A Hanceville woman faces a charge of making a false report to police after she allegedly fabricated an account of the police being unresponsive to a complaint she claims to have made concerning an implied kidnapping threat.
Amy Hill Eller, 23, was arrested on Friday and charged with a single count of false reporting to law enforcement, a Class A misdemeanor, following an incident she allegedly said occurred last Thursday at the Hanceville Dollar General Market.
On its Facebook page Friday, the Hanceville Police Department posted its account of the events surrounding Eller’s arrest.
“Yesterday evening, Mrs. Eller's husband posted on social media that his wife and children were the victims of a discussion by three males about possibly kidnapping them while they were at a local business shopping in Hanceville,” the post reads. “It was stated that The Hanceville Police Department was contacted and Mrs. Eller spoke with an officer about the situation. The post went viral and was shared numerous times on social media.
“The Hanceville Police Department never received a call in relation to this incident, a report was not filed by Mrs. Eller pertaining to this incident nor did Mrs. Eller speak with any officer of The Hanceville Police Department after the supposed incident.
Police chief Bob Long said Monday that a review of video, phone records, and GPS evidence shows that Eller does not appear to have contacted police, nor make contact with any officer during the time in question.
“This incident received a lot of negative attention for our department on social media, but the facts of the case show that it is unwarranted,” he said.
“We interviewed her on Friday, and everything that she said, we could not corroborate from evidence. We could tell by looking at our GPS and checking our phone records that there was no evidence to support that she had even called the police department, nor made contact with an officer at the scene, period. We didn’t have an officer anywhere around at the time this allegedly happened, and she said that she had stood there and talked to him.”
From video surveillance footage, tracking officers’ GPS locations, examining phone logs and “numerous other pieces of evidence,” according to the department, Long said police established probable cause to obtain an arrest warrant for Eller. The department notified her of the warrant, and Long said she voluntarily turned herself in on Friday.
“She was notified that the warrant existed, and she came and turned herself in around 4 p.m. on Friday,” said Long. “This was a probable cause arrest; not one based on reasonable doubt, and she is innocent until proven guilty. We want our residents to know that it is safe to shop in Hanceville, that we take any report of this kind very seriously, and that our law enforcement always works hard to be responsive anytime a resident has a concern or makes a report to police.”
Eller was freed after posting a $1,000 bond on Friday, and will appear on the charge in Hanceville municipal court.