A woman aged 37 from North Carolina was taken into custody following the discovery that she had wrongly claimed to be a victim of assault and homicide. The individual, identified as Margaret Frances Elizabeth Sweeney or Maggie, utilized a third-party messaging application on her mobile device to mask her identity while communicating with a friend and the Department of Social Services. These messages, transmitted through the app on Friday, August 18, portrayed that Sweeney had been subjected to an attack involving a tire iron, leading to her demise.
Upon receiving the report of her disappearance, the Franklin Police Department initiated an immediate search for Sweeney, utilizing social media to seek assistance from the community. Within the subsequent day, Sweeney was successfully located in a neighboring town’s park, unharmed and alive. On that very day, First Sergeant Randy Dula of the Franklin Police made the revelation that Sweeney had utilized the mobile app to inaccurately claim her demise.
Following this discovery, an arrest warrant was issued, resulting in Sweeney’s apprehension on Monday, August 21, 2023. She now faces several misdemeanor charges in connection with providing false information to the police.
After furnishing a written declaration pledging her presence in court on September 7, Sweeney was discharged. Franklin Police Chief Devin Holland verified that Sweeney lacked legal representation during her detainment and further mentioned her absence of a stable abode.
The Franklin Police Department issued an official communication regarding Sweeney’s conduct, affirming that substantial time and resources were squandered in the pursuit of locating her. This needless search caused unnecessary concern within the community regarding her well-being.
Comparable occurrences transpired in mid-July. Carlee Russell, aged 25 and hailing from Alabama, dialed 911 to concoct a fictional account of her own abduction. Russell was apprehended and faced charges a fortnight after the incident. In a separate incident, an eleven-year-old girl residing in Florida contacted 911 to erroneously describe her friend’s abduction, attributing the idea to a challenge she had come across on YouTube.