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Family offers $100,000 in missing bride-to-be case post #1  quote:



Police say search efforts suspended

Friday, April 29, 2005 Posted: 3:03 PM EDT (1903 GMT)


Jennifer Wilbanks, 32, has been missing since she reportedly went jogging Tuesday evening.


DULUTH, Georgia (CNN) -- The family of a missing Georgia woman whose wedding was scheduled for Saturday has offered $100,000 for information leading to a breakthrough in the case.

Jennifer Wilbanks, 32, has been missing since Tuesday night when her fiance, John Mason, says she told him that she was going for a 40-minute run near their home in Duluth, a suburb northeast of Atlanta.

News of the reward preceded a police announcement that law enforcement has suspended its searches and will continue the investigation by responding to tips and analysis of hair found while canvassing the Duluth area.

During a Friday press conference to announce the reward, Wilbanks' uncle, Mike Satterfield said, "We love Jennifer very much. We would give our lives and everything we own to have her returned."

Satterfield said that Mason took a lie-detector test Friday and passed.

Duluth Police Chief Randy Belcher said a private examiner administered the polygraph test to Mason, whose attorney is still negotiating conditions of a state-administered exam.

Satterfield said that the family was not disturbed by the police request to give Mason a polygraph test.

"We consider it a normal process," he said. "It assures everyone that everything is being done to find out what has happened. It's normal; we treat it as something that has to be done."

Police have said the hope that Wilbanks disappeared intentionally is waning.

Belcher said the possibility Wilbanks developed "cold feet" before her wedding had been mostly ruled out.

"The longer this investigation continues, and she hasn't shown up, that theory is dwindling quickly," he said.

During the press conference, Wilbanks' mother sobbed heavily before people ushered her away.

Wiping tears from beneath his dark shades, Satterfield said the family was trying to cope with the disappearance and lack of theories and evidence.

With "our faith, our prayers and our friends ... we will make it through this," he said.

Extensive searches of the area around Wilbanks' home in Duluth produced little of evidentiary value, police said. "All these searches turned up nothing that was beneficial to us to bring this search to a conclusion," Belcher said.

On Thursday, police classified the case as a criminal investigation. While there is no indication a crime was committed, more resources are available in a such a probe, Belcher said.

Wilbanks is 5 feet 8 inches and weighs 120 pounds; she has brown hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing a gray sweat shirt, blue sweat pants and blue New Balance running shoes, police said.

The search area once covered more than five square miles and had expanded to several more miles Thursday, Belcher said. Belcher said searchers found sweat pants in Duluth, sweatshirts in two nearby towns and some hair.

The clump of hair was found in a business complex in the Duluth area, Belcher said. The hair was consistent with Wilbanks' hair color and appeared to have been cut, Belcher said.

The hair and clothing are being tested to see if they are relevant to the disappearance.

Duluth Police Maj. Don Woodruff emphasized they could belong to anyone and may not be related to Wilbanks' disappearance.

Police have no suspects or solid leads, Belcher said. Authorities were checking into about five registered sex offenders living in Duluth as well as friends, past boyfriends and co-workers, he said.

Mason has said he didn't believe Wilbanks got anxious over the upcoming marriage because "she left her car, her money, her phone, her keys, her diamond ring." The couple became engaged in August.

Belcher said police had received tips from as far away as California. No claim of a sighting had been confirmed, and the FBI is investigating the out-of-state information, he said.

CNN's Sara Dorsey and Marylynn Ryan contributed to this report.


Old Post 04-29-2005 08:08 PM
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post #2  quote:

They found this chick alive. The story just broke a few minutes ago. Don't have any more details right now.

-HECK!


Old Post 04-30-2005 08:03 AM
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post #3  quote:

Missing Bride Found Alive in New Mexico

ATLANTA - A 32-year-old woman who vanished just days before she was to be married was found alive early Saturday in New Mexico, police said.

Jennifer Wilbanks had been missing since Tuesday, when her fiance reported that she went for her nightly run and didn't come home, according to police in Duluth, Ga., where the couple lives.

