COLUMBUS, Ohio — An Ohio mom has been charged with lying to cops about her 4-year-old daughter being kidnapped — triggering a statewide Amber alert — in an effort to get them to find her stolen car more quickly.
Jessica Pickett, 22, told Columbus police that she had started her car Monday morning to warm it up and had left her daughter, Janylia Fails, in the back seat when she briefly went back inside to get another of her kids. When she returned, she said the car, and her daughter, were gone.
That led cops to post an Amber alert for a missing child, mobilizing a massive police response.
“We had hundreds of officers activated. We utilized our helicopter the canines, the missing persons unit, the sexual assault unit — pretty much every resource we had available at the time,” said Sgt. Terry McConnell. “It was a huge task.”
Officers soon located the missing car but the girl was inside. But as investigators continued questioning people, they “determined she never was in the car,” McConnell said.
Turns out she had been with her aunt all along.
When asked why she lied to police, McConnell said Pickett told officers: “She wanted us to find her car faster.”
Pickett has been charged with filing a false report and her daughter has been placed with the city’s child services.
In the meantime, cops picked up Bradley Stroud, 22, and charged him with stealing the car.