According to Laura Williams, the spokesperson for the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office, the young girl, who resides near Daytona Beach in Port Orange, Florida, had sent messages to 911 operators claiming that a masked person had kidnapped her 14-year-old friend and taken him in a white van.
For over 90 minutes, the girl led various law enforcement agencies, including a sheriff’s helicopter, on a search for the alleged kidnapper, claiming that he was traveling south towards Oak Hill on Interstate 95, about an hour’s drive from her home, in a bid to misuse the 911 system.
Serious allegations were made against the girl for falsely creating a police report involving the violent use of firearms, and she was also charged with the misuse of the 911 emergency system.
When the girl sent messages saying that she was in a blue jeep behind the van of the alleged kidnapper on I-95, law enforcement officers from nearby cities, including Edgewater, New Smyrna Beach, and Port Orange, responded promptly. A sheriff’s helicopter also joined the search for the suspicious van.
Williams mentioned that the girl provided updates through text messages for 90 minutes, describing the suspect’s appearance and claiming that she had a gun.
Williams explained that when deputies arrived at the girl’s location, her cell phone rang with a call from 911 dispatchers.
In the bodycam footage released to the media, a deputy can be heard scolding the handcuffed girl.
“I’m telling you right now you’re going to take this as a lesson at 11 years old,” a deputy is heard saying. “If you do something stupid in the future you’re going to enjoy those cuffs.”
“I’m not going to do this again,” the crying 11-year-old girl replies.
The child told deputies she got the idea to prank 911 through a YouTube challenge and thought it “would be funny,” Williams said.
But Sheriff Mike Chitwood was not amused.
“This kind of prank activity is dangerous,” Chitwood said in a statement. “We’re going to investigate every incident but today it wasted valuable resources that might have helped someone else who legitimately needed our help.”
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