updated 4/12/2004 9:52:29 PM ET 2004-04-13T01:52:29

Police are investigating whether a college student who staged her own disappearance last month may have committed a felony in the process, a newspaper reported Monday.

A search warrant signed last week seeks evidence that University of Wisconsin student Audrey Seiler obstructed justice, a felony punishable by up to 3½ years in prison and a $10,000 fine, the Wisconsin State Journal reported.

The warrant allowed police to examine Seiler’s cell phone and laptop computer, the newspaper said. Seiler’s attorney, Randy Hopper, did not return a telephone message Monday from The Associated Press.

Seiler, 20, disappeared from her campus apartment March 27 but was found in a nearby marsh March 31, when she told police a man with a knife and possibly a gun was in the area.

Her claim touched off a major manhunt, with the Madison police department estimating its costs at $96,000. She returned home to Rockford, Minn., last week.

Police concluded Seiler’s story was fake after obtaining a videotape that showed Seiler buying the knife, duct tape, rope and cold medicine she claimed her abductor used to restrain her.

WKOW-TV in Madison reported Monday that Seiler’s friends told police when she disappeared that she had no history of depression. The station also reported the documents show Seiler chatted with a friend online as late as midnight March 26, less than three hours before video surveillance showed her leaving her apartment building.

Dane County District Attorney Brian Blanchard has been reviewing police reports and has not said if he will file any charges against Seiler.

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