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Cold Feet in Georgia
May 1, 2005 7:05 AM   Subscribe

Runaway bride pulls kidnapping hoax -- She was "scared and concerned about her impending marriage and decided she needed some time alone," Albuquerque Police Chief Ray Schultz said. "She's obviously very concerned about the stress that she's been through, the stress that's been placed on her family."
posted by NickDouglas (59 comments total)

 
For other local Atlanta news, click here.
posted by mischief at 7:23 AM on May 1, 2005


That lady's eyes scare me. Now that we know she's not kidnapped and dead I can come out and say it. Wow.
posted by thirteenkiller at 8:19 AM on May 1, 2005


Once again, when an attractive white female is potential victim or defendant in a crime, it is a national news story. This is embarrassing not just for MetaFilter, but for any news agency that covered it.

Terry Schiavo, Amy Fisher, Lorena Bobbit, child kidnap victims, the Ramsey girl, the shark-bite girl, etc., etc...

If any of the above were black, unattractive, or male, they would not be news stories. Our media spends more time and money on these cases because of the involvement of attractive (or formerly attractive) white females. Because of media pressure, the DA's offices and police agencies respond by spending more of their time and resources on the cases.

The result is that more taxpayer money goes into the investigation and prosecution of crimes that involve attractive white women. We, as a society, are saying that we value their lives more. And we sure as hell do. I am not much of an online researcher so I do not have a link, but I read a study done a few years ago that measured how much money is spent prosecuting crimes that involve black/black, black/white, and white/white. It should be enough to make anyone sick
posted by flarbuse at 8:25 AM on May 1, 2005


Yeah, I was bragging to a friend that MeFi had collectively avoided such a non-subject.
Say good night, gracie.
posted by Busithoth at 8:30 AM on May 1, 2005


..boiled crawfish..
posted by peacay at 8:31 AM on May 1, 2005


Attractive?
posted by sohcahtoa at 8:37 AM on May 1, 2005


White?
posted by found missing at 8:38 AM on May 1, 2005


I don't care what anybody else says. This article is great.

"'There should be some responsibility for all this expense to the police,' said Jo Cripps, eating boiled crawfish at a downtown Cajun restaurant. 'Certainly she owes an apology to all the people who came out and volunteered.'"

Hilarious.
posted by koeselitz at 8:42 AM on May 1, 2005


I'm really angry that this piece of news is now occupying space in my brain that formerly was being used to store some particularly pithy quote by Shakespeare or Rousseau or someone.
posted by psmealey at 8:54 AM on May 1, 2005


I thought it was very interesting to watch this story play out in the news... Every time I saw someone speak about this case, I got the distinct impression they wanted this thing to turn into the next Scott Peterson case. If she's stayed missing a little longer, I have no doubt the husband would have found himself in a jail cell.
posted by coldon at 8:58 AM on May 1, 2005


Hey, if the US media didn't spend time/space covering rich white-people crimes like it was an episode of "Dynasty," they might have to talk about how shitty things still are in Iraq. And that wouldn't be very patriotic.

OTOH I have to admit when I found out it was a hoax, I was interested in the psychological aspect of what's going on in her mind, the family dynamics, etc. For that reason, when *some* of these sensationalistic stories get into the national media, I study them.

Also of interest - how people like Wilbanks and Susan Smith (the woman who drowned her children and lied about a carjacking) say their kidnappers were Hispanic or black.

As I joked elsewhere, evidently disturbed women are never abducted by imaginary white guys.
posted by NorthernLite at 8:59 AM on May 1, 2005


"disturbed women are never abducted by imaginary white guys"

Women don't fantasize about white guys. ;-P

Makes you wonder too, if she had known this would go national, would she have still run?
posted by mischief at 9:04 AM on May 1, 2005


Thank god we someone posted a MeTa link so we can actualy discuss the story rather then the quality of the FPP.

I thought it was very interesting to watch this story play out in the news... Every time I saw someone speak about this case, I got the distinct impression they wanted this thing to turn into the next Scott Peterson case. If she's stayed missing a little longer, I have no doubt the husband would have found himself in a jail cell.

What amazed me was that the GBI -- the Georga version of the FBI -- Not only wanted the fiance to take a lie detector test, which is stupid in and of itself, but didn't even want it video taped.

The whole time I knew, I mean I knew that the girl had just run off. I mean "The Family" on TV, her preacher it seemed like they were just controlling her and she had no one who wasn't pushing her into marage that she might not have wanted. The guy kept talking about "The woman he will marry!", etc.

