Alleged 'victim' in white van abduction case accused of making up story

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by WHAS11

WHAS11.com

Posted on January 22, 2013 at 7:16 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 23 at 9:43 AM

BARDSTOWN, Ky. (WHAS11) -- There is a new twist in the case of a man in a white van allegedly trying to abduct women. Police say at least one of the incidents reported in the past two weeks never actually happened.

The investigation into the second incident, involving an alleged attempted abduction at a Cracker Barrel in Bardstown has been closed because police said evidence shows it never happened.

The alleged victim in that case is behind bars while police still look for a man in a white van.

“They're just choosing not to believe it. They can't show that it didn't,” Lechia Smaagaard said, as she was being led to jail in handcuffs.

The Cracker Barrel employee reported a man tried to grab her in a parking lot earlier in January.

“In the last 48 to 72 hours, this case has really taken a turn,” Bardstown Police Chief Rick McCubbin said. “The more video we were getting in, the more we were seeing holes in the story.”

When asked what actually happened, Smaagaard said, “A man grabbed me one day. I didn't stick around to see where he went. I guess that was my mistake.”

The incident was one of four alleged attempted abductions involving a white man in a white work van.

While police are continuing to investigate the other cases, they say there were red flags from the beginning involving Smaagaard's case.

“We knew she had warrants on her very early on, but being that she was a victim and we started to see holes, we wanted to hold on those local warrants until we knew more,” McCubbin said.

Smaagaard was charged with failure to appear on a traffic charge and with a felony theft charge from South Carolina.

The video, license plate number and vehicle description police originally released was based on Smaagaard's story.

“We're really back to square one with a scruffy white male with salt and pepper hair in a white van,” McCubbin said. “We don't know if it's a Ford, we don't know if it's a Chevy. Unfortunately, because of what this lady has done, we're back to square one."

Smaagaard could also face charges of falsely reporting an incident.

Meanwhile, police in Louisville and Bardstown are still searching for a man in a white van, only now, they have less information to go on.

Stay up-to-date with the WHAS11 News mobile app.

Editor's note: Police originally told WHAS11 that the woman's last name is Lewis.

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