Cincinnati Teen Arrested After Allegedly Making Up Story about Missing Autistic 13-Year-Old Who Never Existed

A 19-year-old man has been arrested in Ohio this week after being accused of filing a false missing person's report about a 13-year-old autistic teenager.

Police said the suspect, identified as Cordell Wigle, was apprehended on Monday and is facing a misdemeanor charge for making false alarms to law enforcement. An image of a teenager that was given to investigators was actually of Wigle's former girlfriend, WXIX reported.

Police took to social media at around 3 p.m. yesterday to appeal for more information about the apparently missing individual, named as Aleah Bottom.

The teen, labeled as autistic, was described as being white with brown hair, while wearing a long sleeve shirt, tan capri pants, a black windbreaker and black bike shoes. Police were told the girl was last seen at Purple People Bridge by Sawyer Point the same day.

Citing Cincinnati Police Department Lt. Steve Saunders, media outlet WCPO reported the search for the purported 13-year-old had ended at 4:30 p.m. and the suspect was in custody by 6 p.m.

"Earlier today we posted about an autistic person who was believed to be missing," officials said in a Facebook post. "In fact there was no missing person, the story was fabricated. The person who reported to offense has been arrested and our investigation has been closed. We sincerely appreciate all those who took the time to share our post and look for the 'missing person.'"

On Twitter, the Cincinnati Police Department confirmed that possible criminal charges were pending against the person who had fabricated the information.

Wigle's arrest was confirmed using inmate records from the Hamilton County Justice Center, where his mugshot was also published. Authorities told WXIX Wigle provided the image of the girl to police. A motive for the fabricated story remains unclear at the time of writing.

Facebook users expressed shock at the update.

"As a parent of an autistic child, it makes me angry that someone would make up a story like this," one person commented. 'I hope that people don't dismiss future legitimate reports. But, I'm happy to see that the police will get the word out quickly if in a situation like this."

"Who does that?" another person wrote under the post, which attracted hundreds of reactions. "Someone who wanted to visit the Justice Center and talk to a judge," police responded.

Under Ohio law, which considers the charge against Wigle a first degree misdemeanor, making a false alarm "made with the knowledge that it is likely to cause public inconvenience or alarm is an offense under this section regardless of to whom it is made." Depending on severity, the charge can be punishable with nine months to five years in prison and a financial penalty of up to $10,000.