BRIDGMAN — A girl who last week told police a man had tried to abduct her near a park in Bridgman now has told police she made up the story.
“In one way, I’m glad it turnout out the way it did because the community was somewhat fearful,” Bridgman Police Chief Daniel Unruh said. “But it’s also very frustrating. That was a lot of police time. We went full-blown on it. We left no stone unturned.”
But as the investigation unfolded, police discovered the girl had lied about some things and she ultimately admitted she made up the whole story.
The girl, 11, might face criminal charges. Unruh said a police report will be sent to the Berrien County Prosecutor’s office for review later this week. Filing a false report is a felony.
Unruh said that over the weekend, the girl admitted to her parents and to Bridgman Police Sgt. Tom LaVanway that she had fabricated the story. He said police are not sure why.
Last week, the girl reported that at around 4:30 p.m. April 9 she was walking home from Toth Park in the city when a man driving a black car asked her if she wanted a ride. The girl said when she declined, the man got out of the car and grabbed her by the arm, but she was able to break free and run. She also provided a detailed description.
Unruh said the location where the girl claimed the abduction attempt happened has a lot of homes and businesses with outdoor surveillance cameras. After a thorough review of video from those cameras, police determined the girl was not in that location. He said LaVanway went to talk to the girl and her parents, and she admitted she made up the story.
“This is very out of the norm, at least for our department,” Unruh said by phone. “We encourage kids to report suspicious activity, but we do run into these (false reports) every now and then. We still encourage everybody to report suspicious activity, especially when it involves children.”