North Carolina woman lied about her own murder and disappearance, authorities say

A North Carolina woman who was previously reported missing earlier this month has been arrested and faces charges of lying about her own disappearance and murder.

The Franklin Police Department took Margaret Frances Elizabeth "Maggie" Sweeney, 37, into custody on Monday for allegedly making "anonymous third-party false reports" to both a friend and the Department of Social Services on Aug. 18, alluding she had been murdered, the department said in a Facebook post.

Officers found Sweeney on Aug. 19 in a neighboring town, and she was arrested two days later. Franklin is located about 200 miles west of Charlotte, North Carolina.

"Sweeney’s actions caused our department, as well as other departments, many hours of work which could have been spent on other matters," police said in a statement on Facebook. "Family, friends, and the community as a whole were also very concerned and worried about Sweeney's welfare."

An arrest warrant says authorities spent 75 hours searching for Sweeney and investigating the case, NBC News reported.

Sweeney faces charges of causing a false report to a police station, falsely reporting death or serious injury by telephonic communication, and obstructing law enforcement officers, police said.

North Carolina woman's alleged fake disappearance reminiscent of Carlee Russell

Sweeney's alleged debacle comes more than a month after authorities charged 25-year-old Carlee Russell, an Alabama nursing student who went missing for two days and admitted to fabricating a story about seeing a toddler walking on the highway and being abducted.

Russell went missing in Hoover, Alabama, on July 13 and reappeared at her house about 49 hours later. She told police she had been abducted, but her lawyer sent police a letter saying she had made everything up.

Russell was charged with false reporting to law enforcement authorities and falsely reporting an incident, both misdemeanors that each carry up to a year in jail and a $6,000 fine if she is convicted.

Franklin Police Chief Devin Holland, who said Sweeney was found at a local park and that "she does not have a consistent place of residence," confirmed that she was released on a written promise to appear in court on Sept. 7, according to NBC News.

Sweeney could not immediately be reached for comment

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