An 11-year-old Port Orange girl has been arrested after she texted 911 to falsely report that her friend was kidnapped by an armed male driving a white van on South I-95 in Oak Hill. She has been charged with a felony and a misdemeanor.
Multiple deputies responded, along with Edgewater, New Smyrna Beach and Port Orange police, and Air One, to search for the suspect vehicle but no van was found.
The Central Florida girl, who was born in 2012, told deputies she got the idea to prank 911 through a YouTube challenge and thought it “would be funny.”
However, Sheriff Mike Chitwood isn’t amused. “This kind of prank activity is dangerous – we’re going to investigate every incident but today it wasted valuable resources that might have helped someone else who legitimately needed our help,” the Volusia Sheriff said.
The saga began at 9:45am when a dispatcher at the Sheriff’s Communications Center advised of a suspicious incident reported by text message. The girl said her 14-year-old friend had been abducted and she was following in a blue Jeep. For the next hour and a half, the girl texted updates including a description of the male suspect and that he had a gun. Ultimately, deputies were directed to a home in Port Orange by investigative means tracking the cell phone used to text 911.
At 10:23am, deputies arrived at the home on Poppy Lane and contacted the girl’s father, who said she was inside with her family. As deputies approached the girl, she was holding her cell phone, which was ringing as she walked out to meet the deputies. When answered, Volusia Sheriff’s Dispatch was on the line and deputies verified they were on scene.
The 12-year-old was charged with making a false police report concerning the use of a firearm in a violent manner, a felony, and misuse of 911, a misdemeanor. She was transported to the Family Resource Center for processing, then transferred to the Volusia Regional Juvenile Detention Center.
The Sheriff warns parents how important it is to closely monitor kids’ use of social media. The Volusia Sheriff’s Office is hosting several community forums to help parents protect their kids from Internet dangers. Each event runs from 6pm to 7:30pm. Check the upcoming meeting schedule here.