Hannah Potts is an Indiana woman who went missing on July 24, generating national attention. Her family is now accusing the 23-year-old of faking her own abduction.
The Gibson County Sheriff’s Office announced July 26 on Facebook that Potts, a county resident, was found “in no distress.” She was last seen around 2 a.m. near her home on Friday morning, according to the Courier & Press.
News of Potts’ disappearance assumed viral visibility last week, sparking involvement from the FBI, Eyewitness News reported.
Potts’ sister Brittany Schonaman, who initially reported on social media that her sister was kidnapped, is now accusing Potts of fabricating the incident for attention.
Schonaman expressed on Facebook that her family is “extremely embarrassed and hurt” by Potts’ actions.
“I publicly disown nor want nothing to do with my sister going forward. She is dead to me. I hope she is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” she wrote on July 26.
Gibson County Sheriff Timothy Bottoms confirmed with Heavy on July 27 that Potts “left on her own free will.”
“She was located, she is fine,” he wrote in a statement.
The office did not indicate whether Potts is being investigated for a potential crime.
Heavy has reached out to Schonaman and is awaiting a response.
Here’s everything you need to know about Hannah Potts’ disappearance:
1. Potts Was Last Seen Near Her Home, According to Police
Potts’ family members created a flyer to report her disappearance. The notice claimed that she was last seen “around her home” in Princeton, Indiana.
The 23-year-old, who stands at 6’1″ with brown hair and eyes, did not make it into work on the morning of the 24th, according to the flyer and her sister’s Facebook. Potts was sporting a gray shirt and sweatpants at the time of her disappearance.
The flyer, which quickly circulated online, encouraged anyone with information to contact the Gibson County Sheriff’s Office or the family.
The sheriff’s office confirmed on Facebook that Potts’ was missing, sharing a now-private message from Hannah Potts’ twin sister, Lauren Potts, according to Eyewitness News.
2. Potts Posted a Video Detailing Her Apparent Kidnapping, Family Members Say
On July 24, Schonaman wrote on social media that Potts “posted a very disturbing 6 minute video describing being kidnapped here on Facebook, before her phone went off.”
“I’m absolutely sick and worried about her, and pray for her safe return,” she stated. “If you happen to spot her or know of any potential whereabouts, please DO NOT hesitate to contact me, my family, or the local Sherrifs’ office.”
True Crime Society posted an apparent leaked recording of the video.
In the roughly six-minute audio clip, a person believed to be Potts claims she was kidnapped by a Black man in a “maroon car:”
Mom are you there? Hello? Mom if you can hear me please say something. I really need to hear your voice. Somethings happened. I was out taking those pictures of the animals and this guy came out of nowhere. it was the same guy I saw yesterday morning in the maroon car. He grabbed me, he pushed me into the trunk. Oh god. Where is he gonna take me? Mom please. Think Hannah, think. He um… He’s black, he’s about um, Jerry’s height, Jerry I work with. He’s, he’s.. He um… his voice is deep and kind of the way he called me ‘baby girl’ sent shivers down my spine, I don’t like it. Please mom, if you’re there can you please say something to me? I’m in a room… there’s a little light, four room, four walls… and uh I don’t think they know I have the phone so you gotta tell, you gotta tell the cops everything that, you gotta show them this video so maybe they can find me and um I don’t know where he uh, where did he say, he said something about Ohio.
She then goes on to tell her mother that she loves her and her father.
You can listen to a portion of the audio below:
3. The FBI in Indianapolis Offered Assistance on July 25
Eyewitness News reported that the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Indianapolis office confirmed that federal agents from Evansville offered the Gibson County Sheriff’s Office resources in connection with Potts’ disappearance.
“The FBI office in Indianapolis tells Eyewitness News that agents in Evansville have offered assistance to the Gibson County Sheriff’s Office if needed and are monitoring the situation after a woman went missing in Princeton,” the outlet reported.
BREAKING: The FBI in Indianapolis confirms federal agents from Evansville have offered the Gibson County Sheriff's Office with assistance and resources if needed in the search for missing 23-year-old Hannah Potts.
— Noah Alatza (@noahalatza) July 25, 2020
4. Potts’ Disappearance Piqued So Much Public Interest, a Facebook Group was Created to Monitor the Case
News of Potts alleged disappearance inspired the creation of the Facebook group, “Hannah Potts Discussion (Indiana) by Missing in Mobile,”on July 25.
Boasting more than 4,500 members, the public group seeks to offer insight on new developments surrounding the situation.
While some members shared details on Potts’ disappearance, others asked for ways to help or get involved.
“I know Hanna’s cell phone was pinged 1.7 miles from her home at 7 am. Is technology good enough to see if there was another phone that pinged at the same location at the same time?” one user wrote. “I’m thinking the kidnapper probably had a phone on him. I don’t know anything about pinging phones but it is just a thought.
5. Family Members Are Now Accusing Potts of a Hoax
Schonaman took to Facebook on July 26 to publicly accuse her sister of faking the kidnapping for attention. She claimed that Potts lied about “everything” and planned the hoax for “awhile” — adding that it was “for a novel she is writing.”
She indicated Potts is refusing to contact her family:
We do not know where she is currently staying. She refused to let us know, and police by law can’t tell us due to her being an adult. She also wants no contact with any of her family, but to let us know she was safe. So nice of her, right.
In another post, Schonaman apologized on behalf of her sister for falsely accusing a person of color.
“I pray no black man with a maroon colored car was targeted due to her blatant lie,” she wrote.
Police have not provided additional information regarding how Potts was found.