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An Arizona couple is accused of fabricating a missing child story so their truck would be found quicker.
The Phoenix Police Department issued an Amber Alert on Wednesday morning for "an 18-month-old child” who was allegedly taken by two suspects who took a green pickup truck without permission. Stormee Wagner, 40, and James E. Wagner, 37, told police that the child, for whom they are caregivers, was in the back of the truck when it was taken, according to authorities. Police acted quickly and within hours the suspects and the truck were located, but they couldn’t find any baby.
That is because, well, there was no baby.
Police believe that the couple made up that part of their story to ensure that the cops worked quickly to recover their truck.
“After an intensive search for the reported baby, we have learned that the ‘care giving couple’ fabricated the story of a kidnapping. The couple wanted quicker police response to get their vehicle back from the suspects who took their truck without their permission,” police wrote later that day. “The resources used during this investigation worked tirelessly to find the alleged kidnapped baby. A police helicopter was also used during the search. With the facts as we now know them, the suspects will now be arrested and booked for false reporting to law enforcement”
The pair were arrested on Thursday. Sgt. Mercedes Fortune told AzFamily they were booked for false reporting to law enforcement. It’s not clear if they have entered pleas. They no longer appear to be in custody.
“I know there’s a lot of people that may think ‘You should have known this from the beginning.’ But we have to err on the side of finding this 18-month-old,” Fortune told KTAR. “We did the right thing.”
Police have not immediately responded to Oxygen.com’s request for comment. The department has not identified the alleged truck thieves. It's unclear if the truck was illegally taken.
It’s not clear if the Wagners have attorneys.
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