What is this? From this page you can use the Social Web links to save Runaway Bride; Charge Her With a Criminal Offense to a social bookmarking site, or the E-mail form to send a link via e-mail.

Social Web


E-mail It
May 01, 2005

Runaway Bride; Charge Her With a Criminal Offense

Posted in: Bizarre

Jennifer Wilbanks , the now famous runaway bride to be of Duluth, GA who has stated she left because of cold feet and the pressure of the wedding should be charged. There are many women who have been in the same situation but they did not create a missing persons man hunt that cost the tax payers of GA. The hoax that she perpetrated cannot go punished.

Now officials say the 32-year-old woman’s cold feet may have gotten her in hot water. On Sunday, Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter vowed to look into whether she violated the law by reporting a crime that didn’t exist.

Wilbanks initially told authorities she was abducted while jogging but later disclosed she took a cross-country bus trip to Albuquerque, N.M., to avoid her lavish, 600-guest wedding.

The problem is not even what she told Albuquerque, NM police when she called 911 and stated that she had been kidnapped. The problem is that she created a deception in GA that gave the impression that she had been abducted or had met with foul play. Her INTENT was to make it appear that she had been kidnapped. She would later say to Albuquerque Police Chief Ray Schultz, time alone,” she was “scared and concerned about her impending marriage and decided she needed some time alone”.

Distressed, out of cash and in disguise, a missing Georgia bride-to-be turned up on a seedy stretch of Route 66 and told authorities Saturday she’d been abducted, then copped to the truth she fled the pressure of her looming wedding.

Jennifer Wilbanks, 32, was picked up by police after a bus trip that took her through Las Vegas to a pay phone outside an Albuquerque 7-Eleven where she called her fiancà ©, John Mason, and 911 late Friday and said she had been freed by kidnappers.

If she had gotten cold feet and just suddenly got in a car and left to any location in America to free her mind that would have been one thing. The 32 year old bride to be seemed to have calculated her entire vanishing act in a way that can be nothing more than premeditation. She had bought her bus ticket earlier in the week under an assumed name, shed her jogging clothes that she left the house in and cut her hair. This is far from the actions of a person who did something at the spur of the moment.

Her actions could have provoked no response but for her fiancà © and parents to call the police and report her as missing. As any responsible and “reasonable” person would do if this had occurred. Thus, even though the bride did not in fact create the original false report, she had to know that her actions and no phone call stating that she was safe would have created a missing report that she knew to be false.

Jennifer Wilbanks’ actions were premeditated and the fact that she cut her hair so not to be recognized is telling. She cost tax payers money and wasted the time of countless police and FBI agents. Let alone the 100′s of concerned local citizens who took time to search for her. She needs to be charged so that people in the future do not attempt the same charade. Also, what is going to happen if one of the networks offer her a movie deal or a publisher a book deal on this deception? Should she benefit from it? Hardly. Should she go to jail? Probably not but I am sure a fair punishment can be handed down to her as well as repayment or a judgment against her.

As reported by the AP:

Last year, a Wisconsin college student who faked her own abduction and turned up curled in a fetal position in a marsh was given three years’ probation for obstructing police and was ordered to repay police at least $9,000 for their search.

That is the very least that can be done in this case as well. People cannot think it OK that they waste the time, money and energy of law enforcement on stories that are nothing more than a hoax. There are plenty of real abductions of children that could be the focus of investigations rather than the ramblings of a run-away bride.

Hat Tip: InstaPundit

Update: At the CrimProf Blog they seem to be asking the same question with “Should Hoaxes be treated as Criminal Offenses”?

The Confederate Yankee adds some local feelings of what Duluth, GA residents think about the brides antics.

Added to OTB’s Beltway Traffice Jam

McGehee seems to think that “he is the only one who suspects that her pre-planned disappearance was intended to resemble that of Laci Peterson”.

Return to: Runaway Bride; Charge Her With a Criminal Offense