Police say runaway juvenile’s claim she was kidnapped appears false

File photo (Daniel Purcell/NowHabersham.com)

Gainesville police say they have no evidence to back up a young girl’s claims she was abducted. The story increased alarm in a community already on heightened alert following last month’s disappearance of another 12-year-old girl.

According to the Gainesville Police Department, the pre-teen told police a white male wearing all black and a mask abducted her from her family’s garage. She claimed the kidnapper pulled her into a white 4-door passenger vehicle.

In a news release, police outlined details of the girl’s story. They say she claimed her abductor drove her to a gas station and asked her to go inside to buy glasses and a hat. The girl said he then drove to another store to buy more items, but she could not remember what those items were.

Investigators say they canvassed the neighborhood and surrounding areas, talking to witnesses and looking for video evidence. During their investigation, officers found multiple videos of the juvenile, who they said did not appear to be in distress.

The girl underwent a forensic interview at a local child advocacy center.

“After an exhaustive investigation, over 160 man hours spent in two days, investigators have not been able to find any evidence to corroborate the abduction claims. In fact, all the evidence tends to disprove the allegations,” the department says.

Police say they were initially called to the girl’s home on BuenaVista Circle in Gainesville on June 7 for a report of a runaway. While they were interviewing family members, the young girl was located on Atlanta Highway and returned home. It was during her follow-up interview with police that she told them she was kidnapped.

According to authorities, the police department’s mental health team is assisting the child and her family.

News of the alleged abduction comes as the Hall County community desperately seeks answers after the disappearance of Maria Gomez-Perez. The 12-year-old was last seen at her Gainesville home on May 29. A $20,000 reward is being offered for her safe return.

Hall County Sheriff Gerald Couch has scheduled a news conference on Tuesday afternoon, June 11, to update the community about the ongoing investigation and search for Maria.

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