Deputies: Missing Anderson teen staged kidnapping to see friends
Anderson (WHNS) — The family of a teen who went missing in Anderson County said the girl was home safe Sunday morning after deputies said she staged her disappearance.
Deputies with the Anderson County Sheriff's Office said Haley Michelle Hilton, 16, disappeared from her home in the Appleton area Wednesday.
On Sunday, deputies confirmed Hilton had returned home unharmed, but said they were still investigating the girl's disappearance.
Hilton's grandmother said the girl made her way to a relative's home on Saturday night after escaping a group of men who had taken her from her home.
Hilton's family told FOX Carolina reporters on Friday that a group of men who had stopped in front of Hilton's home to ask for directions pulled Hilton into a silver four-door sedan and drove off. The family members said they attempted to pull her from the car but were unsuccessful.
The teen's family also told FOX Carolina that she had received phone calls from a private number the previous week where she was threatened to be abducted.
Hilton's grandmother said she received a text from the teen late Saturday night in which Hilton claimed she had escaped her abductors.
The grandmother said she received a call a short time later from Hilton. During that phone call the grandmother said Hilton claimed she had been able to hitchhike to a nearby aunt's house.
Deputies said they were actively investigating the claims and determined that Hilton staged her disappearance as a kidnapping to trick her family so she could spend time with friends.
Lt. Sheila Cole with the Anderson County Sheriff's Office said Hilton was under house arrest when she disappeared. Cole said deputies were conferring with the Department of Juvenile Justice on the false complaint.
Deputies said they received several tips and thanked the public and media's help in the case.