September 15th, 2009
01:01 PM ET

Boy with bad report card makes up kidnapping story


[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/US/01/16/school.bus.cuts/art.school.bus.cuts.afp.gi.jpg]

Gabriel Falcon
AC360° Writer

A child who claimed he was kidnapped on Friday confessed to making up the story to avoid telling his family about a lousy report card, authorities in Alabama said Monday.

The 11-year-old boy will not face any charges, said Sgt. Mark Roberts of the Huntsville Police Department. “I just hope children don’t do this too often because it does put us through quite a lot of man power,” Roberts told CNN. “We gave (the investigation) the whole 9 yards.”

Roberts said the child, whose name he did not reveal, came up with the elaborate abduction scenario Friday afternoon. “The kid was coming home from school when he was supposedly kidnapped by a guy driving by in a red car,” Roberts explained. “He basically said a white male driving a red beat-up car grabbed him and forced him in the vehicle. He saw a black revolver. The driver said I’m going to take you somewhere and kill you.”

According to the police, the boy said he then jumped out of the car and ran back to his grandparents’ house. The family contacted the police who began an intensive manhunt for the suspect. Authorities also issued a B.O.L.O. (be on the look out).

But after interviewing the boy, investigators became wary of his story. Roberts said the boy claimed he couldn’t get his schoolbag from the car, yet he was able to retrieve a musical instrument from the vehicle.

Their suspicions were confirmed on Monday when the child’s grandfather called police and said his grandson confessed to lying about the stranger abduction.

Why would he make it all up?

“He got a bad report card,” Sgt. Roberts told CNN. “And he couldn’t figure out anyway to say his book bag was lost or stolen.” By concocting the kidnapping narrative, the boy “wouldn’t have to fess up to his bad report card.”

“His grandfather called and said he (his grandson) was sorry for everything that happened, “Roberts added. “I think when the investigator went out and talked to him, he was real apologetic.”

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Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Gabe Falcon
soundoff (101 Responses)
  1. Laurel

    A for creativity
    F for judgment

    As the cop, I would have investigated whether the kid had an abusive home environment, or whether he was just embarrassed as heck.

    September 15, 2009 at 3:03 pm |
  2. jeremy

    Kids today have too much imagination and yet not enough. He concocts this elaborate story, when a simple ball point pin would have done wonders.

    September 15, 2009 at 3:01 pm |
  3. Jeff

    How come when a white person says a black person kidnaped them the media and NAACP get there panties in a wad but a black kids says a white man kidnaps him and no one even mentions it.

    September 15, 2009 at 3:00 pm |
  4. Becky

    I have a little boy (he's 12 now) but he is prone to making up sensational stories too!... He broke our basement window on accident, called 911 and told them there was an intruder with a gun. I don't hit my kids at all and it was an accident, I'm very gracious so he had nothing to "fear". He's also told his teacher I was in the hospital when he forgot to have a slip signed for a field trip. I think some kids think it's easier to avoid a situation rather than face the music. Or... if he's like my Billy... he just loves a good story. I wouldn't necessarily jump to the conclusion that he feared his parents reaction so much that there must be some abusive living situation.

    September 15, 2009 at 2:09 pm |
  5. Yolanda Gee

    We all want smart children, but to what cost? I think parents are putting too much pressure on children to excell! In my opinion, this is what happens, our children are afraid to fail, even though its not acceptable, but we as parents have to know that they are human.

    September 15, 2009 at 2:07 pm |
  6. Rob

    The family should be billed for the wasted resources involved in pursuing the imaginary perp. Why he was scared to show his report card really isn't the issue. Many kids fear being held accountable for bad grades, but don't resort to elaborate lies that involve costly time and energy of an already taxed police system.

    September 15, 2009 at 2:06 pm |
  7. valromatt

    Clearly he feared punishment... x box, video games, toys and other privileges would be taken away, disappointing his parents, or perhaps being spanked. Lets not jump to conclusions that his parents must be bad parents if he feared going to them with a bad report card. Hey, I wish I had thought of that as a kid... genious!

    September 15, 2009 at 2:05 pm |
  8. Chris Kirkpatrick

    I think we have all screwed up at one time or another and tried to cover it up. Ideas like these always seem to be good until we realize that they come with consequences too. Some would like to say that he had a reason for making up the story. That somehow his homelife is such that the punishment for a bad grade necesitated his decision, but I don't buy it. Sounds to me like we need more parents that hold their kids accontable for what they do or don't do. Hopefully this kid learned that it's better to fess up and tell the truth than to lie, have everyone find out about it, and get into and even bigger mess.

    September 15, 2009 at 2:04 pm |
  9. Sanz

    I feel bad for him, thinking he has to make up a lie. I don't know if i would punish mines because who know what he would do the next time he had bad news. This is a great time for the parents, grandparents and all his family to hug him, assure him they can talk to him about anything. Why was he so scared to tell his parents? I pray this is answer is looked into and family counseling is done.

    September 15, 2009 at 2:03 pm |
  10. adriana

    i am pretty sure he will get in more in trouble for making up this bogus story!

