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Abduction in Olympia was ‘escape room-style’ prank, WSP says

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- A scary scene of an abduction involving men in white plastic jumpsuits Wednesday night in downtown Olympia has been ruled an elaborate prank, the Washington State Patrol said.

Late Wednesday, troopers responded to a possible abduction at Heritage Park near Power House Road.

Witnesses said told authorities five to six men dressed in white plastic jumpsuits grabbed three people, one being a young girl, and zip-tied their arms before throwing the victims into a red Ford truck.

By the time WSP troopers arrived to the scene, the truck and the group had left.

"We take this seriously when people have been abducted, especially a child, we want to make sure that person is safe," said Washington State Patrol Sergeant James Prouty.

The case was treated as an abduction case, alerting the media and eliciting a response from Governor Jay Inslee.

Nearly ten hours later, WSP received word that the event may have been fake.

"It’s a relief you don’t have a child out there that’s been abducted. Definitely a relief," said Prouty.

After several interviews, WSP detectives found that six family members and two family friends had been planning the “escape room-style kidnapping" for several weeks.

The target of the prank: an 11 and 15-year-old.

In a release, WSP said one 17-year-old led the two younger kids to Heritage Park where six adults, aged 20 through 28 years old, were hiding in the nearby bushes.

When the children arrived, the adults jumped out and began to restrain the youngest children before placing them in the back of the family’s red Ford truck.

A witness nearby immediately called 911.

WSP said the family believed the prank would be a fun opportunity for the family and didn’t realize the serious implications it would bring.

"I mean if I saw something like that I’d be really freaked out, and to learn that it’s fake – I don’t know if it’s better than learning it was real," said Annika Nicholas, an Olympia resident upset by the prank.

WSP is sending their investigative findings to the Thurston County Prosecutor’s Office for charging considerations.