Runaway Bride to Face Charges

This is a partial transcript from "On the Record," May 25, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: Runaway bride Jennifer Wilbanks has been charged with lying to police about being kidnapped, but the criminal charges are not Jennifer Wilbanks's only problem tonight. Her disappearance set off a massive search that cost about $40,000, and city officials want payback from Jennifer's family. We spoke to Jennifer's lawyer a short time ago, and her lawyer said that an agreement had been reached in principle to pay the city its out-of-pocket expenses.

Joining us from Lawrenceville, Georgia, with a live report is Andria Simmons of the Gwinnett Daily Post. Andria, any idea about what this cost is or what this number that may have been agreed to in principle?

ANDRIA SIMMONS, GWINNETT DAILY POST: Yes, they're talking about $13,000, which would cover the cost of the overtime that the city spent and their out-of-pocket expenses, such as for gas and for food. It's not going to cover the cost of the salaried employees, which they were factoring in when they reached the initial figure of $43,000.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Actually, the first number I heard was $100,000, then it drifted down to $43,000. Now it's down to $13,000. Maybe if we wait a little bit, it'll even come down a little bit more, I say with some tongue in cheek. All right. Now, the fact that she's been indicted by the grand jury — what are people in the community saying?

SIMMONS: I think some people are pretty surprised that she got indicted on two charges, the felony and the misdemeanor, because most of the talk up to now has been sort of an either/or situation, and that was if she was charged at all. To see her get charged with two things is kind of an interesting turn of events, and people are a little bit surprised about it.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you see in the community either family, they're out talking or at press conferences or anything?

SIMMONS: John Mason, her fiancé's parents were there. Her fiancé was not, but Claude and Vicky Mason were there. They did not talk to the media, but they were paying very close attention to everything Danny Porter said. I'm sure they were going to report back to their son today. And those are the only people that we've seen in public today.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do we know where Jennifer is? She's said to be in some facility, but any idea? Is it a local one?

SIMMONS: I think it's local. I really don't have any confirmed information. There have been rumors that she's in the Gainesville area, but nothing confirmed right now.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is John's life sort of back to normal, in a sense? Like, is he back at work?

SIMMONS: He's been staying pretty quiet and hasn't really been talking to people, including, from what I'm hearing, he hasn't really been talking to a lot of his friends. So I think he's still kind of processing all of this. I wouldn't say his life is back to normal by any means. His fiance is charged with several crimes, so who knows how that's going to affect their relationship.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you have a sense that people are not indifferent, they're either one side or the other on this case, or are there some people that simply don't care in the community and are sort of indifferent to this whole story?

SIMMONS: I think it's kind of polarizing. There are a lot of people that are sympathetic with her, and then there are people that are just completely fed up with the way that she's acted. And I haven't seen a whole lot of in between, to be honest. It seems to be one way or the other.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, Andria, thank you very much.

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