Nancy Salas. Ap Photo/Glendale
MERCED - An attorney for Nancy Salas, a 22-year-old Glendale woman accused of lying to Merced police about being kidnapped, entered a not guilty plea in her absence during a brief arraignment hearing in Merced County Superior Court on Thursday.
Jeffrey Tenenbaum, Salas’ attorney, said his client was at home in Glendale and didn’t have to be present during the hearing.
During the hearing, Judge Marc Garcia ordered the Merced County Probation Department to prepare a restitution report detailing any police costs associated with the Salas investigation. Garcia set an Aug. 13 pretrial hearing in the case. “I would like Ms. Salas to be here on the 13th,” Garcia told Tenenbaum. “I am ordering her to be present.”
Tenenbaum said his client is a “terrific person” who feels embarrassed by the controversy surrounding the case and wants to move forward and make amends. “She’s a stand-up person, and she wants to take responsibility for her actions,” Tenenbaum said.
Salas vanished May 12 after telling family members she was going for a run in Chevy Chase Canyon in Southern California. The next day, around 11 a.m., she walked into Carpet One at 312 W. Main St. in Merced.
Witnesses said she was in tears and claimed to have been kidnapped and sexually assaulted by a man with a knife.
Salas also used the store’s phone to call 911, making the fake claims. After she returned home to Glendale, however, Salas told detectives she made up the story because of pressure from family and friends, who believed she was a student at UCLA. But the university’s records showed Salas hadn’t been enrolled at the school since fall 2008.
Salas is charged with one misdemeanor count of making a false report of a crime.
If convicted, Salas faces a maximum of six months in jail.