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Salas court date rescheduled

Attorney blames scheduling mix-up. Warrant was issued, then canceled.

June 30, 2010|By Veronica Rocha, veronica.rocha@latimes.com

GLENDALE — A Merced County judge set a new court date and retracted a bench warrant for Nancy Salas, the Glendale woman who faked her disappearance in May and allegedly lied to police about being kidnapped.

Salas and her attorney, Jeffrey Tenenbaum, failed to appear for an arraignment hearing Tuesday morning in Merced County Superior Court for a misdemeanor charge of filing a false report with Merced police, so the judge issued a $10,000 warrant, court officials said.

Tenenbaum attributed the missed appearance to a scheduling mix-up, and said Salas was not required to attend because the charge is a misdemeanor.

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Tenenbaum explained the mistake to the judge, who retracted the warrant and set a hearing for Thursday morning.

"Whatever happened [Tuesday] I don't want to reflect badly on her," Tenenbaum said. "She didn't do anything wrong."

Tenenbaum will appear on behalf of Salas during Thursday's hearing. He also said he spoke to Salas on Tuesday and explained the confusion.

"She is doing good," Tenenbaum said. "She is just a sweet girl."

Calls to the Salas residence Tuesday went unanswered.

Her disappearance in May was determined suspicious after she didn't return from a jog in Chevy Chase Canyon, and police discovered her cell phone and car keys at home. Soon after, police launched a massive search for the 22-year-old former UCLA student.

The search took a turn when police discovered that Salas had apparently convinced her parents she was graduating from UCLA, where she had not been enrolled since fall 2008.

Nearly two days after Nancy Salas was reported missing, she entered a downtown Merced carpet store, called 911 and reportedly told Merced police that she had been kidnapped and sexually assaulted. She later recanted her story when Glendale police officers picked her up and brought her back home, saying she feared the repercussions of lying to her friends and family about dropping out of UCLA.

Glendale police haven't heard from Salas or her family since the incident, Sgt. Tom Lorenz said.

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