In the case of 24-year-old West Los Angeles resident Sylvia Mardini, who was once feared to have vanished, there's still something missing: the answer to the question of why she would fake her own kidnapping in an elaborate tale that had her taken by gunpoint from Southern California to Utah.
If there's an answer to that mystery, the FBI's not telling. But federal authorities did report that Mardini pleaded guilty this week to felony charge of making false statements to the FBI. As part of a plea agreement the woman agreed to pay $20,196.72 in restitution to state and local law enforcement agencies that searched for her. She faces as many as five years in federal prison at her May 10 sentencing, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.
On Aug. 21 the woman text messaged her mother to report she had been kidnapped at gunpoint while running errands. She said she had been taken to Utah. The FBI and the Los Angeles Police Department launched a search, and television stations broadcast her image.
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Two days later Colorado State Patrol troopers found her along and well at a gas station in Routt County, Colorado on August 23, 2009. She told FBI agents that a man took her against her will and forced her to drive the pair to Colorado. Later, she admitted the statements were false.