RIVERSIDE COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT
Sheriff Chad Bianco
|Press Release:||Providing False Information to Law Enforcement|
|Station Area:||Palm Desert|
|Written Date:||August 28, 2021||Time:||4:30 PM|
|Incident Date:||August 20, 2021||Time:||1:44 PM|
|Incident Location:||72000 block of Dinah Shore Drive, Palm Desert|
|Reporting Officer:||Captain Dean Agnoletto|
|Angelica Marie Mendez|
On Friday, August 20, 2021, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department (Palm Desert Station) received information from a citizen that a female juvenile was a victim of child neglect and sexual assault. These serious allegations set in motion hundreds of staff-hours, by several law enforcement agencies, in two separate states.
There were four independent investigations related to this incident. All four of the independent investigations concluded the allegations were false. It appears the reporting person had seemingly made up the allegations and had no supporting evidence to substantiate her claims. Her claims, both to law enforcement and publicly had numerous inconsistencies.
Because of the horrendous nature of the allegations there was significant public outrage. This outrage sparked countless calls to our Dispatch Center, city, and county officials. All the while the four independent investigations were fully staffed and tracking accordingly.
The countless calls to our Dispatch Center took up valuable call time for other citizens who were in need of emergency services. The Sheriff’s Department would also like to explain that if this were a legitimate criminal incident, the frivolous aspects and misinformation would have hindered the investigation and ultimately the welfare of the child. Not to mention the adverse effect on any future prosecution efforts.
The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department would like to remind the public that not all information that is on the internet or on social media is accurate and can be very misleading. While we appreciate the understandable outrage with child-crimes, we encourage the public to be engaged and helpful toward law enforcement, so it can be a community effort when combating crime.
The case was presented to the District Attorney’s Office and they deemed it to have probable cause that a crime had been committed by the original reporting party, Angelica Mendez. An arrest warrant was issued by the Riverside County Court.
On Saturday, August 28, 2021, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department arrested Angelica Marie Mendez, 23-years-old, from Desert Hot Springs for providing false information to a police officer and knowingly filing a false police report.
For media inquiries regarding this incident please contact the Media Information Bureau.