Police explain false attempted abduction story

Asst. Chief Jim McLean with the Pflugerville Police Department answers questions about a false attempted abduction report.
Asst. Chief Jim McLean with the Pflugerville Police Department answers questions about a false attempted abduction report.

PFLUGERVILLE, Texas (KXAN) — Police in Pflugerville say surveillance video helped show inconsistencies in the story of a 10-year-old girl, whose story was originally checking out.

GOING IN-DEPTH // False Reports

  • Flatonia 2013: Police looked for a suspect after they say a 13-year-old girl initially reported being “kidnapped” from a Flatonia School. Although police found the kidnapping to be false, they say a Fayette County Grand Jury indicted a man for aggravated sexual assault of a child. Investigators believe the girl met the man on a social media app.
  • Georgetown 2013: A 27-year-old woman was arrested after police say she lied about being kidnapped in north Austin and taken to Georgetown.

GOING IN-DEPTH // A True Pflugerville Case

  • Last year, police in Pflugerville arrested a man they say tried to kidnap at least four young girls near elementary schools in late-2012 and early-2013. Justin Johnson has pleaded not guilty. His trial is set to begin October 23.

When police ask for your help finding a suspect, you probably expect the story behind the search to be true. However, the report of an attempted abduction in Pflugerville this week turned out to be false. Police distributed flyers with the suspect’s sketch at more than 100 National Night Out gatherings Tuesday night.

“Obviously, there is a lot of internal drive that goes into it to find the person,” said Pflugerville Police Department Assistant Chief Jim McLean.

McLean is a parent, like many officers.

“When something like this happens, there is a personal side to it for the officers that are responding, and especially if their children are small,” McLean said.

Investigators looked into the story from the 10-year-old girl. What they found initially supported her story.

“She had talked about the person had a beer bottle and was drinking beer,” McLean said. “Well, we found a broken beer bottle where she had alleged that this person, when she fought them off, [the beer] fell,” he said.

McLean says detectives went through hours of surveillance video from a nearby home. Then, they called in the girl and her parent. He says when police confronted the girl with inconsistencies, she admitted the story was not true. McLean says, in a way, he’s glad the story was fictional.

“That means that this never happened and it didn’t happen in our community,” McLean said. “You know, on the other side, there is a side of it that we wish it wouldn’t have happened because we scared a lot of people and alarmed a lot of people that probably shouldn’t have been alarmed.”

Still, McLean says he wouldn’t change how the Department acted.

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