Robert Nunez hadn’t been seen for three days when his mother got an alarming text message, saying her son was dead, police said.
The frightened mother went to the Santa Ana Police Department on April 16 and filed a missing person report, said police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna. Nunez, who had been homeless, was struggling with substance abuse issues, the corporal said, and his mother had tried to help him.
But little did she know her son had created a bogus kidnapping story in attempt to extort $300 from her, Bertagna said.
Prosecutors charged Nunez, 31, this week with one felony count of attempted extortion by threat, according to an Orange County Superior Court criminal complaint.
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