Woman accused of faking her own murder after making anonymous phone call to friend
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A woman in the US has been accused of making people believe she'd been murdered after she placed an anonymous call to one of her friends.
The alleged crime doesn't sound like the easiest thing to carry out - not only do you have to come up with a plan to convince people you've been the victim of a murder, but you then also have to spend the rest of your life avoiding those same people.
It's a lot of work, but it's what police have accused Margaret Frances 'Maggie' Elizabeth Sweeney of doing this month.
Sweeney was arrested by police in Franklin, North Carolina on Monday (21 August), three days after she was reported missing on 18 August.
Officers quickly launched an investigation into the 37-year-old's disappearance because they'd received information which indicated she was endangered or deceased.
According to the New York Post, one of Sweeney's friends told the Franklin Police Department Sweeney was either going to be killed, or that she was already dead.
The Franklin Police Department appealed to the public for help in tracking down Sweeney, sharing pictures and a description of her on Facebook and encouraging anyone with information relating to her 'location or welfare' to get in touch.
Just one day after she was reported missing, Sweeney was found alive and safe.
The police department updated its appeal to explain that she had been found in a neighbouring town.
However, further investigations determined that Sweeney allegedly made anonymous third-party false reports to both a friend and the Department of Social Services that she had been murdered.
Sweeney was arrested and is facing charges of filing a false report to a police station, false report of death or serious injury by telephone and obstruction of law enforcement officers.
Franklin Police Department condemned her alleged actions in a statement, saying: "Sweeney's actions caused our department, as well as other departments, many hours of work which could have been spent on other matters. Family, friends, and the community as a whole were also very concerned and worried about Sweeney's welfare.”
After the police department updated its followers about Sweeney's case on Facebook, she responded to lash out at the department.
In a comment added underneath the post, she wrote: “Social media has us believing we’re entitled to know about people/situations that have nothing to do with us. In place of support, we ridicule those that do not answer questions that make them uncomfortable. I decide when/what/with whom I confide in. No one for a long time."