BURKE COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - A woman who claims she was kidnapped and stuffed in a car trunk in late June appeared in Burke County district court Monday morning.
Investigators say they don't dispute Lisa Stansel was found in the trunk of a car, but they do say she changed her version of the story multiple times during the two-month investigation.
Since investigators spent so much time following false leads in which Stansel gave them, authorities said they felt they had to charge her, especially after she failed to appear for a polygraph test. Stansel was charged with filing a false police report.
On Monday, August 23rd, the judge continued the case until some time in December. As Stansel left the courthouse, she told WBTV she is innocent.
According to the sheriff's office, Stansel claimed she left a friend's house in Granite Falls around 9 p.m. on Thursday, June 24th. On her way home, she stopped at Owen's Convenience Store in Rhodhiss to get a soda from an outside vending machine because the store had already closed. While retrieving the soda, she said a man grabbed her from behind.
"He put his hand on my face [and] the other around my waist," she said.
Stansel claimed the man pulled her backwards, opened her car trunk, and threw her inside.
"I tried to keep him from shutting it, but that didn't happen," she said.
Stansel claimed she did not know the man and all she saw was his legs and feet. The suspect drove Stansel's car about 15 minutes before stopping she said. He got out of the car for a few minutes, walked around, and then got back into the car. He continued driving for approximately 15 minutes, Stansel told investigators.
When the car stopped the second time, she heard another vehicle pull up and leave. She claimed the suspect got into the other vehicle and left.
Stansel's car was found at the Castle Bridge Boat landing in Caldwell County which is about five miles from where she was abducted at the convenience store.
The next day, fisherman James Lee was at the boat landing and Stansel heard him. She started kicking and screaming in an attempt to attract his attention.
"I heard something and then heard a woman say 'Help,'" Lee said.
The sound was coming from Stansel's trunk, but Lee couldn't see her. He continued talking with her.
He asked, "Are you okay?
"Yes," she replied.
"Who put you there," Lee asked.
"Some guy," she said.
Lee immediately called 911 and removed the antenna from his truck. He stuck the antenna through a half-opened window on Stansel's car and use the antenna to open the doors and the trunk."
She was pretty exhausted and scared, he recalled.
Stansel told sheriff's deputies her attacker never said a word, he didn't sexually assault her, and he didn't take anything.
She described the suspect as a white male, and he was wearing blue jeans and black tennis shoes.
"Everything just happened really fast, I'm just thankful to be alive," Stansel said.