So the only way out was running away (or suicide). And now she's back with "The Family".

Seriously, it was like a cult almost. bleh.

As I joked elsewhere, evidently disturbed women are never abducted by imaginary white guys.

Actualy she was abducted by an imaginary hispanic man and a white woman.
--
Actualy, my only intrest in this story was seeing how long it took for her to crop up having run off.
posted by delmoi at 9:08 AM on May 1, 2005


elaborate hoax.

Volunteers searched woods and alleys, crawled in sewage drains and stayed up late looking for the 32-year-old local woman who initially told authorities that she had been abducted while jogging.

Well, the hoax wasn't really all that elaborate. Yeah, she made it look like she was missing, but my guess is so that she could get a few days to think. Elaborate? Hardly.

Then, initially told authorities--let's remember that this happened after it was apparent she was safe. The searchers were not told by her initially that she had been abducted--no one knew what had happened. And her fiance was oblivious to the fact that she was this hyper about the impending nuptuals? OK, that's believable since most guys are involved in their weddings to the point of knowing when and where to show up--maybe.

But 28 freakin' attendants? 600 people invited? She got the willies. The town panicked. Whose fault?

posted by beelzbubba at 9:13 AM on May 1, 2005


that post didn't come through right. My argument was that this was not a great story, at least judged by the reporting, which used the word "elaborate" to describe a runaway that was hardly elaborate, and the use of the phrasing "initially told," which was used to infer that the searchers were hoaxed from the beginning. No, when she called to let everybody know where she was, she panicked and told them what she wanted to hear. We didn't hear the other side of that conversation. Likely, she was told she had been abducted and went with that for as long as she could. Had half of Duluth not been out looking for her, and CNN carrying updates every freakin' 10 minutes, she would have called home and said--hey, I'm ok, I just needed some time to think.

Not news. Not FPP. Not interesting, really.
posted by beelzbubba at 9:19 AM on May 1, 2005


Some residents removed yellow ribbons they'd put on their mailboxes.

I suppose still others left them up? You don't have to look too hard to find an episode of South Park in here.
posted by psmealey at 9:22 AM on May 1, 2005


yah, i was amused by the "elaborate hoax" wording as well. my guess about the "issues" that scared her away from the wedding is a secret substance abuse problem. something for her family and her to deal with, not a national news story. the only "elaborate hoax" occuring here calls itself "journalism".
posted by quonsar at 9:32 AM on May 1, 2005


Big weddings. Feh. And the rush to judge the husband? Double feh. Anyway, attempting to salvage, I think this is the most interesting factoid to come out of this mess:

Mason appeared with Wilbanks' family, who said he had passed a polygraph test. Police said the test was conducted privately and that they want to conduct their own test. Mason did not speak with reporters. His lawyer has requested that the test be videotaped, which Belcher said no law enforcement agency "that's worth anything" will agree to do.

Really? No law enforcement agency will agree to videotape a lie detector test it's conducting?

Why the fuck not?
posted by mediareport at 9:34 AM on May 1, 2005


While adults have charges pressed against them because their kids call 911, this grown woman can use 911 to get out of her wedding with no charges pressed -- and be the only story on CNN for 24+ hours to boot.

It's bad enough news networks have resorted to one story a day -- must these stories all be so irrelevant? This is a tragic waste of tax dollars and air time. Not that they'd otherwise be using that time wisely.
posted by ThePrawn at 9:37 AM on May 1, 2005


I'm new here, so I'll just say this: "I got cold feat so I took off to Vegas. I ran out of money in Albuquerque" It sounds like a C+W song, the only problem being that it's hard getting things to rhyme with Albuquerque that don't sound ridiculous. If she really wanted to immortalize herself in song, she should have held out until she reached Santa Fe...
posted by ob at 9:37 AM on May 1, 2005


...Albuquerque
...he's a turkey
posted by found missing at 9:45 AM on May 1, 2005


OTOH I have to admit when I found out it was a hoax, I was interested in the psychological aspect of what's going on in her mind, the family dynamics, etc.

That's why I posted. Didn't even realize this was getting news attention before; I saw it as another funny small-town story.

ob: Hilarious!
posted by NickDouglas at 9:48 AM on May 1, 2005


...Albuquerque
...beef jerky
posted by ludwig_van at 9:59 AM on May 1, 2005


mishchief asks: “Makes you wonder too, if she had known this would go national, would she have still run?

