Anatomy of a Hoax
This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," May 28, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: What a hoax. It sent Philly police on a wild goose chase that ended, where else, Disney World. A woman called 911, saying she and her 9-year-old daughter had been carjacked and kidnapped. The woman said she was calling from the trunk of a black Cadillac. Now, the whole story turned out to be a big, fat lie. The mother and daughter now have been found in Disney World. The ex-husband of the woman who made the false report spoke about the case, the ordeal his daughter went through, and first talked about his ex-wife.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTHONY RAKOCZY: I just think she -- she just kind of lost it a little bit. I mean, you know, I've known this woman for, you know, a long time, and you know, she's always been very together, and you know, tons of friends. Everybody loves her. And I just think she had, you know, just a bad -- bad time. I mean, you know, I'm hoping that we're all going to get her through this, and you know -- you know, for the kids' sake and for her little baby's sake, you know, that we're going to through this. And hopefully, one day, we'll look back on this like, you know, it never happened.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How is your daughter?
RAKOCZY: She sounds great, a little upset. You know, she's just waiting for me to come get her. I guess she had a rough night. You know, she's with people she don't know, but you know, we're going to get -- we're going to get her as soon as -- you know, as fast as we can. But she sounded good, a little upset, but you know, she sounded good. You know, when something like this happens, you don't know if you're ever going to, you know, hear that voice again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: The 9-year-old girl is now with her father. Joining us live is WTXF reporter Sharon Crowley. Sharon, the father just mentioned something about the baby. Is there another child besides this 9-year-old that she took off with?
SHARON CROWLEY, WTXF: No, she only took off with her 9-year-old, but she does have three daughters. And she -- that is her ex-husband, who is the father of the 9-year-old daughter. She has two girls with him, and then she recently remarried and they have an 8-month-old baby. But she only took one child to Florida. In fact, one child, the older one, was in school. She's 15 years old. And the 8-month-old, we're told, was in day care because we did ask that at the press conference last night.
But Greta, I got to tell you, just a couple of hours ago, it was a pretty happy reunion. In fact, Philadelphia police gave father and daughter, Anthony and Julia, an escort right onto the tarmac, back to their home in Bucks County. They arrived here at Philadelphia International Airport just a couple of hours ago. And people I talked to who were on the flight with them said little Julia really seemed good, was smiling, seemed relaxed, and of course, happy to be with her father.
VAN SUSTEREN: I would think she ought to be, like -- you know, she loves her mother. No matter what her mother did or no matter how, you know, bizarre this is, taking the -- doing this crazy story, she loves her mother. So you know, the poor kid. Now she's with their father. She's lucky. But the mother -- where is the mother, sitting in jail?
CROWLEY: Yes. The mother is in Orlando, Florida, and she is not going to fight extradition. She has a hearing at 9:00 AM tomorrow in Florida, and then we expect she could be back here in Philadelphia as early as the end of Friday, or possibly Monday.
And she is facing some criminal charges. And while they appear minor at first -- identity theft, because as you may have heard, she actually talked a co-worker into giving her her driver's license, and the two look pretty similar, and that's how she was able to buy a ticket with cash here at Philadelphia International Airport and take that flight to Florida with her 9-year-old daughter. And so that is somewhat -- it's a misdemeanor, a minor charge.
But the Bucks County DA has said this investigation is continuing. Our sources are saying she could be facing major financial allegations against her and embezzling significant amounts of money. We're told by sources that is the type of thing that investigators are looking into.
VAN SUSTEREN: Which may be why -- may be why she did take off. I mean, there's no crime in just taking off with your child. That's not a crime. But when you concoct these sort of crazy schemes and maybe take money, that's when you get into deep trouble. Are they saying that she's bizarre or are they saying that it looks like she's a thief?
CROWLEY: Well, they're saying that she had financial troubles and she may have had some domestic issues with her current husband. That's what the Bucks County DA was saying last night at her news conference.
Now, I got to tell you, from the very beginning, we've been covering this, even at -- right when it came over the scanners and there was a call that there was a woman in the truck of a car in Center City, Philadelphia, a crowded area, it really seemed preposterous from the beginning. And then when we started to talk to law enforcement early on, they said there were so many inconsistencies with the stories.
But I also talked with someone in law enforcement who listened to one of those 911 calls. As you know, a number of them were made. And he said she must be a pretty good actress because she was really crying and upset and really quite believable.
VAN SUSTEREN: Is the child -- I suppose the child hasn't spoken out yet, that she's been protected by police and now her father. We haven't heard what the child had to say.
CROWLEY: Yes, they have a very close watch on her. As I said, Philadelphia police escorted her, you know, back to their home in Bucks County, which is about an hour drive from here. And you know, they are really carefully watching her, adults surrounding her.
And obviously, I'm sure she'll get some kind of counseling because it must have been just horrific. We understand that they were at Disney World, at the park, and that she was -- they were watching her, law enforcement, for quite some time. And then the mother, Bonnie Sweeten, was picked up as she went back into the hotel that they were staying in, the Grand Floridian. So it must have been quite shocking for a young 9-year- old child to see that unfold.
VAN SUSTEREN: Terrible story. Sharon, thank you.
CROWLEY: Thank you.
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