Police are considering charges after two teenage girls who were the subjects of a statewide Amber Alert in Texas allegedly staged their abduction, Fox 4 reported Tuesday.
The 16-year-old and 17-year-old girls traveled with a music teacher to a flea market in Seagoville on Sunday to sing at a flea market, Fox 4 reported. The girls separated from the teacher at the event, and stopped answering phone calls, prompting the teacher to call police, authorities reportedly said.
One of the girls called her mother later Sunday night, and claimed she and the other teenager were kidnapped and were being held against their will, Fox 4 reported. Police tracked the call to a motel in Dallas, but once they arrived, the girls were nowhere to be found.
Police authorized a statewide Amber Alert in an effort to find the girls, and continued their search Monday morning.
But the evidence investigators began reviewing suggested something else had taken place, and it likely wasn’t a forced abduction. (RELATED: Garbage Collectors Notice Vehicle From Amber Alert, Save 10-Year-Old Girl)
“We started getting information and video that contradicted what everybody thought was an abduction,” Seagoville Police Chief Ray Calverley said, according to Fox 4.
The video police watched showed the two girls with two males, one of which was identified as 20-year-old Jose Penaloza-Estrada, according to Fox 4.
STAGED ‘ABDUCTION:’ We’re learning new details about the #AmberAlert issued for two #EastTexas girls in the Dallas area this week. Police say surveillance video corroborates tips that the reported abduction was planned and staged. https://t.co/VYiEyzkUPz pic.twitter.com/xhgKQcwj5V
— Lane Luckie (@LaneLuckie) April 21, 2021
The video corroborated tips that police received that suggested the two girls had staged the abduction so they could link up with the two males, KWTX reported.
“The video didn’t depict them as being in any kind of distress,” Calverley said.
The other male was not identified, although investigators believe he is a teenager.
Estrada told police that the two girls were at a motel in Plano, which is where investigators found the two missing teenagers, who were unharmed, according to KWTX. Police believe Estrada knew of the Amber Alert, and what was thought to be an abduction was a hoax. Estrada was charged with harboring a runaway child.
“This turned out to be a hoax situation. It was a planned event,” Calverley said.
Police are considering pressing charges against the girls. The case required hours of work from federal agents, local police and child exploitation experts who all were trying to rescue the girls from potential danger.
“We’re not looking at it trying to get somebody in trouble,” Calverley said, according to Fox 4. “We’re trying to teach a lesson. These things are taken very seriously.”