An 18-year-old woman in Texas who claimed she was kidnapped and raped by three black man has been arrested after she confessed to lying about the incident, police said Wednesday.
Breana Harmon Talbott ignited a sense of fear and outrage in the community of Denison, a small city about 70 miles north of Dallas, after she said three black men in ski masks were responsible for kidnapping her, taking her into the woods, and raping her, KTLA sister station KDAF in Dallas reported.
But police say her story did not add up and quickly unraveled.
The incident began about 5:30 p.m. March 8, when a man describing himself as Talbott’s fiance told police she was missing. He gave a location where her vehicle had been found, according to a statement on the Denison Police Department’s Facebook page.
Investigators began searching for the woman.
Later that evening, clad in only a shirt, bra and underwear, Talbott walked into a church where she told witnesses that she had been kidnapped and then sexually assaulted in the nearby woods, the statement said.
Police responded and Talbott told them she had been kidnapped near her vehicle by “three black males” who were wearing ski masks. She claimed that they drove her to the woods, where two of the men raped her while the third held her down, according to the statement.
As the case began attracting regional news attention, however, “Talbott’s story and allegations began to unravel. Within only a day or two, detectives had doubts as to most of Talbott’s allegations,” the statement read.
She later confessed that she staged the entire incident, according to police. Talbott also admitted the injuries found on her body were self-inflicted.
“According to Talbott’s confession, we believe the crime scene – from the initial ‘kidnapping’ scene at the apartment complex to the point of Talbott’s condition when she walked into the church – were staged,” police said.
Additionally, medical personnel who had examined Talbott found no evidence that she was sexually assaulted, authorities said.
“The Denison Police Department has determined that the alleged abduction and sexual assault case reported on March 8, 2017 was a hoax,” Police Chief Jay Burch said in the statement.
Talbott was arrested and faces a misdemeanor charge of making a false report to a peace officer. Denison police will also seek financial restitution for costs of the investigation.
“Breana Harmon Talbott’s hoax was also insulting to our community and especially offensive to the African-American community due to her description of the so-called suspects in her hoax. The anger and hurts caused from such a hoax are difficult and all so unnecessary,” Burch said.
He also apologized to those whose investigations in the department were “delayed” so personnel could focus on Talbott’s case.