Detectives: Skeleton Assault Was A Hoax
Victim turns into suspect after investigators put the pieces together.
A 22 year-old Santa Clarita woman will face misdemeanor charges after falsely reporting she was attacked by a man in a skeleton Halloween costume.
The incident occurred on October 21, 2009, when deputies from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station responded to a Newhall residence to take a report from the woman, who claimed she was attacked on a school campus by a person wearing a Halloween costume resembling a skeleton.
The victim, who is also a student at a local post-high school campus, reported she was walking through the school parking lot when someone approached her from behind, knocked her to the ground, and forcibly removed her jacket and shirt. She reported that she fought off the attacker and managed to escape.
Sheriff's officials say that she then waited several hours to report the alleged incident, after which an investigation was launched. As detectives were gathering details for public safety notices, they began to notice several inconsistencies in the woman's story.
Through the investigation, detectives learned the woman was not a victim at all; she was instead a suspect. Shortly thereafter the woman reportedly admitted to investigators that she had fabricated the entire story.
The woman conceded that she no longer wanted to go to school in the area and wanted to return home to Taiwan to be with her boyfriend. She felt by using a made-up story reported to the Sheriff's Department she could convince her parents it was not safe and she needed to return home.
Detectives recovered her clothing in a trash dumpster near her place of employment in a Valencia industrial park. On October 30, the Newhall District Attorneys Office elected to file one misdemeanor count of Filing a False Crime Report on the twenty-two year old woman. If convicted, she could face up to one year in Los Angeles County jail.
After the filing, Sheriff's officials strongly advised that falsely reporting crimes is illegal, it ties up resources required to investigate real crimes, and can cause undue fear in the public.
"People need to understand that law enforcement services and the legal system are serious business and they should not be used to carry out personal agendas," said Captain Anthony La Berge of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station. "There are victims out there who truly need our services and resources. They shouldn't have to wait just because a person decides to inappropriately use the public safety system," he added.