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False abduction report causing controversy in Jackson

JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) – A Jackson woman is in hot water and a community up in arms.

 

It all stems from a false abduction report and Facebook frenzy that's brought a lot of negative attention to a local park. 

 

Police say the woman told them she was almost abducted at Loomis Park in Jackson.

 

But later admitted she made the story up so she wouldn't get in trouble for a long lunch break.

6 News has how neighbors and the city are reacting.

 

The false police report is troubling neighbors around Loomis Park.

 

 “I just don't know how anyone could do something like that,” said neighbor Hallie Mae Hite.

 

Last week, a 31-year-old woman claimed she was eating lunch at the park and was approached by a man who said she was pretty and should be a model in Detroit.

 

She says the man grabbed her and tried to pull her into his SUV, but she escaped.

 

She returned to work told her co-workers about what happened, who then spread her story all over Facebook.

 

Posts about the incident were shared hundreds of times, a lot of them calling the park dangerous.

 

This alarmed Tammy Crocker, who helps run a summer program in the park.

 

“We were all a little bit scared, because we're here every day and we have lots of kids that come here,” Crocker said.

 

But when police got involved, officers found security video that shows the woman sitting alone in her car and not interacting with anyone.

 

Police say when the woman was questioned about this she changed her story, telling police she fabricated the abduction attempt up so she wouldn't get in trouble for taking a long lunch break.

 

Neighbors and city government believe the hoax perpetuates fears about the area that are unwarranted.

 

“Yes. This is a really popular park and I think it scared a lot of people away,” Crocker said.

 

“It makes the neighborhood look bad. I've never seen anything bad happen here,” Hite said.

 

City officials believe the woman used the park's reputation to bolster her story.

 

It comes at a time when they're already working to improve the park's image.

 

“We’re out here today going over work with a contractor to help improve the sight lines in this park, helping improve lighting in this park, and make it more user friendly for everybody,” said Assistant City Manager Jonathan Greene.

 

The prosecutor's office is now reviewing the case and the woman could face charges.

 

“I think she should have to apologize to the community,” Crocker said.


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