A teenager in Denison, Texas, who made widely publicized claims that she was kidnapped and raped by three black men in ski masks admitted to police Tuesday that it was all a lie.
The Denison Police Department posted a statement to Facebook on Wednesday describing the case in detail and said 18-year-old Breana Talbott, who is white, confessed to the hoax and has been charged with making a false report.
Talbott was reported missing on March 8 by her then-fiancé Sam Hollingsworth, who told police he found her car in the parking lot of her apartment complex with the driver door open and her phone, keys and a single shoe nearby. Hours later, Talbott stumbled into a local church half-naked and covered in cuts.
“She told witnesses at the church she had been kidnapped and sexually assaulted in the woods behind the church,” the police department said. “There were also visible cuts and/or scratches on her body.”
Detectives and police scoured the area for the suspects, who Talbott claimed were “3 black males” wearing ski masks. The events of that evening were all staged and her injuries were self-inflicted, according to the police statement.
Police said they had suspicions about the case “almost from the beginning,” as they were unable to corroborate any of Talbott’s accusations. Medical personnel also reportedly found no evidence that Talbott had been sexually assaulted.
Studies have found that as little as 2 percent of reported rapes are false. The department noted the harmful effect Talbott’s claims had on the entire community.
“This alleged crime as reported by Breana Harmon Talbott made many in the community fearful there were individuals abducting women,” the department wrote on Facebook. “Even though we know the story to be a hoax, there is still potential damage to the reputation of the City of Denison and the Texoma region as many may remember the reported crime but not the outcome.”
“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 post continued. “The anger and hurts caused from such a hoax are difficult and all so unnecessary.”