Middleburg, Fl. - The Clay County Sheriff’s Office has determined an alleged abduction in Middleburg was a hoax.
“The young lady has, in fact, recanted her statement,” says CCSO Colonel Craig Aldrich.
We’re told 16-year-old Ankita Lavender “crafted” the story following a break-up with he then-boyfriend two days prior because she was looking for sympathy.
Lavender was found on the side of Henley Road, east of Blanding, about four hours after making a call to her father to say she had been abducted. CCSO says she maintained the “ruse” at that time, but had really acted deliberately to avoid being detected by deputies.
“It cheapens or lessens the incident when it happens to a real victim,” Aldrich says,
CCSO says about 40 investigators responded in the first two hours following the report, in addition to air resources from JSO and Fire and Rescue personnel. Aldrich estimates the cost at several thousand dollars.
A Florida Amber Alert was issued to find the teen Tuesday night. Aldrich says that was done because of the direct threat that was then apparent against Lavender- she reported to her ex-boyfriend that she was being followed and reported to her father that she had been abducted.
Aldrich says an abduction case can never be handled lightly, although false reports present a challenge.
“We don’t want to get in to that situation where we appear to be crying wolf, so that’s why this is so severe and almost ridiculous,” he says.
The teen complained about injuries because she said she was thrown from the truck, but detectives said she had no visible signs of injuries. She was taken to Orange Park Medical Center.
Aldrich says they will present a case to the State Attorney’s Office on Lavender filing a false police report, a misdemeanor charge. Because she is a minor, it will not be released whether the SAO files the charge. Depending on the decision of the SAO, Lavender’s family could be held responsible for restitution.