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. T

    They never said the child was black, nor did they even mention a family name. We cannot assume this didn't raise a red flag with investigators and that they haven't taken this a step further to interview the kid and find out if he is living in an abusive situation.

    September 15, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  2. Heidi

    My goodness people....all kids are afraid to tell their parents bad news weather it is a low grade on a report card or being pregnant....and sometimes the schemes to hide it are very unfortunate. Any parent that parents carries that stygma of being a beast! And no...you can't ground your kid for life or you would be punishing yourself as well. I'm sure he will have a long while to think about what he did and try to redeem himself in his parents eyes. I pray he does and they forgive him, teach him, and go on loving him!

    September 15, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  3. formerchild

    When I got bad grades, I was terrified to show my parents as well. Getting grounded losing privilages, I just didn't want to go through all that. I came up with ways to 'change' my grades but after thinking of ways to change it and not being successful I found it was easier just to make the good grades. But I don't think I would have come up with a plan like that. It was TOO deep.

    September 15, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  4. Melissa

    Schools with year round calendars have been in session since July so they are due a report card. The kid probably didn't expect all of the police involvement – in a good home a spanking can be scary enough for a child or the loss of some expected event. As a precaution look at the home and parents but don't assume the worse because the kid watched too many action movies.

    September 15, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  5. E

    the high school in my town uses 6 week grading periods. maybe they do too. im a fan of it cause the grades dont reset til the end of the semester...its a better representation of the students success or failure

    September 15, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  6. Eric

    Why are so many people worried about why he fibbed? Maybe if more parents did hold there kids accountable for grades/behavior we could dig America's schools out of the gutter.

    September 15, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  7. Tom

    Jeff, where did you read it was a black child?

    September 15, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  8. Tom

    I agree with others. What is going on that this kid is that scared of bringing home a bad report card or is it that he just doesn't understand how much manpower he just wasted looking for a phantom kidnapper. I wonder how many white males with a red car got pulled over after this kids story.

    September 15, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  9. Tatiana

    Re: Jeremy's comment above. What are you talking about? He said it was a white male.

    I, too, would question why he was SO afraid of his parents reaction. I was a kid who needed to be this afraid of my mother's reaction and I was severely physically and emotionally abused.

    September 15, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  10. Randy

    I'm sure it was just a mid term progress report .

    September 15, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  11. Francisco

    For one: Since when do they distribute report cards after only a couple weeks of school??

    Two: If I had done this my butt would've been whooped till next week. Definitely worse than admitting to it. That's because today's parents, mostly white, don't discipline their kids. Kids these days are out of control. Back in my day nobody dared talk back to a teacher, lie to a parent, or disrespect authority to this magnitude.

    September 15, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  12. gladit'sover

    Only a desperate kid would jump through hoops like this. The flack from past bad report cards may have triggered this.

    The first bad report card I brought home caused World War III. I used to shiver from panic and turn white and cold every time thereafter. I learned to bypass my father and have my mother sign it on the morning of taking it back to school. That brought relief. My mother didn't understand the meaning of all those grades (or did she?) and didn't ask questions (I think she knew I was tired of getting beat up).

    Yea. This kid faces issues at home.

    September 15, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  13. Andrea

    Another good one, how many suspects were picked up? If any how horrific do you think it was for them!

    September 15, 2009 at 3:51 pm |
  14. Jared

    I get a laugh out of you people calling for the police to investigate the boys home life. A young boy does something dumb, which is what young boys spend most of their time doing anyway, and you think it merits investigating his family members? This kid could come from the greatest family alive and still be terrified of disapointing his parents. I really think we can find better things to spend tax payer money on then investigating every parent who can't keep an eye on their young son 24 hours a day.

    September 15, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  15. Andrea

    I cannot believe that an 11 year old would lie about something so horrible. This is a tragedy because all of that man power spent looking for the man, could've been spent looking for an actual missing child. My problem is the same, why was this boy so afraid to bring this bad report card home. I cannot fathom the idea of a child this old making up such a story unless they genuinely were afraid of something. Are they looking into this? Also this boy needs really needed to be punished, this is not ok behavior. A day of cleaning the police cars and motorcycles for all the work the police put in would have made an example.

