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Missing woman charged with filing false police report

6:57 PM, Jun 7, 2011   |    comments
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That's what family members are saying about Samantha Gilman, 21, who hasn't been seen since Saturday. Around 12:30 p.m. Saturday, a neighbor dropped her off near the Lucky Dill Deli, which is near the intersection of 3rd Street North and Central Avenue.

St. Petersburg, Florida - Samantha Gilman disappeared Memorial Day weekend for three days. When she turned up, she told police two white men abducted her from a concert in downtown St. Petersburg Saturday night. They then took her to an abandoned home, kept her locked in the bathroom and sexually assaulted her. On the third day, Samantha told police she managed to get away. Police investigated and say the story is a lie.

"You have a detective unit that for a week made this a priority last week to find Samantha Gilman and the investigation afterwards. It was a waste of time," says Major Mike Kovacsev, St. Petersburg Police.

Kovascev says Samantha's reason for disappearing for three days was to get away from her parents.

Mike Daley, 33, says Samantha spent the three days with him and his 7 year-old daughter Elisa. Mike says the two met at the concert Saturday night and went back to his place. During the weekend they went to the park, saw fireworks on the beach and played with his daughter. Mike has cell phone video of the three playing in the water on St. Petersburg Beach.

"It was just a couple of days, but it was cool and fun. She said she was glad she met me," says Mike.

But when Samantha did not return home May 29th, the day after a concert in downtown St. Petersburg, her parents reported her missing and police started searching.

"I kept offering her my phone to call home call her mom. She said my mom works 7 days a week she won't pick up. I said that's okay at least leave her a message," says Mike. The single father, who works two jobs, says as a parent he knows how much parents worry, whether their child is 7 years old like his or 21 like Samantha.

Mike says on Tuesday a friend told him about the missing person's search for Samantha. He confronted her and she agreed to go to her brother's house, but had Mike dropped her off at a nearby convenience store and she'd walk the rest of the way. When police questioned Samantha she told them a different story than the one seen in Mike's cell phone video.

"She said she was kidnapped, abducted and sexually assaulted," says Major Kovascev.

The missing person's case turned into a criminal case and St Petersburg Police detectives spent the rest of the week trying to unravel it. Detectives estimate they spent 160 hours in investigative time. Police say Samantha's elaborate story has landed her in jail for filing a false police report. Samantha's father Arthur Gilman says they are trying to come up with the $150 to bail her out.

"It's not someone reported her missing it's that later she lied," says Major Kovascev.

During those three days Mike and his daughter grew attached to Samantha. Elisa says Samantha played Disney dress up with her, played scary monsters and on Memorial Day loaded up some water guns and surprised her dad when he came home from work. "I think she's pretty and I really like her," says Elisa Daley.

Mike doesn't understand why she'd lie about them. "It's upsetting. I do care about her. I don't know why she'd lie about us, we had a good time."

Samantha's father Arthur Gilman tells 10 News, he believes his daughter was sexually assaulted, but that the details surrounding the events are unclear. Samantha's parents say they too want to get to the bottom of what really happened the three days Samantha's had been missing.

Isabel Mascarenas

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