EVERETT — A 12-year-old boy who told authorities he fought off a kidnapper now says the attempted kidnapping never happened, according to the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office.
The apparently fabricated story led deputies to arrest a man, 44, who was staying in a tent near an apartment complex Tuesday off 112th Street SW. The man was booked into the Snohomish County Jail for investigation of second-degree kidnapping, a felony. He was still behind bars Thursday evening. Authorities said they were working to get him released as soon as possible.
Prosecutor Adam Cornell said his staff filed an order of dismissal as soon as they heard that the allegations were likely made up.
“We did everything we could to quickly and expeditiously dismiss the case,” Cornell said Thursday evening.
The boy initially reported he was running through the apartment complex around 8 a.m. Tuesday south of Everett, when a stranger in a dark hoodie and mask emerged from the nearby woods and tried to grab him. The boy reported he stomped on the suspect’s foot and elbowed him to escape, then ran back to the complex and alerted staff, who called 911. According to a deputy’s report, the man didn’t speak English. The deputy used a language line to translate and ask questions. The man reported he saw a friend earlier in the day, but never mentioned a boy, or any attempt to grab him. The deputy looked at the man’s ID and realized he’d listed an address at the apartment complex.
Then another deputy drove over with the boy to identify the man. That deputy advised over the radio it was “100% identification,” and the man was placed under arrest.
The sheriff’s office announced Thursday the boy changed his story.
In the new account, the boy reported hearing a noise in the woods. He thought it might be an animal. He walked into the woods and found a tent. He opened it and saw the 44-year-old man sleeping with a unicorn pillow and dolls. The boy reported he was afraid he would get in trouble for being there, so he made up the attack.
Detectives with the sheriff’s Special Investigation Unit were still investigating the incident Thursday, according to a news release.