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Police have charged a Brandywine woman with filing a false statement in January claiming she had been kidnapped in an attempt to avoid a civil court hearing in Prince George’s County, the Charles County Sheriff’s Office reported.

Officers initially suspected foul play after tracking an abandoned vehicle, spotted by a citizen Jan. 22 on the shoulder of Malcolm Road in Brandywine with its engine running, to the home of Sharon Ruby Gray, 37. Concerned family members told police Gray had left earlier that evening and had not been seen or heard from since.

Gray returned home about 9 p.m. the next day.

She told investigators she had pulled over onto the shoulder of Malcolm Road in order to let a van that had been tailgating her pass. But when she pulled over, the van’s driver blocked her in, she said.

The driver got out of the van with another person and the pair pulled Gray from her car, put a bag over her head, forced her into the van and tied her wrists, she told police. They then drove her around, holding her against her will, she said.

But after a subsequent weeklong investigation — to which 19 officers dedicated about 70 hours at an estimated cost of $3,000 — detectives concluded Gray had not been abducted but rather made the incident up to delay her Jan. 24 hearing in Prince George’s County civil court to address allegations that she had falsified the will of an elderly man for whom she had provided home health care. The will stated that Gray was to receive the bulk of the man’s estate.

Gray was charged Feb. 17 with filing a false statement, a misdemeanor that carries a maximum sentence of six months in jail and a $500 fine.

jnewman@somdnews.com