(NEWBURGH, N.Y.) — Newburgh, N.Y., police Thursday afternoon called off their investigation of a possible child abduction after determining that the kids who reported the incident had fabricated the entire story as a prank.
“We investigated every possible lead in determining whether the abduction had occurred with the interest of any possible victim in mind,” the NPD said in a statement. “There is no indication that the abduction or any incident that could be perceived as an abduction had occurred.”
Officials had already cancelled an AMBER Alert Thursday morning issued 16 hours earlier after a group of children, some as young as 5, reported the abduction of a 5-year-old girl.
Authorities in Newburgh, which is in Orange County about 60 miles north of New York City, issued the alert at 6:25 p.m. Wednesday but cancelled the child-abduction alert bulletin at 10:21 a.m. Thursday.
The group of children told police that two men got out of a pickup truck and grabbed the girl’s mouth and neck and forced her into the truck shortly before 4 p.m. Wednesday near South Junior High School, according to an earlier police news release.
Police soon issued the AMBER Alert for the missing child and were working with the FBI. Police told ABC News that as of 10 a.m. Thursday, no one had come forward to report a missing child in the area.
Newburgh police had told ABC News affiliate WABC earlier that they had no reason not to believe the group of kids who say they saw the abduction. The witnesses did not say whether the girl was with anyone at the time of the abduction.
“A guy came out of the pickup truck and grabbed her mouth and her neck and she was trying to scream and couldn’t,” a child told WABC. “They put her in a garbage bag. All you could see is her head. And they put her in the car and drove off.”
Another child told WABC, “I saw the pickup truck. It had blue license plates, and when the man got out of the car with two bags, we started running.”
The girl was described as possibly Hispanic, about 5 or 6 years old and 3 feet tall with long black hair and wearing a short-sleeve, bright-pink shirt with white stripes, according to the news release.
Now, police say, “There was no pickup truck, other vehicle or small child during the time of the reported incident. Detectives continuously reviewed video footage prior to, during and post the report for any possible incident. None were observed.”
“The reporting children were observed playing around the school without incident.”
Police have no plans to file charges against the children for making a false report.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Eric Levenson, Devon Sayers and Jamiel Lynch, CNN
Debra Goldschmidt, CNN
Ali Larkin, CNN
Ashley Strickland, CNN