Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Where lies the truth?

On May 8, 2006, I posted the story of the reported robbery/abduction of 23 year old Molly Kirwan early on a Sunday morning in South Minneapolis. I subsequently posted further details here.

The facts as reported were particularly troubling because the young woman claimed she was snatched off the street in broad daylight while walking to work. Despite the unusual set of facts, the circumstances were not unimaginable given the crime pattern in Minneapolis since early 2005. In other words, there was no reason to doubt the victim.

Or was there?

David Chanen of the Red Star reports today: "Minneapolis police, woman dispute daytime abduction, robbery".

Molly Kirwan is more than a little miffed that Minneapolis police are doubting her contention that she was robbed and kidnapped by a stranger during the day on a south Minneapolis street last week.

The 23-year-old Hamline University graduate said she was walking to work at a nearby coffee shop about 7 a.m., May 7, when a man drove up and forced her into a car at W. 25th Street and Lyndale Avenue S. The man took about $110 cash and a credit card, drove her around for about 10 minutes and then groped her as she was let out of the car about 10 blocks away, she said.
It would defy all reason that someone would make up such a story, but it has certainly happened more often than we would like to believe. Think Susan Smith. There have also been a few stories in the local media over the past few years about young girls reporting that they were abducted, only to have their stories fall apart under persistent questioning. These can reasonably be explained as cries for attention.

Ms. Kirwan doesn't fit those "profiles", and there is no known motive to lie. The police, who have more information than the public, are skeptical:

Police say her story has inconsistencies and that a suspect isn't being actively pursued.

Lt. Mike Fossum, head of the robbery unit, said Kirwan declined to let police do a sketch of the suspect and reported the alleged crime to her boyfriend and somebody at work before calling police.

"We can't absolutely doubt what she has to say," Fossum said. "But we have no physical evidence or witnesses. We could be spending our time on cases with real leads."
These investigators have been around for awhile; I suspect it's hard to fool them. The crime is very serious, if true, and they would likely be very concerned about catching the criminal. That doesn't appear to be the case.

If in fact Ms. Kirwan made up the story, it would be especially egregious at a time when Minneapolis is struggling to salvage its reputation as a safe, viable city. More bad news they don't need.

Minneapolis has been shaken this year by two high-profile, random killings - one near Target Center downtown and another in Uptown, several blocks from where Kirwan reported that her abduction occurred.

"A woman who heard Molly scream was at the meeting and said she called 911," Biehn said. "It's really nerve-wracking that it happened."

Several friends of Kirwan's have been expressing their sympathy for her on her myspace.com page, including one Minneapolis woman who said, "I'm getting some mace."
Mace isn't a bad idea, but you can do better. Whether Mr. Kirwan's story pans out or not, crime remains a problem in Minneapolis in particular, and the Twin Cities in general. It's always good to be prepared.

Here's an interesting sidebar some quick internet research turned up. Ms. Kirwan is described as a Hamline student - these web postings seem to match, and give a glimpse of her background. Read into it what you will: http://www.hamline.edu/mt/cgi-bin/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=10&search=kirwan