Reporting Steve Large
OAKDALE (CBS13) – In the small community of Oakdale, the word of a sex predator on its streets spread fast.
“Everybody was on edge. It was all over town, on Facebook, saying watch your kids cause it is a small town. We’re only 18,000 people,” said resident Stan Johnson.
A 16-year-old girl at Oakdale High reported being taken at knifepoint and raped. It was the first alleged sex crime in Oakdale in more than a decade.
“Oh I was concerned for my kids, yes. They don’t go like they used to go, because of it,” said resident Tawny Yates.
The Oakdale Police Department, with only two detectives, put their other investigations on hold.
“Our main concern was if this person is still out there, he may try to do it again,” said Det. Max Messina.
But when nearly a month passed, detectives were puzzled.
A re-creation of the girl’s timeline showed people would have likely seen something during an abduction, but no witness could be found.
“Some of the things just weren’t matching up,” said Messina.
On Tuesday, detectives asked their alleged victim to come in again for a 2-hour interview.
“She volunteered the information that she in fact made up the incident,” said Messina.
It was a hoax.
An estimated 200 man hours were spent on a crime that was never committed.
“This is not something we take lightly,” said Messina.
Detectives say the girl told them she wanted her mother’s attention – an excuse gaining some compassion from an Oakdale mom.
“It’s just really sad she was trying to get attention from her mom in such a manner,” said Yates.
But the threat was a fake.
Oakdale will still feel its effects as their police are now backlogged with real bad guys.
“We have to go back; get back on track for those cases,” said Messina.
At this point, Oakdale police say they are not pursuing criminal charges against the girl for filing this false report because they say she eventually told them the truth.