The following information comes from reports provided by the Vincennes Police Department, the Vincennes Fire Department, the Knox County Sheriff’s Department, the Lawrence County, Illinois, Sheriff’s Department, the Washington City Police Department or the Daviess County Sheriff’s Department as well as The Associated Press. Charges not involving warrants are preliminary and may be changed before formal filing by a prosecutor.
Charges filed against Gibson County woman, two others who faked abduction
Gibson County Prosecutor Michael Cochren on Wednesday filed false informing charges against Hannah Potts and two others accused of planning and executing an abduction hoax last week.
Joshua M. Thomas and Maria S. Hopper, both Gibson County residents, also face charges of false informing. Police say they encouraged officers to begin looking for Potts even though they were hiding her in their home.
“Ms. Potts’ actions are criminal in nature,” Cochran said in a press release issued Wednesday. “She had many people in her family and community worried sick over her personal health and safety. Further, she risked involving innocent individuals by giving a false description of the alleged abductor.
“Finally, the number of hours spent by multiple law enforcement agencies in this time of limited resources is simply not recoverable,” Cochran said. “This callous disregard for others simply will not be tolerated.
Potts, 23, was reported missing by family on Friday night after she posted a video, one that was solely audio, to her Facebook page. She detailed being abducted by a Black male, noting other, additional details about the vehicle and his clothes.
Gibson County sheriff’s deputies then reported late Sunday that she had been found safe and that foul play was not suspected.
Potts’ sister, Brittany Schonaman, posted to social media on Sunday that she “publicly disowned” her sister and that she hoped Potts would be “prosecuted to the fullest extent” of the law.
She goes on to say that the family is “horrified and angered” and that Potts’ action were for “a novel she is writing.”
• Shelley Kae Abdel-Halim, 52, Vincennes, operating a vehicle while intoxicated
• Isaac David Fletcher, 34, Vincennes, hold for out of county warrant
• Brian Edward Nail, 27, Bloomfield, driving while suspended