WOONSOCKET – Local police, the FBI and the state police swung into action Tuesday afternoon after a reported child abduction, but it didn’t take them long to figure out it was all a hoax.
“We’re happy to report there was not an abduction at all,” Detective Sgt. Matt Ryan announced at a press conference about two hours later. “The story was fabricated by our witness.”
The investigation began about 12:30 p.m. after a juvenile reported seeing four men kidnap a young girl on Vose Street. Police wouldn’t say whether the witness was a boy or a girl.
The witness described the victim as a 5-year-old with blond hair and pigtails, wearing a pink dress with polka dots. The witness reported seeing four men wearing masks and black clothing force the girl into a dark SUV.
Woonsocket Police Chief Tom Carey said he was relieved by the happy outcome and proud of the way members of his department responded.
“We have to take any of these reports very seriously and just investigate them very thoroughly,” he said. “We solicited the assistance of law enforcement, the media and the community. For us it’s a big relief it’s concluded this way, nobody’s in danger, nobody’s kidnapped.”
The police said they had no idea why the witness made up the story or whether the person understood he or she had done something wrong. Ryan said he couldn’t comment on whether a medical condition might have been a factor in the witness’s behavior.
Ryan said the police are continuing to investigate the situation and, when they’re done, they’ll collect all the information and ask the attorney general’s office to review it and make a determination on whether the witness should be charged with a crime.
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