A California woman who authorities claimed had recruited men on Craigslist to rape her ex-boyfriend’s wife has been cleared of all charges related to the case — and officials allege the man’s wife herself was behind the whole thing.
Michelle Hadley, of Ontario, was arrested in July, accused of harassing Angela Diaz, 31, and sending men to her home to engage in “rape fantasies.” Hadley was exonerated on Monday and Diaz is facing a slew of charges as a result of the twist in the case.
“Ms. Hadley is an innocent victim of a diabolical scheme,” Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas announced in a statement.
Rackauckus alleged Diaz went to great lengths to frame Hadley by allegedly falsely reporting a rape claim and posing as Hadley in emails and on Craigslist.
Diaz has been charged with kidnapping, false imprisonment, falsely reporting crimes, perjury, grand theft and forgery, among other charges. She was arrested by Phoenix, Arizona, police on Friday.
Hadley, who had been released from custody in October nearly three months after her arrest, became emotional outside a Fullerton courthouse on Monday after she was officially exonerated.
“Obviously, this has been a huge nightmare for me, probably the most traumatic experience of my life,” Hadley said, according to the Associated Press. “I’m glad it’s finally over, and I can move on.”
Diaz Allegedly Sent Herself Threatening Emails
The ordeal began in June when Diaz allegedly posed as Hadley on Craigslist and sent responses to people who had responded to “rape fantasy” ads. She allegedly reported to Anaheim police that men arrived at her home to engage in the act. Prosecutors alleged the men were intercepted by police. (The men have not been publicly identified.)
Authorities alleged Diaz sent herself threatening emails, using “violent language” and including pictures to portray herself as a rape victim. Rackauckus also alleged that Diaz falsely reported that a man attempted to rape her in her garage.
Prosecutors said that, for about a month, Diaz allegedly told police Hadley had been threatening to have her raped and had threatened to kill her and what she represented as her unborn child. However, prosecutors alleged Diaz faked the pregnancy.
Hadley’s arrest made headlines, with details of the case garnering widespread attention. But Diaz’s alleged plan soon fell through as authorities learned the threats and Craigslist solicitations allegedly came from Diaz’s phone and condo.
Authorities have not determined a motive for Diaz’s alleged actions. But the women are linked by Ian Diaz, an agent with the U.S. Marshals Service, according to the AP. Prosecutors have said they have no evidence indicating Ian was involved.
It is unclear whether Diaz has entered a plea or acquired a lawyer. Prosecutors said she faces a maximum sentence of 12 years and eight months in prison along with 11 years in county jail.