Duluth police confirmed that she had been found but had no immediate details.

Wilbanks was found hours after police in the Atlanta suburb started dismantling a search center, saying they had no solid leads. Relatives offered a $100,000 reward for information.

The couple's wedding was set for Saturday. Six hundred invitations had been mailed, and the wedding was to feature 14 bridesmaids and 14 groomsmen, Wilbanks' family has said.

------

-HECK!


Old Post 04-30-2005 08:22 AM
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Missing Georgia bride-to-be found alive in New Mexico post #4  quote:

Saturday, April 30, 2005 Posted: 4:26 AM EDT (0826 GMT)

DULUTH, Georgia (CNN) -- Three days after Jennifer Wilbanks went missing during a jog near her Georgia home -- and on the eve of what was to be her wedding day -- she has been found alive and well in New Mexico after being freed by kidnappers, family and police said.

Wilbanks, 32, called her fiance, John Mason, at his Duluth, Georgia home from an Albuquerque pay phone at 1:40 a.m. EDT Saturday to say she had freed by two strangers -- a man and a woman -- who abducted her Tuesday night, Mason said.

Within minutes, Wilbanks was located by Albuquerque Police, where she is being questioned by the FBI and where family members will fly to Saturday morning for a reunion.

"She is here and very much safe with us," said Albuquerque Police spokeswoman Trish Ahrensfield.

Police sex crimes detectives are investigating the possibility Wilbanks was sexually assaulted during her kidnapping, based on information she has given police, Ahrensfield said.

Wilbanks, who was to be married to Mason Saturday in a wedding in Duluth, was last seen by her fiance Tuesday night, when she left the Duluth home she shares with him for a jog about 8:30 p.m.

"She was scared," Mason said. "She didn't know where she was."

"Her abductors let her go," said Pastor Alan Jones, who was to preside at the wedding. "They got scared and let her go and she made it to a pay phone and actually called the home."

Wilbanks said her abductors "came up behind her, cut her hand and put her in a blue van," Jones said.

Among the clues found during the search that followed her disappearance was a clump of hair along the route she was believed to have been jogging. Ahrensfield, the Albuquerque Police spokeswoman, said it appeared Wilbanks hair had been cut.

Her father, Harris Wilbanks, said they hope to bring her back soon so the wedding can go on.

"We may invite the whole country to this wedding," Harris Wilbanks said.


Old Post 04-30-2005 09:42 AM
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post #5  quote:

What I cant believe is that this woman made up the whole story of being kidnapped because she got scared!! She put her family through hell...wouldnt she know this?? Why wouldnt she have just called them? Strange!


Ga. Woman Found, Reportedly Got Cold Feet

By MARY PEREA, Associated Press Writer
28 minutes ago



ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - A Georgia bride-to-be who vanished days before her wedding turned up in New Mexico, claiming at first that she had been abducted, then admitting she had gotten cold feet and "needed some time alone," police said Saturday.


Jennifer Wilbanks, 32, was in police custody more than 1,420 miles from her home on what was supposed to be her wedding day.

"It turns out that Miss Wilbanks basically felt the pressure of this large wedding and could not handle it," said Randy Belcher, the police chief in Duluth, Ga., the Atlanta suburb where Wilbanks lives with her fiance. He said there would be no criminal charges.

Wilbanks, whose disappearance set off a nationwide hunt, called her fiance, John Mason, from a pay phone late Friday and told him that she had been kidnapped while jogging three days before, authorities said. Her family rejoiced that she was safe, telling reporters that the media coverage apparently got to the kidnappers.

But Wilbanks soon recanted, according to police.

Ray Schultz, chief of police in Albuquerque, said Wilbanks "had become scared and concerned about her impending marriage and decided she needed some time alone." He said she traveled to Las Vegas by bus before going to Albuquerque, where she found herself broke.

"It looks like she had enough money to get from Vegas to Albuquerque and this is where she ran out and ended up at," the chief said.

"She's obviously very concerned about the stress that she's been through, the stress that's been placed on her family," he said. "She is very upset."

