A rope helped police in Florida determine that a South Dakota woman made up a fake rape accusation. South Dakota police arrested the suspect after their counterparts in Florida determined that the married woman used the fake rape allegation to try to get a free STD test.
On March 8, Renee Dawn Skoglund reported to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office that she had just been raped.
"I was just raped, like 45 minutes ago," a sobbing Skoglund
The 30-year-old woman visiting Florida from South Dakota told police that she experienced car issues and pulled over to the shoulder of Interstate 75 in Ruskin near Tampa.
Skoglund told authorities that a man attacked her, blindfolded her with a towel over her head, and then tied her up. She said the attacker shoved her into her rental car and raped her.
She told police that she couldn't identify the sexual abuser because she couldn't see anything during the rape.
Detectives with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office learned that Skoglund was returning to her home in Sioux Falls on the same day of the reported rape.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said in a statement , "After a thorough search of the area for a suspect, detectives discovered the same rope was available for purchase at Walmart, which led detectives to numerous Walmart locations for further suspect information."
"Detectives identified Mrs. Skoglund on video just eight hours before the reported attack purchasing the rope," the police said.
Investigators then recovered video from several places that Skoglund visited during the time of the alleged attack. Police determined that Skoglund had made up the fake rape claim.
Two days after she reported the rape, Skoglund reported the rape to the Sioux Falls Police Department and wanted to get a free STD test. However, police in Florida informed authorities in South Dakota about the fake rape accusation.
When confronted by cops in Sioux Falls about the rape hoax, Skoglund allegedly "attempted to change her statements before eventually admitting to fabricating the entire incident."
Skoglund was taken into custody by Sioux Falls Police Department officers on March 10. She was charged with falsifying a sexual assault claim.
"She had consensual sexual intercourse with an individual in Hillsborough County," prosecutor Jessica Couvertier said in court, according to WTVT . "Then she felt guilty about it because of her marital status, and she wanted to get checked out for a sexually transmitted disease."
Judge Laura Ward told Skoglund in court, "I have never sentenced somebody for perjury, but it’s a good reminder to everyone that perjury is a crime and all the stuff you made up and the resources expended on it, could’ve been used and probably needed to be used, by other cases that were real."
Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said, "This case is truly disheartening. There are far too many victims faced with this type of trauma. This woman took advantage of our 911 emergency line and diverted attention from actual victims who need the viable resources available in these investigative scenarios."
Last week, Skoglund pleaded guilty to falsifying a sexual assault claim. She was sentenced to two years of community control – a form of house arrest – and eight years of probation.
Skoglund must also pay $17,245.26 in restitution to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office for the investigation stemming from the fake rape allegation.
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