What I wonder is whether she would have come back as quickly as she did if there hadn’t been all that media attention.
posted by mistersquid at 10:00 AM on May 1, 2005


I'm new here, so I'll just say this: "I got cold feat so I took off to Vegas. I ran out of money in Albuquerque" It sounds like a C+W song, the only problem being that it's hard getting things to rhyme with Albuquerque that don't sound ridiculous.

I'm hungry now, just want a sandwitch, with rye and turkey.

My life's so murky

Why'd he have to be such a jerk-y

While adults have charges pressed against them because their kids call 911, this grown woman can use 911 to get out of her wedding with no charges pressed -- and be the only story on CNN for 24+ hours to boot.

She didn't call 911 to get out of her wedding. She called 911 after her face had been plastered all over the news
posted by delmoi at 10:00 AM on May 1, 2005


Maybe I'm mistaken, but isn't what she did illegal? I mean the whole fake kidnapping?
posted by C17H19NO3 at 10:00 AM on May 1, 2005


I heard about the story for the first time on Friday night, just before going to sleep, I thought I'd check CNN.com to see if anything was happening. I was shocked at how much effort went into finding this woman (but figured with a 600-person assembly, they got the manpower...). I was suspicious, but thought maybe there was some evidence they wouldn't divulge to the press on the matter which would warrant the manhunt.
the next day, the story broke as she turned herself in.
Basically, it just reinforced my thoughts on CNN being lazy.
Go reuters!
posted by Busithoth at 10:05 AM on May 1, 2005


I saw it as another funny small-town story.

Volunteers searched woods and alleys, crawled in sewage drains and stayed up late


Heh, yeah I was kinda sympathising there until I heard about that staying up late part, how could she?
posted by scheptech at 10:32 AM on May 1, 2005


If you posted to explore the psychological aspects, Nick, why not spend a bit of time offering links to help spark that discussion along? It was a lazy post, which is why it resulted in a bunch of (now-deleted) crappy comments at the start. Anyway, I don't think it would have been shallow "link-padding" to have included a few things like this:

"Marriage counselors say Wilbanks' actions are an extreme but understandable reaction to the stress of the wedding and the fear of disappointing others by backing out."
HELP! I Have Cold Feet Before My Wedding!
Wedding Stress Relief Guide
Wedding insurance - "The concept originated in England and made its way to the United States in the early 1990s" - has a "cold-feet exclusion."
Disappearing groom turns bride into star
etc.
posted by mediareport at 10:37 AM on May 1, 2005


Really? No law enforcement agency will agree to videotape a lie detector test it's conducting?

Why the fuck not?


the info i could find on the net indicated that any reputable firm conducting a polygraph exam would videotape the procedure as well "for the protection of all parties involved." maybe this particular gentleman is not very interested in that, or maybe he just doesn't know what he's talking about.

the standards of practice by-laws of the american polygraph association provide for it: " An audio or an audio/video recording of the pretest and in-test phases shall be made and maintained for evidentiary examinations, in conformance with governing state and federal laws."

as for c&w lyrics (or any other genre), doesn't anybody appreciate a good slant rhyme anymore?

ran outta all my money
just north of albuquerque
posted by halcyon_daze at 10:39 AM on May 1, 2005


When I get cold feet and bolt from town at the last minute to avoid a high profile, high pressure wedding, I'm going to say that my mythical kidnappers were 'mauve'.
posted by spinifex23 at 10:54 AM on May 1, 2005


Other than the USA are there any countries where law enforcement routinely use polygraphs? I was under the impression most professionals admitted they were essentially useless - I know we've discussed it before but can't find the previous thread...
posted by longbaugh at 11:00 AM on May 1, 2005


My wife said the same thing about her eyes...she's a kook. What 32 year old woman can't say 'no' and agrees to a huge 600 person wedding that she doesn't really want? She should face charges, for wasting the time and money of various law enforcement agencies.
posted by fixedgear at 11:12 AM on May 1, 2005


fixedgear: As a commentator said on faux news: "There's no law against crossing interstate lines to avoid a wedding."

The only illegal thing she did was the 911 call in NM, which should result in maybe a fine and some community service.
posted by delmoi at 11:25 AM on May 1, 2005


i actually this story is funny cuz the news media which made it huge in the first place have almost totally dropped it.
I laughed at who ever said she couldnt say no to anything, aint that the truth.
posted by obeygiant at 11:26 AM on May 1, 2005


I'm going to say that my mythical kidnappers were 'mauve'.

