Runaway Bride Could Face Legal Charges After All

Jennifer Wilbanks, who had half of Georgia out looking for her after she reported being abducted because she was stressed out over a wedding, may face criminal charges, despite reports to the contrary yesterday.

Runaway Bride Could Face Legal Charges (AP)

On what was to be her wedding day, Jennifer Wilbanks wore not a white veil but an orange towel over her head to prevent the media from taking her picture. Instead of being led down the aisle by her father, she was led by police to an airplane that flew the runaway bride home. Now officials say the 32-year-old woman’s cold feet may have gotten her in hot water. On Sunday, Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter vowed to look into whether she violated the law by reporting a crime that didn’t exist.

Wilbanks initially told authorities she was abducted while jogging but later disclosed she took a cross-country bus trip to Albuquerque, N.M., to avoid her lavish, 600-guest wedding. Porter said Wilbanks could face a misdemeanor charge of false report of a crime or a felony charge of false statements. The misdemeanor carries a penalty of up to a year in jail; five years in prison is the maximum sentence for the felony. “If there’s criminal responsibility, that’s something I have to do something about,” Porter said, adding that no decision would be made Sunday. “I think it’s really going to depend on the circumstances on how this was done.”


For background, see Missing Georgia Woman Found, Reportedly Got Cold Feet

FILED UNDER: Law and the Courts, Popular Culture,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Kathy K says:

    After seeing a picture of her, I suspect she could do well with an insanity defense.

    I mean, really, take a look at those eyes. I’d be checking my weapons and escape routes if anyone around me smiled like that… yeah, I know it could just be a bad picture….

  2. Kathy K says:

    OTOH, if I were faced with a 600-guest wedding, I’d flee too. (And it probably was her mother, not her, that got it to that level.)

  3. Bachbone says:

    Let’s not ascribe blame until the full tale is told. More than wedding “stress” appears to be involved here.