A teenager who claimed she was dragged into woods by three black men in ski masks and raped has admitted the story was untrue, police say.
Breana Harmon Talbott created a media frenzy after walking into a church in just her shirt, bra and underwear, before describing a vicious sexual assault.
But police in Denison, a city in Texas, say the 18-year-old admitted it was all a lie during questioning and have since charged her.
“The case quickly gathered regional attention due to the severity of the alleged crime and rumours quickly begin to spin out of control through social media,” said Denison police chief Jay Burch.
“[But] almost immediately, Ms Talbott's story and allegations began to unravel. Within only a day or two, detectives had doubts as to most of Ms Talbott's allegations.”
Mr Burch said the allegations made many in the community “fearful there were individuals abducting women” and that the alleged hoax was “offensive to the African-American community”.
Ms Talbott’s then-fiancé Sam Hollingsworth reported her missing on 8 March before pastor Saul Marquez said she turned up at New Creation Church with scratches and cuts.
Mr Hollingsworth told Fox 4 she claimed she had been raped amid an argument, when she arrived at the church, about the couple moving because he had joined the army.
“I was hurt,” he said.
“[That] somebody that I actually trusted and was planning on spending the rest of my life with could do something like this to me.”
Ms Talbott has been charged with filing a false report and police will reportedly seek costs incurred by the probe.