begin to actively investigate these cases immediately," said Walt Zalisko, a former Police Chief in Oak Hill, FL.

Zalisko wasn’t surprised when we told him officers were out in the neighborhood early Friday morning knocking on doors. One of the neighbors they spoke with was Bentley Heylinger, because his house has security cameras.

"Two other cops showed up, around 10 or so, and it was like adamant about, hey we really need to see this because we’re trying to get this guy. No problem, I got out of my bed, I brought them inside, and I ran the cameras back," said Heylinger.

In Heylinger's footage, you can see the girl walking through the shot. Crime Stoppers even released a picture of the car they believed the suspect was driving.

Zalisko said it’s a good thing the girl came forward when she did.

"It’s definitely a benefit that she came forward and admitted to it. The worst side of this could have been that the police could have found somebody matching a similar description, brought them to her, and then she would just continue in her lies and say, that’s him," said Zalisko.

And while the neighborhood may be back at ease, Zalisko said the girl and her parents could have a court hearing in their future.

"They could press charges, which would be a misdemeanor charge, and then have them be fined. Have a fine imposed to pay restitution for the amount of money spent on police resources," said Zalisko.

We did ask why the girl made up the crime, and a representative with Crime Stoppers only told us the girl has "issues" that needed to be dealt with. There’s no word yet if LCSO plans to press any charges for the false report.