The mood outside Wilbanks' home went from jubilant to somber after Wilbanks changed her story. Family members ducked inside and the blinds were drawn, but they later expressed relief that Wilbanks was safe.

"Sure, we were all disappointed, maybe a little embarrassed, but you know what, if you remember all the interviews yesterday we were praying, 'At this point let her be a runaway bride,'" said the Rev. Alan Jones, who was to perform the wedding. "So God was faithful. Jennifer's alive and we're all thankful for that."

Jones said the family had no idea that Wilbanks had fears about the wedding, and he believed she "probably had no clue how it had been blown out of proportion" while she was traveling across the country.

He said Mason had no hostility toward his fiancee.

"I have never met such a strong person in all my life," Jones said. "He's an incredible man."

The wedding was to have been a huge bash. The couple had mailed 600 invitations, and the ceremony was to feature 14 bridesmaids and 14 groomsmen.

Bill Elwell, an FBI spokesman in Albuquerque, said Wilbanks, who is a nurse, apparently decided shortly after purportedly leaving for her jog Tuesday night that she was going to run away.

"Based on the information we received, it was a spur of the moment situation," Elwell told The Associated Press.

She was picked up by police after the call to her fiance was traced to a pay phone in Albuquerque. During initial questioning, Wilbanks held to her story that she had been kidnapped. But there were inconsistencies as the interview wore on and at about 4 a.m. she told the truth.

"There were just a lot of holes in her story," Schultz said.

She was disheveled, tired and thirsty, but was not complaining of any injuries, officials said. Her hair, which was long in pictures released by her family, was shoulder-length.

Authorities will "get her showered, get her something to eat and then reunite her with her family," Albuquerque police spokeswoman Trish Ahrensfield said. Elwell said Wilbanks' relatives were en route to New Mexico and were expected to pick her up in the afternoon and head back to Atlanta.

Just hours before Wilbanks called her fiance, police in Duluth said they had no solid leads in the case and began dismantling a search center. Relatives offered a $100,000 reward for information and were planning a prayer vigil.

The hunt for Wilbanks had consumed Duluth, a tight-knit town. Her picture and newspaper articles about her disappearance were on telephone poles and shop windows. Police had also seized three computers from the home she shared with Mason.

Mason had become a target of suspicion and agreed to a private polygraph test, which Wilbanks' family said he passed. He had been negotiating with authorities for another test.

"That's been the hardest part for me," Mason said after Wilbanks called from Albuquerque. "It gives you a feeling like you can't walk outside your home."

Mason did not speak publicly after Wilbanks said she lied about being abducted. Her uncle, Mike Satterfield, thanked people who had helped in the search.

"Jennifer had some issues the family was not aware of. We're looking forward to loving her and talking to her about these issues," he said.

Ryan Kelly, owner of the Park Cafe a few blocks from Wilbanks' house, which gave out coffee and sandwiches to searchers, said he was glad Wilbanks was alive and healthy.

"But that being said, this is one of the most selfish and self-centered acts I've ever seen. We saw her parents, and you could see the anguish in their eyes. It was terrible," he said.

"I don't care where you are ? unless you're in the Amazon rain forest, you'd know everybody was out looking for you."


Old Post 04-30-2005 04:32 PM
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post #6  quote:

the wedding was supposed to have 600 guests and 14 bridesmaids. Talk about a huge event. Why couldn't she just tell her parents that she was not ready to get married. Sure they would be upset but nothing like thinking she might be dead.

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post #7  quote:

quote:
fuscia said this in post #6 :
the wedding was supposed to have 600 guests and 14 bridesmaids. Talk about a huge event. Why couldn't she just tell her parents that she was not ready to get married. Sure they would be upset but nothing like thinking she might be dead.


EXACTLY!!!

I still think they should charge her with something.

Remember that one gal that basically made up that story that she was abducted? They charged her...why not this one too?

After all that man power and all the dogs they used to try and track her down...she walks away with not even a slap?

Something is really wrong when one girl is charged but the other is not...I guess money talks.

