Police say that the Michigan teen who claimed to be abducted by a man with a gun was faking. Hayley Turner, 18, had claimed to be held hostage for 16 hours after saying she saw a man lying in a ditch and stopped to help him. She was on the phone and said, "He has a gun." Her phone then cut off and she disappeared, showing up a day later on a man's porch after she supposedly jumped out of the man's moving car. Now police and FBI believe she was lying about the entire kidnapping incident.
Authorities will be turning over their findings to the prosecutor's office. Turner could be charged for filing a false police report.
If Turner truly made up her own kidnapping, she wouldn't be the first. In 2012, 16-year-old Kara Alongi posted on Twitter that "someone" was in her house and to call 911. Security cameras later caught her waiting at a train station.
In May, 16-year-old Ankita Lavender called both her ex-boyfriend and father to say she was being kidnapped. It later emerged that she had made the whole thing up to get her ex's sympathy.
So why on Earth do young women do this kind of thing?
"In general, this is a symptom of extremely low self-esteem and the need for attention, even if it's negative attention," says psychologist Bryn Collins. "It's often to get sympathy from a boy or parents."
While young men have been known to fake their own kidnappings (one allegedly did it to avoid telling parents about a bad grade), young women seem more prone to it. Says Collins: "Young men tend to act out externally -- they get into fights, get a tattoo on the face. Young women tend to act out internally, they might become promiscuous or anorexic."
Of course, Collins notes that faking your own kidnapping could also be a sign of a "big time psychological issue," but in general, it's an "attention-seeking device."
Turner's family has said she has struggled with emotional issues in the past year. Hopefully now she will seek professional help.
But that doesn't negate the fact that the state spent a lot of money trying to find Turner, even using helicopters. And that the manpower spent on trying to find her could have been put to better use elsewhere. Not to mention that fake kidnappings might impede police reaction when they really take place, like what happened to 14-year-old April Millsap.
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If it is proven that she faked her own kidnapping, Turner needs help and counsel. But she also needs to face the repercussions of her unthinking and selfish actions.
Why do you think anyone would do this?
Image via Monroe County Sheriff's Office