(UTICA) - The teenager girl who said a stranger sexually assaulted her on the way to the bus stop this week made the story up, Clark County's sheriff said.
The 15-year-old girl admitted Friday the incident didn't happen, Sheriff Danny Rodden said.
The county prosecutor will decide whether the teenage accuser will face charges for filing a false report, Rodden said.
The girl's guardian, her great-aunt, said a detective assured her that the teenager wouldn't face charges. The girl was ice skating with friends Friday night, the guardian said.
The guardian, who declined an on-camera interview, called the incident a cry for help from a girl whose mother is in jail and whose father was never a part of her life.
The great-aunt didn't apologize to neighbors, who were concerned all week and saw an increased police presence in their neighborhood. Instead, she said she needed to provide help for the teenager.
The guardian said she had doubts about the story from the beginning, but called it "out of character" for the girl to lie about the assault.
The girl told detectives Tuesday that a man in a white panel van jumped out while she was on the way to her morning bus stop. The man held a gun, forced her inside the van, and sexually assaulted her, detectives said at the time.
The girl contradicted her own statements and detectives found the report "unfounded," Rodden said Friday.
Neighbors had mixed feelings about how the story affected the community, but said they hoped things would return to normal.
"Thank God it didn't happen," said Ernie Jones, who added that his wife was afraid this week to come home late at night. "This has always been a great neighborhood, no problems. And she got people wondering."
Others said they hoped neighbors would forgive the girl.
"I'll be resting better now, I know I will," Janet Lewis said. "Maybe it happened to warn us to pay more attention to what's going on."
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