11-Year-Old Arrested Over False ‘Kidnapping Report’ Online Challenge
An 11-year-old girl has been arrested and charged with a felony after making a false report to police that her friend had been kidnapped when she was inspired by an "online challenge."
Thinking it "would be funny" according to the Volusia Sheriff’s Office in Florida (about 60 miles northeast of Orlando on the Atlantic coast) - the 11-year-old girl sent a text to a dispatcher at the Sheriff’s Communication Center around 9:45 a.m. reporting to them that a 14-year-old friend had been kidnapped “by an armed male driving a white van on South I-95 in Oak Hill" and that she was in pursuit in a blue Jeep.
The alert brought a swift police response - multiple deputies from Edgewater, New Smyrna Beach and Port Orange police, as well as Volusia's aviation unit, Air One, all arrived to the area but no van was found during the search effort.
“For the next hour and a half, the girl texted updates including a description of the male suspect and that he had a gun,” Volusia Sheriff’s Office said in a statement following the ordeal. “Ultimately, deputies were directed to a home in Port Orange by investigative means tracking the cell phone used to text 911.”
At 10:23am, when deputies arrived at the home on Poppy Lane in Port Orange and contacted the 11-year-old girl’s father, who said the daughter was inside with her family.
“As deputies approached the girl, she was holding her cell phone, which was ringing as she walked out to meet the deputies. When answered, Volusia Sheriff’s Dispatch was on the line and deputies verified they were on scene,” police said.
The girl told deputies she got the idea to pull the prank from a challenge she watched online and thought it “would be funny,” police said. Except, Sheriff Mike Chitwood, wasn't amused.
“This kind of prank activity is dangerous – we’re going to investigate every incident but today it wasted valuable resources that might have helped someone else who legitimately needed our help,” he said.
The 11-year-old has been charged with making a false police report concerning the use of a firearm in a violent manner, a felony, and misuse of 911, a misdemeanor.
Pay attention to what your kids are doing online and on their phones.
Read more at ABC News