The 'Runaway Bride' Jennifer Wilbanks Got Married — and Is Now Divorced
It was supposed to be a lavish wedding, with 28 members of the bridal party and more than 600 guests.
But just days before the April 2005 nuptials, the bride vanished without a trace, sparking a nationwide manhunt. Her distraught family made the rounds on morning news shows and cable networks, pleading for her return and saying that she wasn't the type of person to run off.
But they were wrong.
Jennifer Wilbanks, then 32, was found three days later in Albuquerque, N.M. She claimed she'd been kidnapped and sexually assaulted by a Latino man and caucasian woman while she was out for a run.
She later recanted that harrowing story, admitting she'd actually fled Georgia on a bus because of "personal issues." The wedding was called off, and she and fiancée John Mason soon broke up.
The case garnered international headlines, and Wilbanks was dubbed as "The Runaway Bride." Wilbanks was criminally charged for lying to police, eventually pleading guilty to a felony count of making a false statement and receiving two years of probation, 120 hours of community service and ongoing mental-health counseling. A judge also ordered her to pay the sheriff's office $2,550 to cover some of the costs of searching for her. She also agreed to pay $13,250 to the city of Duluth, Ga., to help pay for the overtime costs the city incurred searching for her.
Now, 16 years later, Wilbanks is quietly living in Gainesville, Ga., and working as a Human Resources Director at a telecommunications staffing agency, where she has worked since 2015.
Wilbanks fell in love again in 2010, this time with Greg Hutson, who owned a landscaping company. The couple got married — but PEOPLE has learned that they quietly divorced in April.
According to online court records, Greg Hutson filed for divorce in March in an uncontested dissolution of marriage. The divorce was finalized 30 days later and the couple's assets were divided.
As for the Runaway Bride incident, those who investigated the case have moved on and wish Wilbanks the best.
"In the big picture who did it really hurt? Her and her family," Albuquerque Police sergeant Trish Hoffman told PEOPLE in 2017. "I hope they're in a better place than they were back then."
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