False kidnapping triggers multi-agency search
Swathes of would-be rescuers were called to the scene of a false kidnapping that occurred on June 8 in Perham.
Officials from the Perham, New York Mills, and Fergus Falls police departments, as well as the Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Office and Water Patrol, the Minnesota State Patrol and the Perham Fire Department, rushed to the scene in order to locate a 3-year-old child who was reported missing roughly an hour after her older sister lost track of her while babysitting.
After a 45-minute search, the child was discovered to be safely in the care of her mother, who police said was unaware of the search.
The child was “never in any danger,” Perham Police Chief Jason Hoaby stressed.
The mother’s boyfriend had noticed the child was unattended and decided to “teach the babysitter a lesson” by absconding with the child, police said.
When the babysitter noticed the child was missing, she contacted the boyfriend, who denied knowing the child’s whereabouts.
The babysitter then contacted police, triggering the search.
Hoaby said the boyfriend was “spoken to” by law enforcement officials – who were considering issuing an Amber Alert at the time the child was found – about the inappropriate nature of providing intentional misinformation to the babysitter and causing the search.
After consulting with the Perham city attorney and speaking with the officer who initially responded to the call, Hoaby said no charges would be filed against the boyfriend.