updated 3/22/2007 5:36:00 PM ET 2007-03-22T21:36:00

Two young cousins who disappeared for four days and claimed to have been kidnapped actually were hiding out because they missed their curfew after a night of partying, family members said.

Sasha Abney, 20, and her cousin Bryshada Ward, 17, left their homes in Terrell, east of Dallas, on Friday night, saying they were going to a movie in nearby Mesquite. One of them then made a cell phone call to a friend at 4 a.m. Saturday and screamed, “Please help!”

The call was traced to an area of Dallas, prompting a search. But the two didn’t resurface until Tuesday night when they showed up roughly 150 miles away at a gas station in Kempner, claiming to have been kidnapped, police said.

“We found out this was a hoax,” Sasha Abney’s father, Richard Abney, said at a news conference Wednesday evening.

“They missed their curfew, got in deeper and deeper and decided they were going to drive south. They ran out of money and ran out of gas, and they were afraid to call us. We are apologizing to everyone.”

Mesquite police Lt. Bill Artesi said the department was closing its case.

The behavior was out of character, Richard Abney said, and the cousins would be punished.

“As a parent you think the worst,” he said. “A lot of people out there were trying to help.”

He said Ward had even hit her cousin in the head with her shoe to cause a minor injury and lend credibility to their kidnap story.

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