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Lost and Found: The story and opinions on Jennifer Wilbanks

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[color=darkviolet][b] [size=3]Bride resurfaces: Admits Faking Abduction.[/size]

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Distressed, out of cash and in disguise, a missing Georgia bride-to-be turned up on a seedy stretch of Route 66 and told authorities Saturday she'd been abducted, then copped to the truth ? she fled the pressure of her looming wedding.


Jennifer Wilbanks, 32, was picked up by police after a bus trip that took her through Las Vegas, Nev., to a payphone outside an Albuquerque 7-Eleven where she called her fiance, John Mason, and 911 late Friday and said she had been freed by kidnappers.

Family members began celebrating outside the couple's home in Duluth, Ga., but hours later, Wilbanks admitted her disappearance was voluntary.

She was "scared and concerned about her impending marriage and decided she needed some time alone," Albuquerque Police Chief Ray Schultz said.

Police said there would be no criminal charges, although more than 100 officers led a search that involved several hundred volunteers, including many wedding guests and members of the bridal party.

"She's obviously very concerned about the stress that she's been through, the stress that's been placed on her family," Schultz said. "She is very upset."

Wilbanks returned later Saturday by plane to Atlanta, where she was picked up in a police squad car on the tarmac ? with a towel covering her head ? to avoid the media that had gathered inside the terminal.

There were no family members at the airport to greet her, but her stepfather and an uncle had flown to Albuquerque to escort her home, authorities said.

Bill Elwell, an FBI spokesman in Albuquerque, said Wilbanks apparently decided to flee shortly after purportedly leaving for her jog Tuesday without her keys or wallet.

"Based on the information we received, it was a spur of the moment situation," Elwell told The Associated Press.

After finding herself broke in Albuquerque, Elwell said she decided to call her fiance and police with the story about the kidnapping.

In her 911 call, Wilbanks sounds frantic and confused, telling an operator she was kidnapped from Atlanta by a man and a woman in their 40s who were driving a blue van.

At one point, the operator asks if Wilbanks knows what direction her captors went after dropping her off in Albuquerque.

"I have no idea. I don't even know where I am," she says.

Wilbanks cut her hair so no one would recognize her, but gave no indication that she had watched news reports of the search or realized the magnitude of the situation, Elwell said.

After police reported the hoax, the mood outside Wilbanks' home went from jubilant to somber. Family members ducked inside and the blinds were drawn.

They later expressed relief that she was safe.

"Sure, we were all disappointed, maybe a little embarrassed, but you know what, if you remember all the interviews yesterday we were praying, 'At this point let her be a runaway bride,'" said the Rev. Alan Jones, who was to perform the wedding. "So God was faithful. Jennifer's alive and we're all thankful for that."

Police said Wilbanks was tired, thirsty and "very, very distressed" but in otherwise good physical condition.

Jones said the family had no idea that Wilbanks had fears about the wedding, and he believed she "probably had no clue how it had been blown out of proportion" while she was traveling across the country.

He said Mason had no hostility toward his fiancee.

"I have never met such a strong person in all my life," Jones said. "He's an incredible man."

More than 600 people had been invited to Saturday's wedding bash, which was to feature 14 bridesmaids and 14 groomsmen.

Just hours before Wilbanks called her fiance, police in Duluth said they had no solid leads in the case and began dismantling a search center. Relatives offered a $100,000 reward for information and were planning a prayer vigil.

The hunt for Wilbanks had consumed the tight-knit town. Her picture and newspaper articles about her disappearance were on telephone poles and shop windows. Police had also seized three computers from the home she shared with Mason.

Mason did not speak publicly after Wilbanks said she lied about being abducted. Her uncle, Mike Satterfield, thanked people who had helped in the search.

"Jennifer had some issues the family was not aware of. We're looking forward to loving her and talking to her about these issues," he said.

Ryan Kelly, owner of the Park Cafe, an eatery a few blocks from Wilbanks' house that gave out coffee and sandwiches to searchers, said he was glad Wilbanks was alive and healthy.