How about her fiance? This guy was given an independent lie detecter test and he was in the process of getting a state one done through the police department and they took all three computers out of the house...you know they were looking at him as a suspect.

I wonder what is going through this guy's mind right now. If he has any brains he would dump this wacko!


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post #8  quote:

She should get a big bill from the local police for all the time they spent looking for her.

-HECK!


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post #9  quote:

She IS going to be charged, from what I heard, earlier this evening... and she should be. She put a lot of people through hell because of her 'stunt' and created a national worry about the woman. Damn, if you don't want to get married, tell that person, or something. But, what she did was utter ********.

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post #10  quote:

I agree with all of you but Heck in particular. Let's see her parents pony up some of that 100,000 reward money to reimburse Joe Tax-payer. The law enforcement people that did the actual searching should each be treated to a domestic round-trip ticket or something.
She should be given plenty of community service as her punishment. Prison doesn't seem to fit this "crime". Put her to work searching for missing children; teach her the gravity of what she's done.

When the joy of finding her alive wears off, there is little left for the groom but embarrassment.


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post #11  quote:

About the only thing they can charge he with is, lying to the Albuquerque Police about why she was there. But in fact they, after questioning her they have elected to not charger her. I expect because she turned around and told the truth.

It's not illegal for an adult to run away. So therefore where's the crime???

Hey it's not even a crime for a child to run away.

As I understand it, she called the Duluth Police Chief personally and said that she was abducted. The question here is, was it a criime to do that? She wasn't make a report. She wasn't being questioned concerning a crime.

I just don't see that a crime was committed. Then it's comes down to being sued for damages. And we all know anyone can sue anyone for anything.


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post #12  quote:

quote:
Ron Ackerman said this in post #11 :
About the only thing they can charge he with is, lying to the Albuquerque Police about why she was there. But in fact they, after questioning her they have elected to not charger her. I expect because she turned around and told the truth.

It's not illegal for an adult to run away. So therefore where's the crime???

Hey it's not even a crime for a child to run away.

As I understand it, she called the Duluth Police Chief personally and said that she was abducted. The question here is, was it a criime to do that? She wasn't make a report. She wasn't being questioned concerning a crime.

I just don't see that a crime was committed. Then it's comes down to being sued for damages. And we all know anyone can sue anyone for anything.




She was questioned...until like 4 in the morning...she told them all about the hispanic man and white woman that abducted her and put her in a blue van.

I would think that they could charge her with filing a false police report (which is against the law)...which she did until she finally broke down and told them the truth.


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post #13  quote:

The difference is that they didn't believe the hispanic story. And as long as they didn't act on that story there's probably not much they can do.

Old Post 05-01-2005 07:49 PM
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post #14  quote:

It doesnt make a difference whether they personally believed it or not...if she filed a claim, she did so in a false manner.

Anyhow....

They think there might be something to charge her with for the Georgia prosecutor is looking into it......


Runaway Bride May Face Charges in Georgia

By KRISTEN WYATT, Associated Press Writer


DULUTH, Ga. - A prosecutor said Sunday that he wants to review whether the runaway bride-to-be who admitted she made up a kidnapping story should be charged for making false statements to the police.


Jennifer Wilbanks returned to this tight-knit town on Saturday after a cross-country bus trip took her through Las Vegas, Nev., to Albuquerque, N.M., as hundreds of volunteers searched for her.

She initially told authorities she had been abducted while jogging, but eventually admitted her kidnapping story was fabricated and she had run away because she had cold feet for her wedding, which was planned for Saturday.

Police initially said there would be no criminal charges, but Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter said Sunday that he was still looking into the matter.

"I think it's really going to depend on the circumstances on how this was done," Porter said. "If there's criminal responsibility, that's something I have to do something about."


Porter said the 32-year-old woman could face a misdemeanor charge of false report of a crime or a felony charge of false statements. The misdemeanor carries a penalty of up to a year of jail time and the felony carries a maximum of 5 years of prison.

The charges potentially would stem from Wilbanks reporting her kidnapping story on the phone to Duluth Police Chief Randy Belcher, Porter said, adding that he had no jurisdiction over the woman's 911 call to Albuquerque authorities.

