Ohio police started a helicopter search and shut down a highway when they received a report of a kidnapping in an alarming 911 call.
“We had all hands on deck,” said Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones. “We had deputies coming from everywhere.”
A friend of Thelma Williams called 911 and reported odd messages popping up on Williams’s social media accounts.
“They hacked her old Facebook account,” the caller told a dispatcher. “It has video and a picture of her and it says that they have her and they’re going to kill her.”
Jones said Williams claimed that an intruder named Tony entered her home, attacked her from behind, gagged her, tied her to a pole in the basement and cut her clothes off. The man then used her cellphone to record the ordeal.
But once police had Williams in custody and began to ask questions, her story began to fall apart. She didn’t know if the intruder was Tony or not because the man wore a mask. She didn’t know if the person was black or white.
“It appears she took the videos herself. We can actually see her waiting for it to come on so she can get her serious face on,” Jones said. “Then her story starts unraveling, and then we find the story to be totally a fabrication.”
It turns out Williams staged the entire affair and posted the video clips she recorded on Facebook from a McDonald’s restaurant.
Williams, 38, of Hamilton, Ohio, now faces a charge of making false claims. Her daughter, Lorin Karol, said that prison time is not what her mother needs.
“If my mom made this up, it’s not for attention,” Karol said, “It’s because she needs help, not because she needs to be behind bars.”
But Jones said that Williams’s bizarre setup cost police thousands of dollars and that she should be prosecuted to the “full extent of the law.”
“This kind of stuff is the lowest form that you can have,” Jones said. “The reason she said she’s done it is for the attention.”
Jones said this was the first odd case of its kind for his department, but that incidents of this kind are actually common throughout the country.
“For the life of me, I can’t figure it out,” Jones said. “It’s a bizarre time we live in.”