"But that being said, this is one of the most selfish and self-centered acts I've ever seen. We saw her parents, and you could see the anguish in their eyes. It was terrible," he said.

"I don't care where you are ? unless you're in the Amazon rain forest, you'd know everybody was out looking for you." [/b]

I'm really suprized that this hasn't been posted yet. I hadn't heard about this woman being 'missing' until Thursday and all I could think about was how freaky she looked, but I felt bad about thinking that since she could have been dead.... Of course she isn't dead, she's just a selfish self centered word that can't be used here, so I'm allowed my feelings.

I included the excerpt from yahoo news since not everyone knows the whole story. I don't even know how far traveled the story was outside of the US.

I can understand getting cold feet about getting married, knowing that you're only going to be having sex with one person for the rest of your life has got to be pretty daunting. NOt to mention the fact that you really don't know how you'll be 10 15 years down the road. But for the love of all things sacred just call off the wedding. Don't fake an abduction!

Well, that's my 2 cents. I welcome someone else's opinion.[/color]
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[SIZE=1][FONT=Verdana][COLOR=SlateGray]Well kidnapping your self isn?t such a great idea. I mean c?mon why are you going to run away just because you are afraid to get married? No one actually goes into their wedding not feeling nervous. It?s just plain weird, when I get married and walking down that aisle I am not going to be thinking ?I wonder if I can get McDonalds after this.? Well I probably am but that?s not the point.

I think she over exaggerated running away like that. I agree with ChibiHorseWoman to just call off the wedding or post pone it a day, don?t go off faking an abduction. Does she know how many people she had out all over the country looking for her? And there she is chilling in New Mexico, what an ungrateful lout. [/COLOR] [/FONT][/SIZE]
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[COLOR=DarkRed]I think its terrible. It's like you said before, its one thing to get cold feet, but faking an abduction is insane! From what i had heard, though, she didn't originally intend for it to be a fake abduction. She got cold feet, and left... without telling ANYONE. The only thing anyone thought was that she was kidnapped. For whatever reason, she then went along with that, and then faked being kidnapped. Of course that doesn't change my oppinion, or make me feel any sympathy towards her. It was a terrible thing she did. Of course everyone's initial reaction is "Thank god she's alright," but she's got another thing coming, and well deserved. I fully agree with you.[/COLOR]
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I don't know what to say on this issue really, this woman gave her family undue grief and worry, not to mention wasting police time & resources. She should be prosecuted and made to pay their expenses.

[center]A pity too, I wanted to watch Fox News for, well, news, and I get this story saturating the morning. It shows over here past midnight so I was depriving myself of sleep for nothing! :D
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*looks up stupid in the dictionary* wow, she does look freaky

Anyway, I heard about this, but didn't really take any note of it. People get abducted all the time, I'm not really sure why some stories get more attention then others. I think its a little bit to much of a coincidence that the one they actually decided to publicize is the one where it was a faked abduction?

I mean really, getting cold feet is understandable, but you lose any sympathy I had for you in the first place when you do what she did. Theres so many other options and ways to work through it without kidnapping yourself. And it was so incredibly theatrical. C'mon
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Although people can sympathise with her marrital worries,I dont think anyone here is going to feel sorry for this woman. Sure she got cold feet but why the **** would you pannic your loved ones to death! Not only that, the sheer ammount of police searching for her could have been better utilised to crack down REAL crimes. As has been said she should have postyponed the wedding.

By the way thanks for giving all the details ChibiHorsewoman. The last time I posted In a thread like this I soon regretted my responce because the first post didnt give all the details.
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I actually saw a report on the news this morning concerning this women. The report only verifying the women's stupidity, but the thing that surprised me is that the women [I]as well as the parents[/I] are thinking of being charged with a crime. I understand the women, but the parents? Apparently they called in a false report to the police. But c'mon, they didn't know where their daughter was or what could have happened to her, they did a responsible thing, I think.

Also, her friend tried to make an excuse for her, saying she was under a lot of stress and such. And all I have to say to that is...utter bullsh*t.
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