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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 May, 2005, 17:46 GMT 18:46 UK
Runaway US bride faces jail term
'Missing' poster for Jennifer Wilbanks
Jennifer Wilbanks risk up to six years in prison
A US woman who pretended she had been kidnapped on the eve of her wedding faces up to six years in jail.

Jennifer Wilbanks, 32, from Georgia, has been charged with making a false statement and false police report.

"At some point you just can't lie to the police," Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter said.

But Ms Wilbanks' lawyer, Lydia Sartain, said fellow citizens would be "ill-served by an attempted prosecution".

An arrest warrant is to be issued within a few days, but Mr Porter said he was confident Ms Wilbanks would turn herself in.

The case has attracted mass media attention in the US.

Costly search

Ms Wilbanks disappeared on 26 April, days ahead of her wedding, to which 600 people had been invited, after telling her husband-to-be she was going for a jog.

She travelled all the way to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she eventually contacted police a few days later and told them she had been kidnapped and sexually assaulted.

When officers questioned her about the exact circumstances of her abduction, she admitted running away for unspecified personal reasons, but denied any links to her wedding.

In the meantime, Ms Wilbanks' disappearance had sparked a massive search in and around the Atlanta suburb of Duluth where she lived.

Local authorities spent some $50,000 (27,297) to find her, and posters were put up across the US.

The state and county agencies involved have already said they will seek reimbursement from Ms Wilbanks, who is voluntarily undergoing professional treatment.

But Duluth, which sustained the bulk of the costs, is still negotiating with her lawyer.

Apology call to US runaway bride
01 May 05 |  Americas

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