FEBRUARY 22, 2007 -- POSTED AT 9:15 P.M. CST
JONESBORO, AR -- What was thought to be a brutal sexual assault of a Jonesboro woman turns out to be a hoax. The alleged victim said she was attacked by a Hispanic male, but the truth is that she inflicted the injuries herself.
21-year-old Victoria Simonton appeared before a judge Thursday after she admitted her alleged rape was all a lie. She is charged with 2 felonies: filing a false police report and obstruction of government operations. Now, police say they feel a sigh of relief that this case is closed, but at the same time frustration over their wasted time.
The detectives working the case say they had their suspicions all along. After several interviews with Simonton, who claimed she was brutally sexually assaulted last Wednesday, Craighead County Sheriff Jack McCann says there were several red flags.
"We told her the doctor's report says there were no injuries, period, nothing to indicate this happened and then the other inconsistencies," says Sheriff McCann.
At first, she stuck to her story, saying it was true. That is until Thursday afternoon when she arrived at the sheriff's department.
"She came back today, this afternoon, with her husband and her therapist and admitted that she had made it all up," says Sheriff McCann.
And as to why? Police say she told investigators she beat herself with a flashlight. Once she saw what she had done, she said she got scared and made the story up.
"Sometimes it's for sympathy, sometimes it's to cover up other activity. There are a lot of reasons in the past as to why they would do that. It does happen and it's not that uncommon," says Sheriff McCann.
One study from Purdue University found in over 40 percent of the rape cases they studied, the so-called 'victim' eventually admitted that no rape had occurred. Sheriff McCann says they had agencies across the country on this case and just Wednesday, America's Most Wanted called to help with the investigation.
"We wasted a lot of time and effort. We were disappointed. This incident not only affected Jonesboro and Craighead County, but the whole state," says Sheriff McCann.
Women all over were terrified for a week that an alleged rapist was on the loose. Turns out there wasn't a rape to begin with. It was all a hoax.
"Apparently she does need some help and we want to make sure she gets that," adds Sheriff McCann.