The tale a 19-year-old jogger spun for Indiana deputies in July was terrifying — or would have been, had it been true.
She said she was jogging alone through Indiana’s Mounds State Park around 12:45 p.m. on July 3 when a man attacked her, according to the Madison County Sheriff’s Office.
The attacker had been loitering suspiciously on a trail, the jogger told police, according to FOX 59. When she ventured onto another trail to avoid him, the man followed and tackled her to the ground, groping her and hitting her face, the sheriff’s office said after the assault was reported. The woman said she managed to scratch and hit the attacker until she could get away, the TV station reported.
But the woman’s story fell apart after a month of investigation, and 19-year-old Marguerite “Maggie” Wallace of Pendleton, Indiana, was charged with providing false information to authorities, the sheriff’s office said in a news release on Monday.
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Detectives’ break in the case came after they looked at admissions receipts from the day of the incident at the state park — one of which included a partial credit card number that detectives thought might belong to the suspect.
Authorities got a search warrant to find the full credit card number, and used it find out the cardholder was a 17-year-old male in Indianapolis, the sheriff’s office said.
Detectives found the 17-year-old, and he revealed the truth: He and Wallace had connected over an anonymous chatting application called “Whisper,” and had set up a rendezvous at the state park to fulfill Wallace’s “rape fantasy,” the sheriff’s office said.
According to authorities, the juvenile kept his screenshotted conversations with Wallace saved to his phone, and showed the conversation to investigators. That further backed up his version of what happened that day, deputies said.
Detectives next went back to Wallace.
She at first denied the new information detectives presented, but ultimately she confessed that she “didn’t tell the investigators the truth when she filed the report of being sexually assaulted,” the sheriff’s office said.
“While this is extremely frustrating, on several levels, I am very proud of the work our Detective Division performed,” Sheriff Scott Mellinger said in a news release announcing the charge.
The “rape fantasy” had been witnessed by another person nearby in the park, who came over and called 911 on July 3, the Logansport Pharos-Tribune reports.
Wallace is being held on $3,000 bond at the Madison County Detention Center, the sheriff’s office said. The false information charge is a class A misdemeanor.
The sheriff’s office shared a story about the incident on Facebook, and one commenter had a positive spin on the alleged false report: “This makes me feel better about the park and our safety,” the commenter wrote.