Hollywood man accused of making up report of child abduction

Police searched for hours but found no missing girl or evidence of kidnapping

Police say Joseph Wilker fabricated a story about a child abduction.
Police say Joseph Wilker fabricated a story about a child abduction.

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – A Hollywood man was arrested Tuesday after police said he falsely claimed a young girl had been abducted last month, sparking an hourslong search by local authorities.

Wilker Joseph, 27, faces a charge of making a false report to police.

According to the arrest report, Joseph told police on Feb. 12 that two men forced a teenage girl into a black pickup truck near North 22nd Avenue and Garfield Street around 8:30 a.m. Joseph said the girl screamed, "Don't touch me. Let me go," before she was abducted, the report said.

Joseph told police he tried to confront the men but one of them was armed with a gun. 

However when officers reviewed video from nearby surveillance cameras, they could find no evidence of the abduction. When officers contacted area schools to ask whether any students failed to turn up for class, administrators told police all their students were accounted for.

In the meantime, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office deployed its helicopter to search for the abducted girl. Dozens of Hollywood police officers canvassed the area, searching for the girl to no avail.

When officers told Joseph that they believed he fabricated the story, Joseph maintained he witnessed the abduction. Police did not provide an explanation as to why Joseph would make the false report.