Runaway bride Jennifer Wilbanks’ fake story of abduction and sexual assault in a van headed from Georgia to New Mexico contained precise and graphic details of the alleged crime, according to police documents released Wednesday.
According to a police summary of the April 30 interview with Wilbanks, she claimed she was abducted April 26 “by two individuals, a ‘Hispanic male’ and a ‘white female,’ and thrown in the back of a van. Her hands were then tied with a rope, she told investigators.
“The individuals placed her on her right side on the floor of the van and made her face the back door. The male then began driving while the female stayed in the back of the van with Jennifer ....”
Wilbanks then graphically described a sexual assault by her captors, first by the female abductor and then by the male, the report says.
Wilbanks admitted making the story up after an FBI agent told her investigators believed she had left Georgia on her own.
“Jennifer admitted she lied about the kidnapping and sexual assault. She had left Georgia because of the pressures of the wedding. The list of things she needed to get done and no time to do it made her feel overwhelmed,” the report says.
Search lasted three days
Wilbanks apologized last week for disappearing just before her April 30 wedding day, triggering a nationwide search that lasted three days and ended when she called home from a pay phone in New Mexico. In a statement, Wilbanks said her disappearance was not motivated by cold feet, but by “a host of compelling issues, which seemed out of control.”
In her false story, she claimed the male abductor had rotten teeth and that she couldn’t understand him because he only spoke Spanish. The female was bilingual.
Her choice of concocting a Hispanic man as her made-up assailant angered Hispanic groups, who said it tapped into ugly stereotypes.
The police summary by Officer Michael Medrano gives clues as to some of the inconsistencies in her story.
According to the police account of the interview, one sergeant asked Wilbanks if “it was dark or lit in the area they had stopped during the sexual assault. Jennifer replied it was dark. He then asked her if it was dark how she was able to see the female and male remove their clothing.”
Trip started with a taxi ride
After recanting her story, Wilbanks told authorities her journey began when she withdrew $40 from her bank account on April 26, called a taxi, went home and changed into her running gear.
“She then went out jogging and met the taxi at the county library in the area she lives,” the report said. “The taxi took her to the Greyhound bus terminal where she bought a ticket to Austin, Texas. While traveling to Austin she befriended a ‘Hispanic male’ and ‘white female’ on the bus,” and she decided to follow the couple to Las Vegas, Nev., and Albuquerque.
Once in Albuquerque, she called her fiance and 911 to report her alleged kidnapping and sexual assault.
“Based on Jennifer’s own statement of the entire incident being false, this case will be considered closed, unfounded,” the report states.
Prosecutors in Georgia are still considering whether to press charges against Wilbanks for making false statements to authorities, Albuquerque police do not plan to file any charges, said spokesman John Walsh.
A spokeswoman for Wilbanks’ family’s church said Tuesday that Wilbanks checked herself into an inpatient medical treatment program to deal with “physical and mental issues.”