Fabulous! Although I'd describe mine as more a dark lilac-ish.

Has anyone here ever heard of/seen/been in a wedding with FOURTEEN pairs of attendants?

As I said, I betcha there's some weird dysfunctional dynamic going on in that family. Mom just THRILLED her daughter's marrying the town "catch." Or mom-in-law insisting that people of their status MUST have such a fete.

And as some pop psychologist said in an interview Saturday - this woman has probably had a long history of not dealing well with stress. So - the perfect candidate to star in the obscenely big wedding of all time?
[/idle speculation about people I don't know from Adam/Eve]

(The MeFi Really Bad Country Song So Far:)
I used to be perky but
My life's so murky,
Why'd he have to be so jerk-y?
Gotta run to Albequerque.
posted by NorthernLite at 11:27 AM on May 1, 2005


She should face charges, for wasting the time and money of various law enforcement agencies.

I dunno if she should face charges, but she should definitely get a whoopin'.
posted by mcsweetie at 11:30 AM on May 1, 2005


the only "elaborate hoax" occuring here calls itself "journalism".

Quonsar wins!!!
posted by moonbird at 11:34 AM on May 1, 2005


Goodnight, Gracie.
posted by redsparkler at 11:40 AM on May 1, 2005


Didn't wanna be his wife
I Didn't need that strife
I knew I had to be a-shirkin
That's why I ran to Albuquerque

Oh yeah
posted by ob at 11:52 AM on May 1, 2005


Makes you wonder too, if she had known this would go national, would she have still run?

Ask her that after Judith Regan plops down a big fat advance check for the exclusive rights.
posted by postmodernmillie at 11:53 AM on May 1, 2005


Mesquite-grilled onions. Jalapeño relish. ... Wait a minute, those are Southwestern ingredients. ... Mango-lime salsa? That's the kind of bold flavor they enjoy in ... Albuquerque!

And yeah, 28 attendants is absurd. Even Jackie and JFK only had 20. I'd run away too.

Also, her eyes scare me. Maybe I mentioned that.
posted by thirteenkiller at 1:26 PM on May 1, 2005


Enjoy the media circus. We just got through endless coverage of our own fake-abductee in Alberta.

Its taken months for her to get out of the spotlight. Every time things would die down, she'd appeal, or break curfew, or breach a bail condition. Anything to stay on camera and in the press. Public opinion towards both her and the press covering her has become very hostile, but the wheels keep churning because controversy catches eyeballs.

I think the women in both these cases are actually attention junkies, and are incapable of discriminating between good attention and bad attention.
posted by Crosius at 2:33 PM on May 1, 2005


Optimus Chyme forgot to say: MeTa.
posted by mlis at 2:59 PM on May 1, 2005


For the record, he didn't forget. The baby got thrown out with the bathwater when mathowie deleted some WTF piling on.
posted by found missing at 3:22 PM on May 1, 2005


Jennifer Carol Wilbanks is on the end of the Gene Pool someone poured Chlorine into.
posted by davidrosss at 4:57 PM on May 1, 2005


i actually this story is funny cuz the news media which made it huge in the first place have almost totally dropped it.

You wish the media dropped it. They're still running with it like it's on fire. Case in point: I got a call today from the NYPost asking me to go shoot her church and her country club. They wanted multiple angles because they plan on running the story all week. I rolled my eyed and secretly thanked the crazy lady for helping to line my pockets.

I wonder if there's a term for this symbiotic relationship between fluff news and the news media along the lines of the military industrial complex. Thoughts?
posted by TheGoldenOne at 5:13 PM on May 1, 2005


The Media Idiotical Complex?
posted by wendell at 5:32 PM on May 1, 2005


Concerning polygraphs, when I worked for the feds, I took polygraphs on two occasions for renewing my clearance, and both were recorded on audio. (This was ancient history, before video was widespread).

Amazing what constant pressure on a tack in the sole of one's shoe could achieve. ;-P
posted by mischief at 5:45 PM on May 1, 2005


beelzbubba - yeah, elaborate would be to enter one door of a hansom, exit fromt he opposite door and jump into another waiting hansom.

At least she didn't make the mistake of going back to her place of residence to get the documents from behind her portrait.

Her eyes?

