When a series of cryptic Facebook statuses took over her mother’s account, Lorin Karol was terrified.
For nearly 10 days, an alleged attacker named “Tony” posted threatening statuses about his victim, Thelma Williams, from her own Facebook page:
When images and videos depicting the 38-year-old bound and gagged surfaced on her Facebook page, concerned relatives called 911 and reported the kidnapping.
WLWT reported that a third party told a 911 dispatcher:
“They hacked her old Facebook account. It has video and a picture of her and it says that they have her and they’re going to kill her.”
Police launched a full response — “including a helicopter search and closing down a highway” — in an effort that cost thousands of dollars.
However, when officers reached the scene of the crime, they noticed some things didn’t add up. Although Williams told police that a “masked man had attacked her that morning and left her tied up,” a deeper investigation showed that she tied herself up and shared the posts from a McDonald’s.
According to WLWT, Butler County, Ohio, Sheriff Richard Jones said:
“It appears she took the videos herself. We can actually see her waiting for it to come on so she can get her serious face on. […] We find her story to be totally a fabrication.”
After her story unraveled, Williams was arrested and charged with filing a false report, which is a fifth-degree felony.
Karol is upset at the outcome of the incident. She told WLWT:
“If my mom made this up, it’s not for attention. It’s because she needs help, not because she needs to be behind bars.”
The prosecutor on the case attempted to explain Williams’s reasoning for staging her kidnapping:
“During the questioning, she admitted she made the story up. She wanted to get away from her daughters, hoped to scare them into moving to Florida. She said she was not intending to call the police, but when they showed up, she continued the story because she was embarrassed.”
Jones asked for Williams to be “prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”