May 14th, 2010
12:33 PM ET

Woman fakes kidnapping to hide secret


[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/05/14/art.nancysalas.cadmv.jpg caption="Former UCLA student Nancy Salas couldn't bear lying anymore to family about dropping out."]

Gabriel Falcon
AC360° Writer

A young California woman who said she was abducted at knifepoint made up the story because she didn’t want her parents to know she was not a student at UCLA, authorities told CNN.

“It’s kind of a tragedy,” Sgt. Tom Lorenz of the Glendale Police Department said in a telephone interview. “Here she was the oldest daughter going to UCLA and she was going to make it and be successful and when she was no longer enrolled she couldn’t bear to tell anyone.”

The family of Nancy Salas, 22, reported her missing on Wednesday, police said. According to investigators, her parents said Salas vanished during her morning job.

A massive search was conducted for Salas with law enforcement using bloodhounds and helicopters in the attempt to find her, Sgt. Lorenz said.

On Thursday, Salas was located in the city of Merced and told authorities she was kidnapped by a stranger, police said.

But detectives said her story began to unravel when they discovered that she was not a student at UCLA.

“Salas was a fourth-year student and sociology major who was last enrolled at UCLA in fall 2008,” said the school in a statement.

Salas was living a double-life because she did not want to tell her parents she wasn’t going to graduate, police said.

“They were going to throw a big party for her,” Sgt. Lorenz said of her family. “Frankly, she couldn’t bare it anymore. She didn’t know how to face them, tell them.”

“Everybody thought she was doing great and had high hopes for her and her future.”

Police informed Salas’ friends and family of the truth but at first they refused to accept it, Sgt. Lorenz said.

“At the very end they truly believed that she was still a UCLA student,” he said. “She really led a story here, and a life. It was amazing. But it’s all about the pressures of being successful and doing good for your parents.”

Sgt. Lorenz said an issue with her scholarship at UCLA prompted her decision to leave the school in 2008.

The family has been reunited and Salas will not face any charges from the Glendale Police, Sgt. Lorenz said.

Filed under: 360° Radar • Crime & Punishment • Gabe Falcon
soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. Nick

    Yet another case in which the taxpayers spend thousand on investigating false emergencies. Helicopters, police officers and bloodhounds, all brought to bear to find a LYING CHILD who made up this story and put her family, friends, and community through emotional anguish as well as the expense just to hide her failure! The family of the Colorado "balloon-boy" stunt were required to repay the community for the costs incurred, and faced jail. This little girl needs to be given a "lesson in civic responsibility" that neither her family nor UCLA gave her!

    May 17, 2010 at 8:28 am |
  2. Elsa

    Parents always expect for their children to be better than themselves.
    That can be a big pressure to children.

    May 15, 2010 at 8:55 pm |
  3. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Parents send their children off to high school everyday not knowing their kid isn't in school; either the kid has been kicked out or dropped out. Kids even falsify report cards and parents don't do followup because they are too busy with their own lives and believe everything their kids tell them.

    May 15, 2010 at 1:54 pm |
  4. Jeanny

    After reading this article I find myself thinking….What kind of pressure must this young lady have been put through by her family in order come up with this extensive web of lies?! Lies of this magnitude take time and effort to conceal. We are talking about dropping out of UCLA in 2008 and faking a kidnapping in 2010?! I would love to have been a fly on the wall when this young lady faces her family AND then after she leaves them to go elsewhere. I’m sure at first they will be happy she is safe. Later they’ll tell her of all the embarrassment she’s put herself and her family through. I can just imagine the gossip when she’s not around!

    I for one couldn't have pulled it off. Better my family and friends face the reality of my life choices.

    UCLA is not the end all be all of your entire life young lady you can still be successful and lead a happy life. However, none of this is possible if you care more of what other people think of you and go out of your way to please others. Even if you have to lie. Accept yourself and all your choices move forward and seek to make your self happy. If that in turn makes your family proud then that’s just an added bonus.

    May 14, 2010 at 9:28 pm |
  5. jamie beatty

    it is not fair that she is not being charged with anything. Anyone else would of been charged.

    May 14, 2010 at 3:36 pm |