    September 15, 2009 at 2:02 pm |
  11. Kylie

    Doing this was definitely wrong, but why would he fake something so out there all because of a bad grade?

    September 15, 2009 at 1:58 pm |
  12. Lilia

    Yes, I wonder why he was so afraid to show his report card. I remember when I was in 3rd grade, I got a D and was so scared of being hit by my dad's belt. Anyway, I wrote over it and made it B (which was really obvious of course), brought it home and my father hit me so bad the skin tore off my backside. I hope it wasn't this bad for this kid.

    September 15, 2009 at 1:58 pm |
  13. marsel

    Oh the press these kids face. I remember being in school and my parents lecturing me that a B was bad. Honestly, school is overrated anyway.

    September 15, 2009 at 1:56 pm |
  14. Liz

    maybe he it wasn't that he was "scared" or "frightened" to show his report card. Maybe he just didn't want to dissapoint his family. You know sometimes kids do love their parents so they don't want to disappoint them.

    September 15, 2009 at 1:56 pm |
  15. julie

    Why do people assume the worst? And how do you know that the police didn't investigate why he didn't want to tell his folks? I wouldn't have made up such a crazy story, but I'm a natural overachiever and wouldn't want to disappoint my parents if I made a mistake or got bad grades. Once I covered up an accidental bleach spill on the carpet with a similar colored pudding and it worked for over 2 years (until they steam cleaned the carpet).. I wasn't afraid of getting in trouble, just disappointing.. They never did anything but nurture me.

    September 15, 2009 at 1:54 pm |
  16. sassy

    This child obviously has some major issues and should get some professional help. To go to that extreme and lie about being kidnapped because he had a bad report card is just plain wrong. Maybe if you paid attention in school and did your homework like every other student you would have the need to make up lies. Shame on you!!!

    September 15, 2009 at 1:53 pm |
  17. James

    They should take the child on a tour of the jail so he can see what happens when you make bad choices.

    September 15, 2009 at 1:53 pm |
  18. Mike

    Please people – my kids are afraid to show me their bad report cards – not because I will physically punish them, but because I'll take away some of their priviliges – bad grades = no dirt bike, no xbox, no skateboard.

    The message being if you don't have time to do your homework, you certainly don't have time to play.

    To infer that the child is abused is just plain silly.

    September 15, 2009 at 1:51 pm |
  19. sassy

    This child obviously has some major issues and should get some professional help. To go to that extreme and lie about being kidnapped because he had a bad report card is just plain wrong. Maybe if you paid attention in school and did your homework like every other student. Shame on you!!!

    September 15, 2009 at 1:51 pm |
  20. kay

    Ah, poor kiddo. Fibbing about homework is old hat (honestly, teacher, the dog ate it!), but this kid really crafted one heck of a story. At least he was using his imagination! At any rate, here's hoping that the young man has learned a good lesson – best to just face the music rather than lie.

    September 15, 2009 at 1:50 pm |
  21. Roger

    Concocting wild stories to cover one's own tail is a valuable life skill that will later propel him to the heighest levels of society.

    September 15, 2009 at 1:48 pm |
  22. Sam

    This kid has a future in Hollywood, or definitely a great story writer. That's original. Way to go kid!

    September 15, 2009 at 1:48 pm |
  23. kattykane

    yeah, it does kind of make you wonder and YES! grounded for life does not describe the punishment. I have an eleven year old if he ever tried something like this...I think he would rather deal with the consequences of a bad report card, than the consequences of a stunt like this.

    September 15, 2009 at 1:48 pm |
  24. John

    If the parents were actually parenting, the child may not have had a poor report card or they would have known in advance. My son is 10, where education is involved I am aware of his accomplishments and shortfalls. Parenting isn't a "photo opp" it's a commitment.

    September 15, 2009 at 1:48 pm |
  25. K.C.

    Maybe he was afraid to show his parents his bad report card because they've taught him the value of an education and hard work, and he was ashamed he wasn't going to meet the standard. Or maybe, as the first poster suggested, he KNEW he was going to be grounded for life and was just trying to get out of it. Being "afraid" of your parents doesn't necessitate abuse. Unfortunately in our media-sound-byte society the line between discipline and abuse is often obscured.

    September 15, 2009 at 1:47 pm |
  26. Tony

    People jump to so many conclusions on the internet. I came up with every excuse in the book to not show my parents my report card if it was bad. I even "lost it in a fight in the woods". My parents didnt beat me, or molest me or anything of the sort. I just didnt want to lose my Nintendo!

    September 15, 2009 at 1:44 pm |
  27. Ted

    People are reading too much into his fear of showing the report card. I ran away once when I broke something I shouldn't have been playing with. My parents never hurt or abused me but they taught me that actions have consequences and I knew I was wrong. I was frightened because I knew I how wrong I was.

    September 15, 2009 at 1:43 pm |
  28. Natt Bugg

    Give me a break! Wonder why he was afraid of a bad report card?! Probably because he'd likely have his precious game player or cell phone taken away! People seem to forget that children aren't the innocent babes you think. They're capable of some pretty malicious things. Watch/read the news!

