Oakland police: Abduction hoax triggered four-hour Amber Alert
By Erin Ivie, Kristin J. Bender and Harry Harris
Feb. 1, 2013
OAKLAND — A woman who claimed her husband assaulted her, then abducted a nonexistent 18-month-old daughter could face charges for wasting local and state resources after the fraudulent report sparked an hours-long manhunt, police said late Friday.
Officials canceled a statewide Amber Alert that had been up for four hours Friday morning after determining the report was a hoax and the child does not exist, a police spokeswoman said.
“We are going to talk to the (Alameda County) District Attorney’s Office about what charges will be filed,” said Oakland police spokeswoman Johnna Watson. “Investigators will discuss the false reporting (of a crime) and (false) use of the Amber Alert system.”
The woman madeup a name for the child — Isaza Tolefree — and described her as a black female with black hair and brown eyes, wearing a pink shirt with blue bears on it and holding a yellow and orange Tigger blanket, police said.
Police have declined to release the woman’s name, but she has been interviewed at police headquarters and will likely be interviewed again in the coming days.
Also on Friday, police arrested Kim Tolefree, the woman’s 47-year-old husband, on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon as well as a domestic abuse charge after police said he backed his truck into the woman’s car during a heated argument at their East Oakland home.
The two, who do have an older child together, have a long history of domestic problems.
They were scheduled to attend an unrelated court hearing in Oakland on Friday for a prior domestic abuse case, authorities said. The couple did not go to the hearing.
The incident began about 12:45 a.m. Friday, when officers were called to a home near 94th Avenue and Holly Street on a report of a car crash. The woman told arriving officers that Tolefree had pistol-whipped her, then got in his truck and chased her fleeing car down the street, ramming into her vehicle and causing her to crash, police said.
She told officers Tolefree took the child from her car at gunpoint and drove away.
An Amber Alert was issued for the girl about 4 a.m. and canceled about 8 a.m. after officials learned she had fabricated the abduction.
“The investigation determined that the couple does not have an 18-month-old child and that the kidnapping had not occurred,” Watson said in a statement. “The investigation did determine that Tolefree assaulted the woman with his vehicle. A firearm was not located.”
There was not a child seat in the woman’s car, police said.
Tolefree surrendered to police Friday morning after seeing the Amber Alert in search of him and his truck, Watson said.