Members of Peachtree Corners Baptist Church, where she was scheduled to be married, said prayers and expressed concern on Sunday for her and her fiance, John Mason.

But some residents of this Atlanta suburb felt betrayed by what turned out to be an elaborate hoax. Volunteers had searched woods and alleys, crawled in sewage drains and stayed up late looking for Wilbanks.

"I'm glad that she's alive and OK, but it was a dirty trick," said Louise McCoy, waiting in line at the Duluth post office Saturday ? the same day Wilbanks was supposed to be married in a lavish ceremony that included 14 bridesmaids and 14 groomsmen.

More than 100 officers led a search that involved several hundred volunteers, including many wedding guests and members of the bridal party.

A Wisconsin college student who faked her own abduction last year and turned up curled in a fetal position in a marsh was ordered to repay police at least $9,000 for their search. She pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of obstructing officers and was given three years' probation.

Wilbanks returned Saturday by plane to Atlanta, where she was picked up in a squad car on the tarmac ? with a towel covering her head ? to avoid the media.

There were no family members at the airport to greet her, but her stepfather and an uncle had flown to Albuquerque to escort her home, authorities said.

Wilbanks decided to call her fiance and police with the story about the kidnapping when she found herself broke in Albuquerque, according to authorities.

In her 911 call, Wilbanks sounds frantic and confused, telling an operator she was kidnapped from Atlanta by a man and a woman in their 40s who were driving a blue van. Through sobs, she tells the dispatcher they had a small handgun.

At one point, the operator asks if Wilbanks knows what direction her captors went after dropping her off in Albuquerque.

"I have no idea. I don't even know where I am," she says.

Moments after the word came Saturday that Wilbanks fled town and hadn't been kidnapped, most of the police who'd been guarding her house since Tuesday night pulled away. Fliers with Wilbanks' picture were pulled down from local store windows. Some residents removed yellow ribbons they'd put on their mailboxes.

After police reported the hoax, the mood outside Wilbanks' home went from jubilant to somber. Family members ducked inside and the blinds were drawn. They later expressed relief that she was safe.

"Sure, we were all disappointed, maybe a little embarrassed, but you know what, if you remember all the interviews yesterday we were praying, 'At this point let her be a runaway bride,'" said the Rev. Alan Jones, who was to perform the wedding. "So God was faithful. Jennifer's alive and we're all thankful for that."


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post #15  quote:

Nah a lot depends on if they believe her and if the DA decides there is enough there to charge her. My guess is that they didn't believe her story, that's why they continue to question her until 4am.

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post #16  quote:

quote:
Ron Ackerman said this in post #15 :
Nah a lot depends on if they believe her and if the DA decides there is enough there to charge her. My guess is that they didn't believe her story, that's why they continue to question her until 4am.


It wasnt that they didnt believe her at first, because they actually did take it seriously, but the more she told them, the more holes they kept finding in her story...it wasnt until later that they figured out she was lying (according to the reports, that is).


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post #17  quote:

Well the facts are that they didn't charge her, and they may not charge her in Georgia either. And believe me if they believe that they have a case, they will.

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post #18  quote:

This is similar to standing up in a crowded theatre and screaming "FIRE" when there is none. It is a gray zone for criminal charges, but not for seeking damages. She knew for a few days that she was wasting the time and energy of many. She had adequate time and opportunity to put an end to the search. When she finally did, she made false statements to the authorities, further wasting their time. If you think they can't charge her (or at least fine her), go ahead and make some false-alarm calls to your local police or fire fighters and see what happens. In fact, I think the publicity this received has forced them to do something punitive. She gained national visibility. They don't want the nation to get the message that this sort of shenanigan will be tolerated.

Old Post 05-02-2005 02:10 PM
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post #19  quote:

No it's not the same, but it may be a gray zone. One county DA is considering pressing charges but he isn't sure that he can just yet.

