On March 8, 2017, 19-year-old Breana Rachelle Harmon of Pottsboro, Texas was reported missing by her then-fiancé Samuel Hollingsworth. Hollingsworth told the Denison P o l i c e Department that he had seen Harmon earlier in the day and that he had given her a black pocket k n i f e and pepper spray for protection because she had previously talked about s e x-t r a f f i c k i n g in Grayson County. A neighbor testified that he had seen Harmon walking her dog and smo-king a cig-are-tte near her apartment earlier that day and that he was contacted by Hollingsworth later that evening asking for her. The department later received a call that a woman fitting Harmon’s description walked into the New Creation Church. She had shown up b l o o d i e d and wearing nothing but a shirt, b r a, and under-wear. She claimed that she had been r a p e d by three men.
When the p o l i c e questioned her further, she claimed she was kid-napped by three black men wearing ski masks when she was walking towards her vehicle. She said she was then taken to a wooded area where she was a s s a u l t e d and r a p e d by two of the men while the third held her down. She also told investigators that after the r a p e, the suspects told her that if they caught her in the area, they would do it again.
But from the very beginning, something felt out of place in her version of events. Harmon claimed she had received superficial cuts and abrasions from a knife while attempting to get away from her a s s a u l t e r s, but it was determined that the wounds were not consistent with those that would be in-flicted upon a v i c t i m during a v i o l e n t struggle.
Their suspicions were confirmed when a S e x u a l A s s a u l t Nurse Examination (SANE) provided no physical evidence to suggest that Harmon had been r a p e d, with the nurse who conducted the examination indicating the same. She had lied.
Speaking on the case, police chief Jay Burch said: “We believe the crime scene – from the initial ‘kidnapping’ scene at the apartment complex to the point of Harmon’s condition when she walked into the church – were staged.”
A Grayson County grand jury subsequently indicted her on four charges, including three felonies. She was indicted on two third-degree felony counts of tampering with physical evidence and a third-degree felony count of tampering with a government record. She was also indicted on a fourth charge, which was a state-j a i l felony count of tampering with a government record. In addition to the c r i m i n a l charges, the Denison Police Department also sought $8,000 in restitution.
In a press release quoted by the Herald Democrat, Grayson County District Attorney Joe Brown said at the time: “Ms. Harmon was originally a r r e s t e d for the m i s d e m e a n o r o f f e n s e of false report to a peace officer. However, the more we have looked at what happened in this case and considered the harm it caused, and certainly could have caused, we believe what she did fits these higher charges. What she did was very serious, and we believe it was felony conduct.”
A p o l i c e report cited by the Daily Mail expressed a similar sentiment and stated: “Breana Harmon Talbott’s hoax was also i n s u l t i n g to our community and especially o f f e n s i v e to the African-American community due to her description of the so-called suspects in her hoax. The anger and hurts caused by such a hoax are difficult and so unnecessary.”
Her defense lawyer indicated at the time of her plea that she was ‘very remorseful’ for what she had done. Speaking at her hearing and attempting to explain her actions, Harmon said she had made the false claims because she was depressed by the loss of her unborn baby and the relationship problems she was having with her fiancé.
But despite all the outrage and the fact that Harmon pled g u i l t y to the all four counts against her, she will not be spending any time in j a i l. Grayson County judge Rayburn Nall Jr. sentenced the 19-year-old to eight years of deferred-adjudication probation.
The judge asked her to pay $8,000 in restitution to cover the expenses Denison P o l i c e spent on investigating the case. She was also ordered to pay a $2,000 fine and serve 160 hours of community service. She apologized to both the Denison Police Department and the community for her actions as well.
The special terms of her sentencing also mean that if she successfully serves out the eight years of probation without incidence, she will be able to claim that she has never been con-vic-ted of a felony; even though she has technically pleaded g u i l t y.
Hollingsworth told Fox 4 News that he broke up with Harmon after she confessed to lying about being r a p e d. He said: “I was hurt. It was hard to take in whenever I found out about everything. Somebody that I actually trusted and was planning on spending the rest of my life with could do something like this to me and everybody else in this community.”