Toronto

Police charge woman who triggered Amber Alert for reporting fake kidnapping

A 32-year-old Mississauga, Ont., woman has been charged with mischief for allegedly falsely reporting a kidnapping that then set off an Amber Alert for a missing teenager earlier this month.

Brampton woman reported seeing 2 men force a woman into a van, but police say that never happened

Peel Regional Police have charged a woman with mischief connected to an Amber Alert sent out earlier this month. (David Ritchie/CBC)

A 32-year-old Mississauga, Ont., woman has been charged with mischief for allegedly falsely reporting a kidnapping that then set off an Amber Alert for a missing teenager earlier this month. 

The nationwide search happened, largely, as a result of bad timing. 

Police allege the accused called 911 around 1:25 p.m. to say she had just seen two men pull up to an intersection in Mississauga's north end and then force a young woman into their silver van on Jan. 15.

Hours later, a couple called to report that their daughter had gone missing.

Police connected her disappearance to the kidnapping report earlier in the day and issued an Amber Alert in the wee hours of Jan. 16. 

The girl was found in Scarborough within hours of the alert being issued and her parents told reporters she had run away before.

Police said at the time that it appeared she had not been abducted. 
Police said on Jan. 15 they were looking for this vehicle. (Amber Alert Ontario)

A costly search

Peel Regional Police Const. Mark Fischer could not say exactly how much money the search for the girl would have cost. But he noted that an Amber Alert triggers a co-ordinated investigation that involves staff across both the province and the country.

It's a costly and complicated effort that has to be approved by the chief of police, he said. Fischer could not say exactly how many officers were involved, but he said several Ontario law enforcement agencies worked together to find the teen. 

Toronto police were the ones to locate her.

When asked whether he felt this could affect people's faith in the Amber Alert system, Fischer said it was appropriate to use it at the time. 

"At the end of the day the 15-year-old was found and was unharmed so, in that respect, it worked." 

The woman charged with mischief has been released from custody. She'll be in court on Feb. 28. 

now