Episode 80: Faking It

I love the idea of sneaking away unexpectedly for a few days, dropping off the grid, turning off the phone, and shutting out the world. Provided you don’t fake your own kidnapping to do it.

That’s what happened on Tuesday, May 26, 2009, when Bucks County Pennsylvania resident Bonnie Sweeten called 911 from the trunk of a car.  She said she’d been carjacked by two African American men.  These men threw Bonnie and her 9 year old daughter Julia into the trunk of their car and took off.  That phone call initiated a multi county search for Bonnie and Julia.  Police found Bonnie Sweeten’s car 12 hours later in center city Philadelphia, with a parking ticket on the windshield, and no sign of Bonnie or Julia.  Nor was there any sign of these supposed car jackers.  The car jackers didn’t exist, and Bonnie and Julia were at the happiest place on earth.

What would posses someone to fake their own kidnapping, and that of their child?  Why did Bonnie Sweeten fabricate such an elaborate ruse that had her family convinced, at least for 24 hours, they may never see her or her daughter again?  Her reasons for deception started four years before her trip to Disneyworld, and the breadth of her deceit was much farther reaching than anyone realized.

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