, Salem, MA

Local News

June 28, 2013

Details of kidnap hoax emerge from court papers

Hoax: Police say woman's story changed many times

BEVERLY — When she first spoke to a Beverly police officer in the moments after being freed from the trunk of her Ford Focus hatchback, Maria Brayfield offered a detailed account of her evening, court papers revealed for the first time yesterday.

There had been drinks with a friend at the Black Lobster in Salem, where five Albanian men offered to buy her a “Jack and Coke” and then suggested that she come work for them as a prostitute, she claimed. Then, later, there was a black vehicle outside her apartment that sort of looked like the one the Albanians had offered her a ride home in, according to the reports of her statements to police.

But Brayfield couldn’t explain other details: Why hadn’t she called police from the cellphone she still had with her when the men ordered her into the trunk? And how could two of the men have managed to get to her third-floor bedroom in the middle of the night without waking any of her four roommates?

Eventually, Brayfield, 24, confessed that she had made up a story about being kidnapped because she was concerned about getting arrested for drunken driving.

In the early-morning hours of June 17, however, Beverly, Wenham and state police scrambled to respond to Brayfield’s dramatic report of a kidnapping by two masked men. As police spoke with Brayfield and then took her to Beverly Hospital, other officers were at her Pleasant Street apartment, and still more officers and a state crime scene services technician were examining her car.

Police have filed a charge of making a false report of a crime, and Brayfield is due in Salem District Court for arraignment on Aug. 15.

According to court documents, police are expected to seek restitution for the costs of the intense, though ultimately brief, investigation.

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