April 17, 2014

Elyria
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Teens recant kidnap story

ELYRIA — Three teens who said they were kidnapped at gunpoint Monday night and forced to drive around Lorain now say they made it up.

“The detective was suspicious about the lack of detail in their story,” Lt. Andy Eichenlaub said. “It all kind of snowballed on them.”

The teens, ages 15, 17 and 18, originally said they had just picked up job applications about 8 p.m. at Burger King on West River Road when a middle-aged Hispanic man emerged from the shadows with a pistol.

They told police he made them drive in circles for about an hour and a half, then jumped out of the car and ran to a house somewhere in the area of Colorado Avenue. When they talked to The Chronicle afterward, they insisted their names and pictures not be published — saying they were fearful the man would come after them.

But police say that all changed at 9 a.m. Friday, when a detective called the children to the station and confronted them, Eichenlaub said.

It turns out they did give a ride to a man who closely matched their description — but there was no gun or threat of harm, Eichenlaub said. The ride took longer than expected, so they fabricated the traumatic story for their parents, he said.

He said the parents of the teens — two boys and a girl — were grateful to learn that the story wasn’t true.

“Once it came out in the open, they were glad to know the truth,” Eichenlaub said.

On Friday evening, the mother of the two boys told The Chronicle said she was angry at them, but she declined to talk further.

Police are talking with the county prosecutor’s office about whether to charge the teens with making a false report. Eichenlaub said a decision could be made in the next two weeks.

Contact Jason Hawk at 327-7148 or jhawk@chroniclet.com.