Lebanese authorities have has just foiled one of the most bizarre kidnappings the country has seen in recent times, a dramatic one that was staged by the assumed victim.
When 29-year-old Elissar Khodr Mama never came back home from work on April 5th, her family grew extremely worried. However, confusion over how the events of her disappearance played out made authorities skeptical.
In an official report by the Lebanese Internal Security Forces (ISF), it turns out that Elissar had a role in her own disappearance.
The Disappearing Act
The investigation began on April 6th after her father first declared her missing.
While presumably kidnapped, she was allowed to speak with her parents through voice notes and on a video call in which she was seen crying and pleading for help to be rescued from where she was being held in Western Bekaa.
In this triggering video, you can see how shaken her mother is while promising to find a way to secure the money. “Even if we have to beg for it,” she yelled in agony, knowing that the economic crisis has made it impossible to secure large funds of USD.
Authorities were suspicious from the start of the investigation that this was not a regular kidnapping.
Citing a security source, local media reported that Elissar left her family a note saying, “Forgive me, I love you,” which gave the impression that she had left at her own will.
When a kidnapper entered the scenario, things didn’t add up for authorities.
During their investigative work, local authorities uncovered that Elissar had met with a friend (B.S, 24) on the day she went missing.
Summoned for questioning, B.S. admitted that Elissar told him about her plan to run away from home because she had been fighting with her father. She also revealed to him that she intended on faking her own kidnapping and demand money.
It is worth noting that while the initial ransom amount was $10,000, it was later reduced to $8,000 according to the family – this also was fishy.
On April 11th, Elissar was spotted by local authorities around the Zouk Mosbeh area in the Keserwan District.
She was taken into interrogation and admitted that she was never kidnapped and that she just ran away from home stating that he father was mistreating her.
She said that she was the one who photographed herself as being kidnapped and that she sent the messages to her family demanding a ransom.
According to the ISF, “The legal requirement was taken against her, based on the indication of the competent judiciary.”