I can imagine what she was going through. My daughter got married this year. She almost went ballistic and she only had about 200 people at hers. They were going to have a simple wedding with a few guests and ended up with a big wedding with a lot of guests thanks to HIS mother. It was very nice, my daughter was calm until things started going wrong just days before the wedding. However everything smoothed out and turned out very well.

Again it's not illegal for this lady to skip town. I think it's wrong to charge her for anything. It wasn't her idea to mount a huge search. Sure a simple call to a relative should have been in order saying I'm OK!

Yes it's illegal to lie to authorities. But lying is one thing and them believing the lie is another. Which is probably why NM authorities decided not to charge her. It is not illegal for her to lie to her family and friends. And at this point the only person in Georgia in Authority in Georgia she lied to was in a PERSONAL phone call to the Police Chief. Was this a call to a friend or to the Authroities. How many people know the phone number of their Police Chief???

Of course charging her is one thing, convicting her is another.


Old Post 05-02-2005 03:04 PM
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post #20  quote:

quote:
A local prosecutor said Monday he will conduct a thorough investigation, which could take weeks, before deciding whether to charge Wilbanks for falsely claiming she had been kidnapped. District Attorney Danny Porter said he has not yet interviewed Wilbanks.

He said Wilbanks could face a misdemeanor charge of false report of a crime or a felony charge of false statements. The misdemeanor carries a penalty of up to a year in jail; five years in prison is the maximum sentence for the felony.

"I've got to know all the facts before I know the appropriate charges," Porter said. "Now I've got to gather all the information from Duluth and Albuquerque and the FBI."

Porter said earlier Monday that authorities have evidence that Wilbanks' disappearance "was not just a spur-of-the-moment thing." He noted she had cut her hair and said there was evidence she bought the bus ticket ahead of time and secretly set some cash aside.


http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tm...s/runaway_bride


Old Post 05-02-2005 08:24 PM
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nikiTa
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post #21  quote:

Maybe she has bipolar disorder and had a manic episode.

This is a frequent action during mania....trekking across the country.
She was obviously not in a good frame of mind.

I am just surprised that this kind of thing got national media attention. This kind of thing happens alot often all the time all over.
I am more and more surprised about what gets on the national news. Must be a slow month.


Old Post 05-03-2005 03:12 AM
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post #22  quote:

Bottom line, the police department involved is out $40K - $60K. Why should the taxpayers get stuck with the bill? She should pay twice as much.

And I respect the dude wanting to stay with her, but I would kick her to the curb quicker than a hiccup.

-HECK!


Old Post 05-03-2005 05:12 AM
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post #23  quote:

quote:
HECK said this in post #22 :
Bottom line, the police department involved is out $40K - $60K. Why should the taxpayers get stuck with the bill? She should pay twice as much.

And I respect the dude wanting to stay with her, but I would kick her to the curb quicker than a hiccup.

-HECK!


No way, no how, would I ever want to still marry this gal if I were him...he must be as looney as she is!

Ummm...BTW...is it a good thing to be on your quote of the week? Im not sure if I should be excited or just totally depressed.


Old Post 05-03-2005 06:53 AM
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post #24  quote:

Totally a good thing to be in the quote of the week

And I'm going to go rent Dutch now, thanks to your sig. That movie is great.

-HECK!


Old Post 05-03-2005 07:21 AM
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NothingSacred
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post #25  quote:

She should pay NOTHING. It's TOTALLY LEGAL for a 32 year old woman to get on a bus WITHOUT TELLING ANYBODY and travel anwhere, for as long as she wants. It's the police and the family who overeacted and went nuts, buying billboards before she had been missing 3 days. You can argue she should have told somebody...but it's not REQUIRED BY ANY LAW.

Old Post 05-03-2005 05:25 PM
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post #26  quote:

quote:
HECK said this in post #24 :
Totally a good thing to be in the quote of the week

Im totally psyched!

And I'm going to go rent Dutch now, thanks to your sig. That movie is great.

Its one of the best! I have it on DVD....I watched it not to long ago, and I HAD to have that quote in my sig! Its such a classic line.



Old Post 05-03-2005 07:42 PM
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