Flicking through Facebook, you’re introduced to people’s lives. The food that they eat, the babies that they’ve had and, and more recently,all the men named Tony who have a vendetta against them. Such is the case with Thelma Williams. Tony threatened and cajoled friends on Williams’ old facebook page, and started posting vile comments. Tied up and gagged with cloth, Williams was the victim of a horrifying break-in that ended in her kidnapping. It was thought that she was gagged with a pair of women’s undergarments. She was held captive in a basement and taunted by Tony who was shooting and uploading videos to her hacked Facebook page. He said that he was going to kill her.
“Do any of you know where your precious thelma is? I do.”
Or at least, that’s what she wanted people to believe. Upon getting an accidental call from the intruder, her friends immediately called 911 which resulted in a massive, police lead helicopter search for the kidnapped woman. They even went as far as to close down a highway in order to better locate the suspected kidnapper. Eventually, they found her captive in her own basement; her kidnapper gone, her clothes distressed and Williams with her hands loosely tied behind her back. She appeared to be someone who had been victimized in her own home.
At this point, they had managed to find her but the perpetrator was still on the loose. The questions that they asked her didn’t quite match up with each other, and the pressure to stay linear broke Williams who shamefully admitted that she had made it all up. She had taken the threatening videos herself, written those awful things on her Facebook page and called her friend. The reason she gave for this was the stress from recently having broken up with her boyfriend. Later, Sheriff Richard Jones told the press that her story was a “total fabrication“.
“I hope she gets a lot of time in jail,” Jones said.
When the news broke, there was outrage within the police and her friends. However, Williams’ daughter pleads her mother’s case saying that “she needs help” as opposed to being “behind bars“. She’s adamant that this isn’t just a cry for attention on her mother’s part, but a cry for help. The police force, who spent thousands of dollars on the search for the fabricated crime, are not as convinced. Jones emphasizes that he hopes William’s gets prosecuted to the “full extent of the law.”
Not only does Williams’ invention waste thousands of dollars, but it harms the real victims of kidnapping. Every time someone makes something serious up, it heightens people’s awareness and causes suspicion when someone else claims a similar thing. We see this when victims claim to have been raped, and it’s likely that the same thing will stem from this event. Events like this have massive consequences for anyone who has ever suffered a kidnapping. It invalidates other people’s experiences and ultimately harms entire communities.