Charges pending in kidnapping hoax
Criminal impersonation and false reporting charges will be filed against a 33-year-old Denver woman after she allegedly perpetuated a bizarre kidnapping hoax on law-enforcement officers and a Minturn man<as well as the news media<Sunday.3This is about jealousy and revenge and people not being very cautious about Internet relationships, Vail Police Chief Dwight Henninger said Monday.The incident started Sunday morning when police got a 911 call from Minturnite Marc Thomas. He told the dispatcher his girlfriend, 3Gen Miller, 24, of Denver had called him and reported she was being run off the road by a former roommate, 3Peter Lawrence. Thomas said 3Miller was at East Vail enroute to meeting him at the Dancing Bear in West Vail.Authorities sent out an all-points bulletin, or APB, to be on the lookout for a silver Blazer driven by Miller and a red Eclipse driven by Lawrence.It is believed the alleged suspect<who has not yet been identified<used the name 3Gen Miller to identify herself in an Internet relationship she was having with Thomas. The two apparently had never met in person, although Thomas apparently lied to police and told them they had, police said.Somehow that cyberspace relationship soured, however, and the woman apparently sought revenge both on Thomas and a previous boyfriend, police said. She had sent Thomas a photograph of one of her previous boyfriend1s new girlfriend, which she got from the old boyfriend1s Web site. She told Thomas the photo was of the fictitious 3Miller, with whom Thomas believed he was having a relationship, police said.The woman then used a cell phone to tell Thomas she was in danger of being kidnapped by 3Lawrence. Thomas notified police and gave them the photograph, which was circulated to Denver area television stations and newspapers. He identified the woman in the photo as 3Gen Miller.Thomas, meanwhile, had received e-mails from the fictitious Lawrence that were created by the unnamed woman to help perpetuate the hoax, police said.Throughout the day Sunday, police said, a total of 24 cell phone messages and text messages were received that included the words 3gun, 3sexual assault and other troubling phrases.The case broke when an old boyfriend of the woman being charged<who apparently was Thomas1s cyber-girlfriend<saw the photo and told the FBI that the woman in the photo was safe and well<and was not named 3Gen Miller.The FBI, meanwhile, had contacted the owner of the cell phone used for the calls, and an old boyfriend told them he had dated the cell phone1s owner, who previously had denied knowing anything about the kidnapping hoax.Henninger said the case tied up four Vail police officers and several FBI agents for two days.3You should be very careful of Internet relationships. You can be who you want to be, Henninger said. 3The real victim in all of this is the woman whose picture was put out as being kidnapped.District Attorney Michael Goodbee will be handling the prosecution of the woman, who will not be identified until charges are filed, said Henninger. The police chief said he will ask the DA to seek restitution for local and federal costs of the investigation after four Vail police officers and several FBI agents spent two days investigating the case.