Pennsylvania State Police said that the missing persons’ case of Chloe Stein, 23, from Jeannette, Pennsylvania, was an apparent hoax after she was found at the house of someone who knew her.
Authorities were alerted around lunchtime on Tuesday after Stein’s boyfriend and two friends found her car abandoned on a road, under a bridge, about a mile from the Sonic restaurant where she worked in Hempfield.
Stein’s boyfriend received a message from her around 11pm on Monday, indicating that she was being pulled over – which also turned out to be a lie.
The woman’s mother said her daughter dropped off a co-worker after her shift at Sonic that night after 10pm, came back to work to drop off a set of keys, and then headed home.
Police initially said that Stein was supposed to graduate from Penn State University in the coming days, but since learned that she was not enrolled in the college for the past year and a half.
Trooper Steve Limani said Stein ditched her car in Greensburg on Monday night and walked at least three miles to the house of someone who knew her.
She stayed in the garage of the home, which was not used to store cars, until Tuesday night, police said.
After police received a tip that she was there, they took her into custody and charged her with false alarm to agency of public safety, false reports, obstruction of administration of law and other governmental functions, and disorderly conduct.
Limani said police spent “tens of thousands of dollars” on the search effort.
Police looked for Stein for six to seven hours on Tuesday, with K-9s and a helicopter. They also used help from local fire departments to search a wooded area.
Stein insisted during a police interview that she was abducted following a traffic stop, blindfolded, and taken to multiple locations in the area, according to court docs, per Trib Live.
“Video evidence, cellular evidence and information obtained during interviews concluded that Stein had fabricated the incident,” troopers wrote in the complaint.
“When questioned further about the inconsistencies, Stein admitted that she had fabricated all of the information pertaining to the incident.”
An attorney for Stein was not listed in online court records.
Authorities wanted to make it clear that there is no threat to the public.
“The only reason we are here before tomorrow is because the people need to know there is not somebody pulling people over this minute that is abducting people,” Limani said Tuesday night while addressing the community.