ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - A kidnapping drill by troopers with the Florida Highway Patrol went horribly wrong when teens, and some troopers, thought it was the real deal.
FHP is investigating the unexpected drill that happened while the teenagers were in Tallahassee for a Girls State Program, a government leadership camp put on by the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Florida.
Cameron Carlyle, the counselor for the camp, told Channel 9’s Jeff Deal that she wasn’t even told the kidnapping was a drill.
Carlyle said Tuesday night the Girls State director and six female troopers decided to do a mock abduction unbeknownst to anyone else at the camp. They pulled aside a girl from her group on the way back to the dorms and hid her.
"We did the count off and we got to eight, and we realized Katrina was missing,” Carlye said.
Carlyle said the troopers screamed at her and later the other girls and told them the missing girl had been kidnapped, likely sold as a sex slave to human traffickers.
"I still will never forget that feeling of, it's totally my fault, now I have to tell her parents that she was taken,” Carlyle said.
Carlyle said the teens, all around 17-years-old, were crying. One girl had been involved in a real sex trafficking case when she was younger, troopers said.
It wasn’t until 30 minutes later the teens learned the missing girl was safe.
"I think I had 17 girls who did not sleep on the last night of girls state and (were) completely traumatized,” Carlyle said.
The director of the program would not return calls for comment.
Investigators with FHP is calling the incident a training exercise, but said concerns have been raised and the situation is under review.
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