Charges filed against Gibson Co. woman for abduction hoax


PRINCETON, Ind. (WEHT) – The Gibson County woman who was thought to be missing, but it turned out she had run away, is facing charges of false informing.

Hannah Potts, 23, was found safe Sunday at the home of Joshua Thomas and Maria Hopper in Gibson County. All three face charges of false informing after the Gibson County Prosecutor says they planned and executed an abduction hoax on July 26.

Brittany Schonaman, the sister of Hannah Potts, told Eyewitness News she is outraged by what Potts did.

“The detective basically told my mom that Hannah claimed that she did it because she was working on a novel and was researching for this novel and she was playing it all out,” Schonaman said.

Gibson County Prosecutor Michael Cochren says Potts, Thomas and Hopper urged law enforcement should be notified after posting on social media that Potts had been abducted. Cochren says Thomas and Hopper helped hide Potts, and were not truthful when law enforcement talked to them about Potts’ disappearance. Potts was located at

Cochren released the following statement:

“Ms. Potts actions are criminal in nature.  She had many people in her family and community worried sick over her personal health and safety.  Further, she risked involving innocent individuals by giving a false description of the alleged abductor.  Finally, the number of hours spent by multiple law enforcement agencies in this time of limited resources is simply not recoverable.  This callous disregard for others simply will not be tolerated.”

Hannah Potts’s sister, Brittany Schonaman, said she hopes strangers were not targeted during the investigation. She told Eyewitness News Hannah Potts’s twin sister, Lauren Potts, is receiving backlash after making a missing person flyer when the family and investigators were trying to hunt down her sister. Shonaman said she a hopes lesson is learned.

“She used man hours from the police and resources that could have been used for an actual missing person,” said Schonaman.

The Prosecutor’s office has requested an arrest warrant for all three individuals.

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(This story was originally published on July 29, 2020)

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