The Spanish Civil Guard on Monday arrested a woman in Tenerife, in Spain’s Canary Islands, for faking her own kidnapping and demanding her mother pay a €50,000 ($49,600) ransom. Officers also arrested four individuals connected to the family of the woman’s partner. This was not the first time the mother had been targeted. She had previously paid the group €45,000 after receiving three letters that said her daughter would be killed if she didn’t pay the ransom.
In the staged kidnapping video, which was released by the Civil Guard, the woman appears with a knife to her neck, a blindfold covering her eyes and fake-looking blood on the corner of her mouth. Between sobs, the woman tells her mother she must pay the €50,000 ransom. “If you want to see me alive, you have to pay them,” she says, adding that she has been beaten and physically abused. In the video, the woman also warns her mother that she cannot tell anyone.
The Civil Guard investigation began at the end of last week, when the mother’s bank detected the €50,000 transfer. Police had not received any report that the woman, who is around 30 years old and lives in the south of the island, had been kidnapped.
During the investigation, the Civil Guard began to suspect the family of the alleged hostage’s partner. The officers, who solved the case in 24 hours, discovered that the woman was not being held captive. At the time of the arrest, both the woman and her co-conspirators were hanging out in an arcade.
The detainees face charges of faking a crime, which carries a prison sentence of between six and 12 months, as well as extortion, which can be punished by up to six years in prison. During the police search, officers found items that had been used in the staged kidnapping, such as a large knife, the handkerchief that was allegedly used to gag the woman and a bottle of fake blood.