    September 15, 2009 at 1:43 pm |
  29. Reality

    And I thought that hiding all of my bad papers with the kindergarten teacher's red marker frowny face on them, in an old tree trunk was imaginative.

    September 15, 2009 at 1:43 pm |
  30. Anthony

    What child isn't afraid of showing his/her parents a bad report card? It's ridiculous how some people are insinuating that the parents might beat him for a bad report card.

    September 15, 2009 at 1:40 pm |
  31. Angie

    How about if the grandparent had the boy call and apologize to the police instead of doing it for him.

    September 15, 2009 at 1:39 pm |
  32. Retired Geezer

    I'll tell you exactly why this boy was scared. His parents/guardian do not give a hoot about this childs education except when he brings home bad grades.

    September 15, 2009 at 1:38 pm |
  33. CJ

    Why the heck are kids getting report cards already? It's only September!

    September 15, 2009 at 1:38 pm |
  34. Maria

    Poor baby, he's probably abused at home to make up a story like that. Hopefully the police are thinking about that.

    September 15, 2009 at 1:37 pm |
  35. Tiffany

    My mom would have punished me for the bad grade, but she would have beat me senseless if I would have done what this kid did. Maybe that's part of kids today's problem, parents don't put the fear of God in their children anymore so they aren't afraid of the consequences of their actions. I was too afraid of why my mom would have done to me to think up something like what that kid did. My mom in no way abused me, but she definately let me know what would happen if I did something I wasn't supposed to do. And this wasn't in the old days, cause I'm only 25.

    September 15, 2009 at 1:37 pm |
  36. SeanB

    It's the first thing I thought of. I remember when I was a kid how much emphasis was placed on grades. If I even so much as got a C, I was afraid to come home. Not to say my parents were abusive angry people, or anything of that nature, but I'm sure there were other ways he could have went about hiding his report card, besides fabricating a kidnapping story...

    September 15, 2009 at 1:37 pm |
  37. sa

    You tell me, what kid was not afraid to bring home a bad report to their parents... seriously you all try to make something out of nothing.

    September 15, 2009 at 1:34 pm |
  38. walt

    Pathetic how people automatically insinuate the boy had bad parents or bad home life because he was scared to show them his report card. Ever think the kid may just be embarrassed or felt bad letting his parents down? Maybe he has school problems that his parents are unaware of and he's too scared to talk to them about. Kids are full of excuses and strange reasoning. I mean look at his story. Don't immediately go after the parents.

    September 15, 2009 at 1:33 pm |
  39. suresh

    This should be an eye opener to the parents of this boy. If this kid is so afraid to show them his bad report card, what will he do if gets in real trouble. I am glad that the boy did not think of killing himself because he was too afraid or embarrased to show his report card. The parents should seriously consider that possibility.

    September 15, 2009 at 1:32 pm |
  40. laura

    Boys will be boys!

    September 15, 2009 at 1:31 pm |
  41. jason zermeno

    This sounds like an idea I might have entertained when I was 11. My parents were not abusive physically or mentally. They were almost too perfect parents. I would have just been fearful of having to face their looks of disappointment. Kids do outrageously dumb stuff sometimes, its part of growing up and not always a sign of abuse. I agree that this one had a great imagination!

    September 15, 2009 at 1:30 pm |
  42. ed

    If this boy put half the effort into his schoolwork as he did with this endeavor, he wouldn't have to worry about his report card. This kid needs to have his energy channelled better.

    September 15, 2009 at 1:29 pm |
  43. Hmm

    Maybe a good idea initially, but he obviously didn't realize that the school could just produce another report card if needed. This was a big lesson in lying for sure. He should be required to volunteer to pay back some of what the city spent looking for him.

    September 15, 2009 at 1:24 pm |
  44. Don

    Weren't any of you students? I came from a loveing family and can count the number of times I was spanked in my entire lige on one hand with fingers left over. But I was still TERRIFIED to bring home a bad report card. That's just kids being kids. But I'm glad nobody's jumping to any conclusions.

    September 15, 2009 at 1:20 pm |
  45. Al

    Sounds like this kid's imagination was nurtured a little to much!

    September 15, 2009 at 1:17 pm |
  46. tara

    So sad that he felt he needed to do that- not to jump to conclusions, but it does make you wonder why the child was so afraid of showing the report card to his parents...

    September 15, 2009 at 12:22 pm |
  47. lynn

    I would file this under the heading "Why didnt I think of that!!" Well, he gets an "A+" for originality anyway.

    September 15, 2009 at 12:22 pm |
  48. mecka


    September 15, 2009 at 12:18 pm |
  49. peterghifi

    Did anyone bother to ask why this 11 year old was so frightened of bringing home a bad report card that he would make up a story like this?

    September 15, 2009 at 12:13 pm |
  50. Dale

    If this was my son he would be grounded for life. But today's parenting gurus forbid any from of punishment. They say to nurture a child's imagination. BS!

    September 15, 2009 at 11:55 am |
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