Man who faked Amber Alert apologizes

March 18, 2010 3:35:33 AM PDT
A man who faked an Amber Alert has an apology for the police officers who wasted time searching for a child that never existed. Darrell Jones is coming clean tonight. We first told you about the bogus Amber Alert earlier this month. Jones claimed thieves took his SUV along with a child inside, but that wasn't true. Now he's admitting it was a stupid thing to do.

Darrell Jones is the first to admit he doesn't have a squeaky clean past, but he says that's exactly why he told police there was a little boy in his stolen SUV in the first place.

It began early Sunday morning on March 7 when Jones and a friend were at a Sharpstown gas station.

"When I turned around, a guy was running to me like this," said Jones, pointing his fingers like a gun.

He says before he knew it, two gunmen were driving off in his Lincoln Navigator.

"My main thing was my life was almost taken. I was scared. There was so much stuff going on in my head," Jones said.

So Jones admits as he called 911 for help, he took his story beyond the carjacking. He told police his little six-year-old relative Kevin Williams was in the backseat.

"All I'm thinking about is these guys are all the way on the freeway somewhere and I just made up a name," he said.

Jones says he made a rash decision and lied to investigators.

"I just wanted to be treated like an actual victim this time," Jones said.

This time, the 35-year-old says the crime marked the third time he'd had a car stolen. The convicted felon says he feared his criminal past would cloud the efforts of police, so placing a child in the car might accelerate the investigation. It did. Amber Alerts were being broadcast on Houston news stations.

That's when he put the brakes on his lie. Suddenly Jones the victim was Jones the suspect.

"I thought they were going to find it faster and everything backfired basically. Cause I'm the one in jail," Jones said.

And now one full of regret.

"I'm sorry about making it up," said Jones.

Beth Alberts with the Houston Regional Amber Plan was deeply concerned with the damage done by the false report. After learning of Jones' statements today she said, "It is unusual for someone to come forward and apologize. It says something about his character."

However, Alberts added, "An apology does not replace the resources that were wasted. A false Amber Alert jeopardizes the entire system."

Jones' SUV was found stripped down by a tow truck driver. The suspects who stole it have not been found.

He says he wanted to talk to make sure the urgency of the Amber Alert isn't jeopardized because of him.

"They should take it serious. I did a stupid thing," he said.

Jones is charged with felony false alarm report. He says he is reaching out beyond his apology today and claims he wants to help Equusearch the next time a child is missing.

Earlier this month, the Amber Alert coordinator said this was only the second time that a false report has led to an arrest since the program started in 2000. There have been a total of 99 alerts in our area since its inception.


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