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Trouble in the Marsh
Just when I thought the world was giong to crap, it went to crap:

MADISON, Wis. (April 2) - Police said Friday a college student's tale of being abducted doesn't add up and they don't believe there is an abductor at large. They said there was evidence she planned her disappearance.

''We do not believe there is a suspect at large, period,'' Assistant Police Chief Noble Wray said.

Surveillance video showed Audrey Seiler, a University of Wisconsin-Madison sophomore, walking out of her apartment about 2:30 a.m. Saturday wearing only sweats. She was found Wednesday in a marsh about two miles away, cold and dehydrated but otherwise unharmed.

Seiler told police her abductor used duct tape, rope and a knife against her.

But Wray said police obtained videotape of Seiler buying some of those items at a local store weeks earlier.

She also used her computer to search Web sites for information on Madison parks and the extended weather forecast, suggesting she had planned her disappearance, Wray said.

Wray said the search of her computer also indicated someone had used it during the four days Seiler was missing, and at least two witnesses said they had seen her walking freely in the city during that time.

''It's the totality of the picture,'' Wray said.

Earlier Friday, Wray had disclosed that Seiler, who had also reported an unexplained attack in early February, had changed her story about what happened last Saturday. She said she was abducted by a knife-wielding man - but from somewhere else in the city, not from her apartment.

''Audrey stated that she just wanted to quote, unquote, be alone,'' Wray said.

While citing inconsistencies, Wray said it was too soon to say whether Seiler could face charges. Authorities were still trying to construct a timeline of her movements, he said.

After she disappeared, dozens of volunteers traveled from Seiler's hometown of Rockford, Minn., to comb through marshes and woods around campus. Investigators also scoured phone records and apartments for clues, and after she was found, officers with guns drawn had surrounded the marshy area looking for a suspect.

Wray had acknowledged to reporters Thursday that ''there may be inconsistencies'' in the case. But he said then that the hunt was still on for a suspected abductor, and police issued a composite sketch based on Seiler's account.

Rockford residents said after Friday's first news conference that they didn't know what to think.

''It's so open right now,'' said Ron Elsen, who watched Wray on television at his family-owned cafe. ''Everybody's guessing at what happened. That's all there is to it, because they're not saying anything.''

His wife, Sue Elsen, said she was glad Seiler was safe but that she was getting skeptical.

''Something's fishy, don't you think?'' she asked.

The unexplained attack was the second reported by Seiler in two months.

On Feb. 1, she told police that someone struck her from behind and knocked her unconscious. She told police that she was then moved about a block from where she was attacked but was not sexually assaulted or robbed, authorities said.

04-02-04 14:26 EST

Copyright 2004 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. All active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.