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Rescuer Accused Of Staging Kidnapping

Wed., April 24, 1996

A search and rescue volunteer has been charged with staging the kidnapping of a young girl so she could win recognition for recovering the child.

Prosecutors said Cheryl Ann Hesse, 34, of Shelley apparently took the 3-year-old girl from a Blackfoot Park on April 4 because she “likes to be a hero.”

Fifteen minutes after the girl was abducted while her mother, grandmother and aunt shopped at a store across the street, Hesse called 911 to report that she had found the child abandoned along Interstate 15, authorities said.

Officials said that Hesse was the woman who was waiting with the child on the highway when officers came to pick her up. Hesse also filed a police report about finding the girl, in which she said she administered some basic first aid and checked her for other injuries before calling police.

Police said that within 45 minutes of turning the child over to them, Hesse, identifying herself as Linda, called Fremont County authorities to falsely report seeing the child dropped along the interstate by someone in a brown van. Police think Hesse filed the false report to try and mislead investigators.

But the recording of that second call to Fremont County resulted in Hesse’s arrest after local radio and television stations aired it.

Hesse appears before Bingham County Magistrate James Martsch on May 3 for a preliminary hearing on a charge of second-degree kidnapping, which carries a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison. She was released from jail late Monday after friends posted a $10,000 bond.

Tags: hoax

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