    September 15, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  16. Sue

    Give me a break folks. The kid didn't want to get in any trouble. It doesn't mean he was beaten or abused because he was scared to give his report card. He is 11 taking away the TV for a night is abuse to there mind. He just didn't think of what a stir it would cause, I have a 11 year old boy and trust me they can come up with some great stories. That I may add make me stop and wonder sometimes.

    September 15, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  17. Pam

    It's probably a mid-term report!

    September 15, 2009 at 3:48 pm |
  18. Shannon

    A few things.......School just started 3 weeks ago (at the most), why is the child getting a report card – perhaps it's just a progress report gone awry??? Second, why is this kid so afraid to show his grandparents his marks? Third, to "JEFF" they never said it was a black kid....where did you get this information from? And lastly....if he was my kid, he definitely would be grounded until he goes to college....great imagination, bad idea..... 🙂

    September 15, 2009 at 3:47 pm |
  19. liz

    i find this story to be some what amusing...the boy is so scared of something that his parents would be angery so this poses the question of is something going wrong at home that he was so afraid that he had to elaborate such a story? on the other hand it could be a prank....Who gets report cards in september??? i feel bad for the child as well as the police, obviously he was scared of something...

    September 15, 2009 at 3:45 pm |
  20. Jess

    Why does everyone assume that because he's afraid to show he's report card that he's abused? I was terrified to show my parents a bad report card as a kid too. One because I hated to disappoint them and two because I hated getting in trouble and grounded from games/tv/phone until I passed.

    September 15, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  21. Jason

    Our school year begins much earlier here than most.

    /lives in Huntsville

    September 15, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  22. Sean

    Poor chap. It's a little reckless to assume his parents/grandparents beat him for bad grades. I would be more inclined to assume he is just a typical 11 year old who is ashamed of a bad report card. I am a genius though, so I have never been confronted with such a quandary.

    September 15, 2009 at 3:39 pm |
  23. Henry Miller

    To the people wondering about report cards in September, it sounds like a year-round school calendar.

    September 15, 2009 at 3:37 pm |
  24. bobo

    yeh , real strange that a report card be issued within days of school starting ?!
    so what's the real deal here ?

    September 15, 2009 at 3:35 pm |
  25. Christina

    Jeff, did it say anywhere that the boy is black? I didn't read that . . . I pictured a little white boy in a rural setting.

    September 15, 2009 at 3:35 pm |
  26. jimmy


    September 15, 2009 at 3:35 pm |
  27. Tee

    It was actually a bad progress report. School just started Aug. 10th.

    September 15, 2009 at 3:35 pm |
  28. jimmy

    For all those who jump to the worst by "in-sinuating" that the child would've got a beating if he brought home failing grades, for all you know, maybe the grandparents threatened to take his playstion away.

    September 15, 2009 at 3:34 pm |
  29. Peter

    WOW! It's very scary what the kid did but it is also VERY scary that people commenting have already make up their minds about how and how much punishment they would give their children! First, you do not even know all the facts as many have said, maybe before providing punishment, or how much, you should know all the facts. Anyone who thinks this is 'liberal' needs to THINK ... its not liberal its very conservative parenting. Know as much of the facts as you can before you act!

    September 15, 2009 at 3:34 pm |
  30. muffy

    pretty sad when your kid dont wanna show you his/her report car so much that they could lie like that!!!!!! probably an abused kid check into it sheeeeeeeesh

    September 15, 2009 at 3:32 pm |
  31. Sunnedaze

    my son got a report card last friday.

    September 15, 2009 at 3:32 pm |
  32. Thomas

    Who cares why he lied? Thats between him and his parents/guardians. Kids lie all the time including about grades and report cards. However the family should be forced to pay for some of the costs of the police man hours and/or that child should be forced to do some community hours to repay for the lost time.

    September 15, 2009 at 3:31 pm |
  33. alan

    I remember burying my report card in a cigar box behind the garage...held out til two days before the mid-semester card came out but my parents were suspicious...thank goodness the 2nd report card was a little better....however, faking a kidnapping? This kid's got some umph about him... I would've just got told off...wonder why he was so frightened??

