STARKVILLE, Miss.–A Mississippi State University Police Department investigation determined a female student’s claim that she was the victim of a Sept. 11 abduction attempt was a hoax.
“When interviewed, the student recanted her account of her initial report to the MSU Police Department,” said MSU Dean of Students Thomas Bourgeois. He said the student faces criminal charges for filing a false report.
“Student safety is a serious issue and is one of our university’s top priorities,” Bourgeois said. “We do, however, hope that students will be vigilant in being aware of their surroundings and maintaining normal cautions against any threats to their personal safety.”
Normal measures in place on the MSU campus include campus emergency phone boxes, the Bully Patrol escorts that are available on request from the MSUPD, and video surveillance.
“We also encourage students who must be out at night to have a friend accompany them if possible,” Bourgeois said.
At approximately 11 p.m. on Wednesday [Sept. 11], the MSUPD received a report from a student who claimed that she was walking behind Sessums Hall when an unidentified black male jumped from between two cars and attempted to grab her. The victim claimed to have shouted for help and that a second male responded to the cries for help. The perpetrator then released the victim and ran toward the campus Burger King.
Bourgeois said the report was a fabrication.
MSUPD responded immediately and secured the scene. A preliminary campus search for the perpetrator and the process of verifying the immediate safety of Sessums Hall and other residence halls followed.
MSU issued a Maroon Alert notification for the Starkville campus informing the campus community that the MSUPD had received notification of a possible abduction attempt near Sessums Hall.
The Maroon Alert remained on the MSU website until early Thursday morning [Sept. 12] as a precaution.