Mom Fakes Kidnapping
Woman leaves child in restaurant, calls 911 to report abduction.
A Florida woman is facing charges after falsely reporting her daughter had been kidnapped.
Deputies say the trouble for 38-year-old Melissa Graham started at the Bonefish Grill in Bonita Springs around 8:30 p.m.
The child told deputies they sat down for dinner and her mother ordered a bottle of wine, had two to three glasses, and then started "acting weird."
The girl told deputies Graham was spitting bread out on the table and then shoved her food at the girl and told her to get a to-go box.
She then allegedly began yelling at the girl about family issues.
Graham walked out, according to the arrest report, and the girl waited for her to come back - but she didn't.
"This is all a complete misunderstanding," Graham said. "I love my daughter more than anything in the world and I'm going to do everything to make this right."
The child sought help from the hostess and the manager.
The manager went outside with her and found Graham, who claimed she left her credit card on the table to pay for the meal, according to deputies.
The manager said that wasn't the case, and then Graham allegedly told him she was with someone named "Pagellis" and they would pay.
The manager told her that was a restaurant, not a person, according to the arrest report, and then Graham drove off, leaving the girl standing next to the manager.
The child told deputies Graham called her a short time later, asked "Where are you?" and then hung up on her.
The girl was taken to the sheriff's office substation.
Deputies were unable to reach Graham on the phone.
About an hour later, deputies say Graham called them to report the girl had been abducted.
She allegedly told deputies she had gotten into an argument with the girl and they left the restaurant.
Graham allegedly claimed two Hispanic men grabbed the girl and drove away.
Deputies then arrested her.
Graham denies the whole incident.
"It's a miscommunication between me and a friend. I would never do anything to harm my daughter or leave her," Graham said.
The Department of Children and Families took the girl into their care.
Graham is charged with filing a false report and contributing to the delinquency or dependency of a child.