A Michigan town last week went from frantically searching for a teen they feared was abducted to being thankful she was found. Now, in a more recent twist, they’re seeking answers after the sheriff’s office revealed Sunday that the teen was not in fact kidnapped.
According to earlier reports, 18-year-old Hayley Turner of Bedford, Michigan, went missing for 16 hours last week before turning up on Friday. While the search for the teen was still taking place, MLive reported that Turner had last spoken over her cellphone to a friend, saying she saw a man lying in a ditch and was stopping to help him. Then, the teen apparently said “he has a gun” and the call was disconnected.
According to WXYZ-TV, police conducted a ground and air search after Turner was reported missing.
“Hayley, if you can hear me, just please call us, please call anybody,” the girl’s worried mother said in a press conference.
WDIV-TV reported that investigators later found the girl’s abandoned car with her wallet inside. Her cellphone was a few blocks away with its battery removed. After she was found 45 minutes away Friday, less than 24 hours after her disappearance, the teen told police she escaped by jumping from the car of the person who abducted her.
WDIV, in a separate report, noted that Turner was taken to the hospital for evaluation and later went home to her family. The Turner family told the news station at this point that the teen was battling emotional issues this year.
By Sunday though, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office reported that the story changed.
A follow-up interview with one of the office’s detectives and a FBI special agent revealed that “incident did not take place, as originally reported,” a news release posted to the county sheriff’s office Facebook page said.
The sheriff’s office closed the investigation Sunday and is submitting a complaint to the county prosecutor’s office. The prosecutor’s office will determine if any charges will be brought against the teen.
“If she was in fact staging all this, um, yes,” Kim Bridge, a neighbor, told WXYZ, voicing her opinion that if the situation was a hoax, the teen should face charges.
“And I hear that there are quite a few allegations,” Bridge added.
Watch WXYZ-TV’s report about the case:
The family has not made a public comment about this recent turn of events, and the sheriff’s office said they request privacy at this time.
The story has been updated to correct the spelling of Hayley’s name.