DELRAY BEACH (CBSMiami) — A Delray Beach teen who claimed she was abducted on her way to school and forced into the trunk of a car Tuesday made up the entire story, according to Delray Beach Police.
Police said Jade Beneby, 17, will have to complete a first time offender program for juveniles. If she does not, she could be charged with perjury.
Authorities say Beneby went to a Hialeah Motel Tuesday with a man she met Monday night on an online dating service. The man she was with does not face any charges, police said.
“When there’s a situation like this there are always consequences,” said Delray Beach Police Spokesperson Sgt. Nicole Guerriero. “This isn’t something that you can do — have all these people out there worried and looking for you — and there be no consequences.”
The police and Beneby’s family took the teen’s story seriously — especially after the teen sent two terrifying text messages to her mom — one claimed she was being held in the trunk of a car.
A statewide manhunt was ordered, police and family members searched for her while other family members prayed for her safe return. The teen was found at the motel Tuesday afternoon.
Police say the girl’s family was victimized also.
“They’ve been through a lot,” Guerriero said. “They were part of the resolution. When detectives said there were some inconsistencies in her story, the parents played an integral role. They brought her back here, encouraging her to tell the truth.”
Police said they could not put a dollar figure on how much the investigation cost but said they won’t be seeking money from Beneby’s family to pay for it.
Investigators hope the bogus claim concocted by Beneby doesn’t desensitize the community when real abduction cases occur and the public’s assistance is requested.
“We don’t want the cry wolf type of thing to happen where we come to the community and the media next time and it really is a situation where we need help and no one believes that help is needed,” Guerriero said.
CBS 4 News wanted to speak with Beneby or her family Thursday but no one answered a phone number for Beneby’s mother and we could not get access to the family’s front door because an outside gate was locked.