With tears in her eyes, Brooklyn Terry offers an apology to her community.
“I’m sorry to the people and the officers and the community that I lied to y’all, and I said I thought someone was kidnapping me. And I’ll never do it again,” she said.
According to authorities, the 11-year-old Moneta girl fabricated a claim Friday that a pair of men tried to abduct her from her own front yard.
“I have went from the scaredest of my life, thinking that someone was trying to take my daughter, to finding out that it’s not true, and it’s been the most embarrassing time of my life. I have tried to turn this town upside-down to try to find something that didn’t exist,” said her father, James.
He says neither he nor his wife have slept or eaten much since 4:52 p.m. that Friday, when he received his daughter’s frantic text.
“I was just ready to go get her, no matter at what cost. I was going to get my child. No matter what I had to do,” he said. “[If there is] somebody out there trying to take kids out of our yards in our area, we need to know that. Everyone needs to know that. And we were worried for everyone’s safety as well as our own children.”
He says investigators told him around 7 p.m. on Saturday – almost 26 hours later – that things didn’t add up.
“He says, ‘we have some video footage that you need to look at.’ So he says, ‘there’s no cars coming in from down at the end of the road, no cars coming from the beginning of the road.’ He says, ‘but your neighbor down the road has her riding her bike past his house.’ And as soon as he said that, I knew right then. And my heart dropped,” he said. “Last night we felt like crawling underneath a rock, yes. We’re not going to move, we’re not cowards, we’re not going to run from our problems. But it is embarrassing. We don’t want to go to the store. I mean, people know us. People drive past our house constantly. Now every time that someone drives past our house, it’s almost like a stain over us. And it’s not fair to my oldest child, it’s not fair to my wife.”
Terry says he was surprised by the quickness and specificity of Brooklyn’s story, especially since she left the house happy and is, as he describes her, “a happy kid, an athlete, a good student, and outgoing.”
He says that, based on text messages on Brooklyn’s phone and deleted ones recovered by laptop, Brooklyn was communicating with a friend throughout the ordeal.
“We’re just humiliated. We just cannot believe- because we never thought our child would do this. But somehow, some way, we will make it right,” he said. “There is going to be consequence for this action.”
He says he and his wife have had Brooklyn spend the morning writing apology letters, and are deciding on an appropriate punishment for her, like community service.
Looking forward, he hopes his daughter can move past this, especially with a combination of doctors and counselors, and the continued support of a caring neighborhood.
“I know people are going to criticize us, and that’s fine, I can handle that. I’m worried about my child. I know she’s going to get it harder than- I don’t know if she can handle it as good as us,” he said. “Like I say, this is a great community because we found out pretty quick, the truth. And I believe in my heart that if there was somebody out here, we would have caught them.”