Woman Held in Missing-Child Hoax an FBI Informant

The woman accused of calling an Indiana couple and falsely claiming to be their long-lost daughter had previously been an FBI informant, according to a published report.

Donna L. Walker, who was held by Kansas authorities Friday in lieu of $100,000 bail, provided tips to authorities in Oregon and California, The Oregonian (search) reported in Saturday's editions.

Federal court papers say an informant identified as "Donna" frequently posed as a young girl to lure child pornographers out of the shadows of the Internet and turn them over to authorities in Arizona, California, Kentucky and Washington. Donna Walker was later subpoenaed as a witness, and federal officials as well as Walker have acknowledged that she was the informant, The Oregonian reported in Saturday's editions.

Federal officials also suspect that Walker, 35, set off a wild-goose chase in Oregon that prompted investigators to search for two missing Michigan girls in January 2002. They were eventually found in West Virginia, living with their mother and her husband, a convicted pedophile.

Confronted about the incident in later interviews with The Oregonian, Walker did not deny that she was behind the fraud. She blamed her lapses in judgment on multiple personality disorder.

"Like all criminal informants, you've got to separate the wheat from the chaff," FBI Special Agent Richard Davidson said Friday from Chico, Calif. "You know what issues she's got. But she does have some good information — or has in the past."

FBI officials did not respond to calls from The Associated Press Saturday seeking comment.

Walker first came to the attention of the FBI in Oregon in January 2002, the newspaper said.

On Jan. 27, dispatchers at a crisis hot line in Portland fielded a call from a man claiming he was thinking about killing himself and a teenage girl he was traveling with. A short time later, a girl's voice told emergency dispatchers that the man had kidnapped her in Michigan and that she was in a car at a McDonald's restaurant in Portland's southeast suburbs.

Sheriff's deputies searched several McDonald's sites but found nothing.

The girl told dispatchers she was 13 and gave the name of a 13-year-old Michigan girl who, along with her older sister, was reported missing from the Ypsilanti area. A similar call was placed the following day, and authorities again turned up nothing.

The girls were found the following day in West Virginia with their mother, who was charged with illegally removing and concealing them from their father.

The Michigan girls apparently were never in Oregon at the time of the searches, said FBI spokeswoman Beth Anne Steele in Portland. Walker is thought to have been behind the hoax, she said.

Walker began to phone The Oregonian shortly after the hoax, using a variety of voices ranging from girls to women and, occasionally, a man.

These characters offered news tips that could not be corroborated, some of them involving high-profile Oregon murder suspects Christian Longo and Ward Weaver III.