A Florida woman has been charged with making a false police report, child neglect, and tampering with or fabricating physical evidence, according to an arrest report obtained by Law & Crime, a website that documents trials and crime reports.
Tammy Steffen called the Pasco County, FL, sheriff’s office last Saturday to report that her 12-year-old daughter had just been the victim of an attempted kidnapping by an “unknown” person. Steffen claimed the man grabbed the girls’ arm and tried to drag her into the woods. Steffen told police she “had been receiving threatening messages and phone calls from unknown numbers,” according to Law & Crime.
Steffen then took police to the place where she said the failed abduction had occurred. They found a black laptop bag and a blue notebook with personal information about the Steffen family written in it. The woman then told police that she suspected her former business partner, and her daughter identified the man after being shown his photo.
Authorities sent resources, including K9 units, air surveillance, patrol cars, specialty units and major crimes, to investigate Steffen’s claim.
But just a week later, Joshua Hanson, a detective with the sheriff’s office, held a press conference, where he told reporters the department started suspecting Steffen had made up the report after she told news outlets to leave her home. That didn’t seem like something a parent would do in this situation.
The former business partner of Steffen’s was in Tampa at the time of the alleged abduction attempt, surveillance footage proved. More surveillance footage showed Steffen at a local Walmart, where she purchased the laptop cover and notebook found by police. She also purchased some colored pens to make the notes about her personal information.
Further, law enforcement said, Steffen told her daughter what to say and even had her urinate on herself to make the claim more believable. Her husband even bought her story, but is not believed to be involved in the ruse.
Police believe Steffen invented the lie to get back at that former business partner because she believed he somehow prevented her from winning an online fitness contest.
“That somehow he altered votes, or swayed votes so that she would not win this contest,” Pasco County Sheriff’s Office Captain Christopher Beaman said.