UPDATE: Delta County kidnapping hoax was promoting missing, murdered indigenous relatives awareness
DELTA COUNTY, Mich. (WLUC) - The person arrested in a Delta County kidnapping hoax and the cause her group was promoting have been identified.
Kathleen Wiley of Tahlequah, Oklahoma was arraigned Wednesday and remains in the Delta County Jail on a $150,000 cash or surety bond.
She is charged with unlawful imprisonment and assault and battery. Her next court date in Delta County District Court is set for May 26 - a probable cause conference.
Wiley was arrested Tuesday after a Michigan State Police investigation found that a kidnapping report was a hoax.
The Michigan State Police says Wiley was part of a group promoting awareness about missing and murdered indigenous relatives.
The MSP Gladstone Post says troopers and deputies were called Tuesday to a report of an alleged kidnapping and a tied-up woman laying in a ditch just east of Delta County Road 511 and US-2.
Troopers found the tied-up woman - not Wiley - who said she was kidnapped by a man driving a small black pickup truck. More officers were called to the scene to assist and investigate.
The MSP said its investigation revealed an out-of-state group was involved and was advising officers that several other people were missing, allegedly creating a charade of false information. Investigators said that after completing interviews with the parties involved, they determined the information given to them about a kidnapping was made up and the entire incident was created to bring awareness to their cause.
Due to the nature of the initial complaint, the MSP said many law enforcement resources were deployed to assist in the case. Social media reports contributed to the spread of false information and public concern.
The Michigan State Police Gladstone Post was assisted by the MSP Manistique Outpost, the Delta County Sheriff’s Office and Rampart.
While reporting and staging a fake crime is illegal, the movement to recognize missing and murdered indigenous persons is getting more attention in legitimate ways. Earlier this month, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared May 5 as Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons Awareness Day in Michigan.
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