Man charged in South Euclid kidnapping hoax

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SOUTH EUCLID, Ohio -- Charges have been filed against a man accused of lying to police, claiming his six-year-old daughter had been kidnapped.

Ethan Patterson, 23, of Lakewood, is accused of creating a hoax that forced South Euclid police to issue an Amber Alert Friday evening.

"Six or seven different officers stopped whatever they might have been doing, whether it be routine patrols, whether it would be working on an investigation, at another point in the city, stopped to go look for this girl, for the suspect vehicle, and that's what's really troubling," said South Euclid police officer Joe Di Lillo.

According to police, Patterson called 911 claiming two men abducted his six-year-old daughter from the Walmart on Warrensville Center Road.

Investigators say he gave a detailed description of the men and the car they were driving. Police even released a picture of a suspect and a vehicle, and issued the alert to surrounding police agencies.

"Including the Cleveland police department, Shaker Heights, Solon, Oakwood, the Ohio State Highway Patrol and the Cleveland division of the FBI," said Di Lillo.

South Euclid police say as they interviewed Patterson, they discovered inconsistencies in his story, prompting them to call off the Amber Alert.

"He appeared agitated, he was wondering why he was under arrest and at that point he wasn't, it was just simply an interview...it doesn't appear that this girl exists, it does not appear that way."

Patterson is charged with two misdemeanors: making a false alarm and obstructing official business. Investigators say they are still trying to figure out why Patterson made up the story. But they say the hoax wasted time and resources.

"We need to maximize our resources out there on patrol, not for investigating a crime that didn't actually exist. That's what's concerning," said the officer.

Patterson was being held in the South Euclid jail. He is expected to make his first court appearance on Tuesday.

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