The daughter of a former U.S. Army officer has been arrested in India for allegedly faking her own kidnapping in an elaborate plan to extort money from her parents.
According to police in India, Chloe Mclaughlin, 27, was arrested in New Delhi on Sunday. Mclaughlin was living with a boyfriend she met online.
Mclaughlin Told Parents She was Assaulted, Living in an 'Unsafe Environment'
Cops said they had unraveled the scheme after her mother contacted the U.S. embassy when she received a "distressing call" in which Mclaughlin reportedly said she was being assaulted and living in an "unsafe environment," the Indian Express reported.
Mclaughlin contacted her parents on July 10 during a video call over WhatsApp. A man walked into the room and the call dropped, her mother told the U.S. embassy, which then contacted local authorities after concluding the woman was being held against her will.
Embassy officials used information from an email she previously sent about renewing her passport to try and find her, which led them to the Radisson Blu Hotel.
Police raided the hotel only to discover that the woman had never been a guest thereâshe had simply used the hotel's free WiFi, according to Amrutha Guguloth, Deputy Commissioner of Police in New Delhi.
"In order to ascertain the present whereabouts of the girl, assistance was sought from Yahoo.com for providing the IP address used by her for sending email to the American Citizens Services on July 9," he told reporters. "Further, the Bureau of Immigration was requested to provide her immigration form to find her whereabouts."
Mclaughlin was Found Living with Her Nigerian Boyfriend
Police, working with the U.S. embassy then traced the young woman's IP address from the video. They found she was staying with 31-year-old Nigerian national Okoroafor Chibuike Okoro, who she had met online and with whom she had connected in early May over a mutual love of music.
When police attempted to arrest Okoro, McLaughlin reportedly confessed to having staged the kidnapping after running out of money. Both now face charges of overstaying in India without a valid passport and visa. No other charges will be filed in India, police say. "After her rescue, it was revealed that she had staged the incident to blackmail her parents," police claimed.