A White Texas woman who said that she had been abducted and raped by three Black men in ski masks has admitted that she made the whole story up, law enforcement officials say.
Denison, Tex., Police Chief Jay Burch wrote a lengthy post on the department’s Facebook page explaining that Breana Harmon Talbott, 18, lied about her kidnapping and that she has been charged with making a phony report to the police.
“Almost from the beginning, we had doubts in Breana Harmon Talbott’s story as the puzzle pieces just weren’t coming together,” Burch wrote. “We were unable to corroborate any of Talbott’s allegations that she had been abducted or sexually assaulted.”
Police say that on March 8, they got a call from a man claiming to be Talbott’s fiancée, saying she was missing. The man had said that her car had been found near an apartment building with its driver side door open. That same evening, Talbott walked into a church, scantily dressed and said that she had been abducted and raped in the woods behind the church. There were also cuts and scratches that could be seen on her body.
She told police that she had been kidnapped by “three Black males” wearing ski masks who took her to a wooded area and that two of them sexually assaulted her while the other held her down. Police immediately launched a search in the region for any leads in the case but came up with nothing.
Social media posts went wild as fear spread that there were people abducting and assaulting women in the area of the northeastern Texas town, about 75 miles north of Dallas. The news also spread to White supremacist websites and message boards including the racist Stormfront board, which is known to foster racist ideologies and of which Charleston massacre shooter Dylann Roof was a member.
As police moved forward their investigation, Talbott had been taken to a hospital for a medical examination.
Burch said that her story began to unravel at that point. “According to Talbott’s confession, we believe the crime scene – from the initial “kidnapping” scene at the apartment complex to the point of Talbott’s condition when she walked into the church – were staged. Talbott also admitted the injuries to her body were self-inflicted,” he wrote.
Denison police closed the investigation and filed misdemeanor charges for filing a false report to a peace officer and will seek restitution for the costs of conducting the investigation. It is unclear exactly why Talbott confessed the hoax to police.
“Breana Harmon Talbott’s hoax was also insulting to our community and especially offensive to the African-American community due to her description of the so-called suspects in her hoax. The anger and hurts caused from such a hoax are difficult and all so unnecessary,” said Burch.