    September 15, 2009 at 3:31 pm |
  34. Sal

    Missed where it says the kid was black. Does race have to be a part of EVERY conversation??? Geeez
    And I too would like to know what school is passing out report cards in September.

    September 15, 2009 at 3:30 pm |
  35. Alex

    A friend and I missed the school bus one morning when I was in 6th grade. I was so terrified of getting a beating that we decided to leave notes saying that we ran away. We gathered some supplies and headed off into the woods. We didn't get very far before we were found.

    My father was extremely strict and very tough on punishment. I would have done anything to avoid getting into trouble....anything. So it's not too far fetched to reason why this kid would go through such an elaborate scheme.

    September 15, 2009 at 3:27 pm |
  36. Glen

    This could be only a 4-week progress report in which grades are estimated; just a guess. I would think that attentive guardians would already be aware of his work in school, if they properly monitored his homework. Punishment might not work as well as someone taking an active role in guiding the boy. However, something tells me there are other problems here; as someone questioned, "why was he so afraid?"

    September 15, 2009 at 3:26 pm |
  37. Nikki

    The boy should have been charged with filing a false report and then sentenced to community service. However, all this could have been avoided had he gotten his lesson in school., Education is the best thing a person can get and no one can take it away from you.

    September 15, 2009 at 3:26 pm |
  38. Mo

    I don't question why he was scared to bring home a bad report card. Because, when I was little I was scared to bring home a bad report card as well. I would think of all kinds of stories get out of bringing it home. This little boy's story is just the most unique. The reason why, wasn't because I was afraid that my parents would beat me, but because I was just scared of punishment period. I didn't want my playstation, television, or phone privileges taken away. I didn't want to be grounded and not able to play with my friends. I didn't want to sit and read a book all day. Or have to go to school earlier than normal, to get caught up. I think the boy just didn't want to get in trouble, more so than being scared of getting beat.

    September 15, 2009 at 3:20 pm |
  39. Justin

    First of all, this kid should be punished by the police for filing a false report. Secondly, just because a kid lies to his parents, doesnt mean that the child is abused. Kids lie! Its human nature! So, lets quick trying to refocus the problem on the made up abuse, and focus on the fact that because the child lied, to the police of all people, and he should be punished.

    September 15, 2009 at 3:19 pm |
  40. Dale

    I agree with most about why he would be worried about his punishment for bad grades but what about the costs spent because of this lie. He should be charged with making a false report with public service for a punishment. We all need to be held accountable for making false accusations.

    September 15, 2009 at 3:18 pm |
  41. brad

    had that been me when i tried to hide my report card thier would not have been any end to the punishment my father would have brought down on me. Parents need to take it back in time and stop letting kids get away with seriours things. spar the rode spoil the child.

    September 15, 2009 at 3:17 pm |
  42. bob

    what school sends report cards in September?

    September 15, 2009 at 3:16 pm |
  43. Jo

    Bad report card, saying he was kidnapped to hide it... Definitely the product of our "amazing" education system.
    I'm sure high school will be full of "amazing" adventures for this kid...

    September 15, 2009 at 3:15 pm |
  44. Sean

    They are already getting report cards in September?

    September 15, 2009 at 3:08 pm |
  45. Becky

    I would ground my child until the end of the school year. However, I do agree that it makes you wonder what type of punishments he gets for bad grades!

    September 15, 2009 at 3:08 pm |
  46. Ted

    Like Albert Einstein said "Imagination is more important than knowledge."

    September 15, 2009 at 3:08 pm |
  47. george

    Strange that he got a report card so early in the school year. I don't get it...

    September 15, 2009 at 3:06 pm |
  48. George

    Gee, I got a bad grade, so I'll file a false police report instead.

    I don't wonder about why he was afraid to show the report card. My parents dissapointment was always enough to make me feel rotten.

    September 15, 2009 at 3:05 pm |
  49. Phil

    Did he avoid it because he was scared of the reaction his parents would have had and if not just face them it cant be worse than lying about it

    September 15, 2009 at 3:05 pm |
  50. tresa

    The apple dosen"t fall far from the tree.........

    September 15, 2009 at 3:04 pm |
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