Law Student Fakes Own Kidnapping, Just in Time for Finals

By Casey C. Sullivan, Esq. on November 25, 2015 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Every law student reacts to finals in their own way. Some wear their pajamas to the law library for a week or two. Some start mysteriously loosing hair. Some sit and cry silently in bathroom stalls.

And some, it turns out, fake their own kidnappings.

Bound and Gagged But Skipping Finals

There are, of course, better ways to get around finals. During my 1L year, I remember half-heartedly considering jumping in front of a slow moving Mini. If I was lucky, there would be no major injuries but I'd still get a nice trip to the hospital and possibly an extra week to outline. (I didn't do it and neither should you. Finals aren't that bad.)

But faking your own kidnapping is always a classic. And a student at the University of Houston Law Center seems to have made a pretty dramatic attempt at it last week. On Monday, November 16th, the student was found, bound and gagged, in the bathroom near the school's library, according to Above the Law.

She was abducted by several men, she claims, who tied her up and then dumped her at the law school -- because that seems like a perfectly reasonable place to abandon a kidnapped student.

She Didn't Even Get a Ransom

Of course, it didn't take long for the whole thing to be revealed as a fake. Soon after, Leonard Baynes, dean of the law school, emailed faculty and students provide a brief explanation:

The University of Houston Police Department has now confirmed that no abduction or crime of violence took place. The student was experiencing a personal crisis. The matter has been closed.

At a town hall meeting, school security explained that there was no evidence to support her story, according to a video obtained by Above the Law. Instead, the student "was thinking about committing suicide. She panicked during the situation and came up with this story," according to University safety officers.

So remember, no matter how stressful law school exams (or just Thanksgiving with your family) can be, it's not worth throwing yourself into slow moving traffic, faking your own kidnapping, or worse. Students who are feeling overwhelmed can visit LawLifeline, a resource specifically dedicated to law school mental health. The rest of us always have the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK and dozens of lawyer mental health assistance programs.

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