Monday, October 11, 2010

Cops: Girl lied about kidnapping, assault

Sept. 17--NEW HAVEN -- Police Thursday confirmed that a 13-year-old girl's claims of kidnapping and possible attempted sexual assault were lies.

While taking the report "seriously" and "devoting significant investigative time" to the case, "today we are announcing that this investigation is closed after learning that said abduction and assault did not occur as reported," Lt. Julie Johnson, the head of the department's special investigations unit, said Thursday at a news conference.

"An unfortunate incident has occurred, but we can ensure the community that there is no abduction and assault suspect on the loose related to this incident," she said.

She expressed gratitude to the community for its help but declined to discuss specific details about what actually happened.

Multiple sources Wednesday confirmed the girl admitted to detectives that she made up the report Monday of being abducted from her Fulton Street home. Police found her partially clothed behind a house on Chamberlain Street with assistance from the FBI and a device that was able to "ping" her cell phone.

The alleged victim is "receiving attention for her needs" and "for the privacy of the young girl and her family we will not discuss the private matters that contributed to this case or how the details of this investigation became known," police said.

The news came as both a relief and annoyance to residents.

Ken Johnson, of 25 Chamberlain St., expressed frustration over the entire episode. When an FBI agent using an electronic device to track the girl's cell phone led to his door, the agent ordered him handcuffed.

He was freed about 10 minutes later with a curt apology, he said.

"It bothers me a lot. I'm sad that she made this up and what she put everyone through and everything," he said.

He also was upset at his treatment by authorities by being pushed up against a wall and handcuffed in front of the neighborhood.

"I can imagine what the neighbors think about me," he said.

The missing persons report prompted a massive response from law enforcement. Dozens of police officers searched for the girl and later scoured the area or held perimeters in search of a suspect after she was discovered. Two off-duty officers, Paul Kenney and Bill Coppola, responded on their own time after hearing about the alleged abduction. A police dog searched the area, and a state police helicopter circled for hours Monday.

By Tuesday, police began to have doubts about her account and she recanted her report Wednesday.

Johnson said she didn't know how much the search cost or whether the girl might be charged with making a false report.

"It's a juvenile and we won't discuss that."

[FRS COMMENT] - Now that last comment, I have a serious problem with. You certainly don't have a problem naming a man who, by inference, was falsely accused.