Maybe she was just on a bit of meth when the pic was taken...

As for the colouration of my imaginary abductors - definitely grey.
posted by PurplePorpoise at 8:33 PM on May 1, 2005


That's why I posted. Didn't even realize this was getting news attention before; I saw it as another funny small-town story.

So you're saying you didn't view any major media outlet online or broadcast for half of a week?

This story was impossible to miss. It was literally everywhere.

Also, she must have a hell of a body because it would take a man with nerves of titanium to wake up next to that bug-eyed face every morning. She reminds me of old pictures of people in gas chambers and/or Creepshow.
posted by Ynoxas at 8:44 PM on May 1, 2005


I was just joking about the meth - seriously; her eyes bug you guys out? Am I the only person who thinks large eyes = sexAY?
posted by PurplePorpoise at 9:13 PM on May 1, 2005


So is she going to get charged with abusing the system or not?

And will the media give that case equal coverage if and when she does?
posted by AlexReynolds at 9:19 PM on May 1, 2005


i'm a little ambivalent about the whole let's-pay-back-the-townspeople-for-caring angle. Duluth's a hole, an unorientable two-truck suburb on the way to more of the same. You think it was just the news media that wanted this to be Peterson Part Deux? Stay up late, look for Jennifer, enjoy the media circus, it's gotta beat bulk purchasing eighty-cent Guangdong-made meshback caps down at the Wal-Mart for entertainment value.

A bit harsh, yeah - I'm sure in a 600-guest wedding at least one or two people might truly care for her. But I get the sense for every one of those there were ten along for the fun of the ride.

As for law enforcement, their job's to look. Budgets are tight and all, but one of the reasons we don't privatize the police is we don't want to pay as we go. If nobody in town was in touch enough with the bride to think that maybe a massive manhunt was overkill, well, that's sort of their loss.

(And I did miss the bulk of this one, Ynoxas - heard about it from my wife this morning.)
posted by Vetinari at 9:26 PM on May 1, 2005


TheGoldenOne: I wonder if there's a term for this symbiotic relationship between fluff news and the news media along the lines of the military industrial complex. Thoughts?

This might not be exactly what you're looking for, but some people think there's a "military-industrial-entertainment complex." YMMV, as I first heard of it on the X-Files.
posted by halonine at 12:19 AM on May 2, 2005


correct me if I've misunderstood the sequence of events, but I read:

1) Bug-eyed bride dissapears shortly before her wedding
2) family, wedding party, town freak out
3) massive manhunt is instituted
4) Bug-eyed bride calls home, hears about massive manhunt, says "um, I was kidnapped? Yeah..."
5) Bug-eyed bride calls back and says "sorry, no I wasn't kidnapped."

It seems to me that step 2.5 should have been someone in authority saying "maybe she got cold feet and bolted?"

This all seems endemic of the absurdly huge productions people make out of weddings these days. From that article, it sounded like this wedding was going to cost more than an Ivy-leage education. No wonder people freak the fuck out - even if there were not a shadow of doubt about the union, that's a lot of financial pressure, piled on top of the already-huge social pressure that surrounds weddings.

That said, she still strikes me as a little touched.
posted by Cranialtorque at 10:08 AM on May 2, 2005


I'd seen a few headlines, but this is the first I've read of the story (it coincided with TV-Turnoff Week) I'm with PurplePorpoise. I think she's kinda cute. A little plastic, but cute...

I'm really angry that this piece of news is now occupying space in my brain that formerly was being used to store some particularly pithy quote by Shakespeare or Rousseau or someone.

Is that really how the brain works? Scientists?

Really? No law enforcement agency will agree to videotape a lie detector test it's conducting?

Why the fuck not?


First link on Google. Cops don't want anything videotaped. Can you blame them?

The Runaway Bride's Rambling Ballad of Self-Empowerment (second verse)

By the time I got to Route 66
All my savings had gone lickety split
I flipped my first trick in Albuquerque
Then hit up a payphone to call the jerky

"I don't need you babe, nor your 600 guests
I've found a new life in the wild, wild, West
Tell my mom I'm a whore (high end, natch)
Ten bucks for a blowjob, but more for the snatch."
posted by mrgrimm at 11:09 AM on May 3, 2005


Jenny on Match.com
posted by mrgrimm at 1:15 PM on May 3, 2005


She's on craigslist in Atlanta as well. heheh
posted by mischief at 5:02 PM on May 3, 2005


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