DA: No charges will be filed against Carter, Teutsch

Carter told police she was kidnapped to avoid going back to a
group home
By Lori Stuenkel

Gilroy – The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office will not press charges against Ebony Carter, the 16-year-old girl who falsely reported being kidnapped.

And, on Wednesday, unrelated charges against the man Carter accused of kidnapping her were dropped as well.

Gilroy police turned Carter’s case over to the DA’s office to evaluate a misdemeanor charge of falsely reporting a crime after she was located in Oakland on Dec. 12. South County Supervising Deputy District Attorney Frank Carrubba said he would not press charges, after having spoken with authorities in San Mateo County, where Carter, lived in a group home.

“There’s some proof problems with filing a false report,” he said.

Namely, proving that Carter intended for her acquaintance Benjamin Teutsch to be charged when she told police he kidnapped her.

“That has to be your intent – that the person be prosecuted,” Carrubba said. “The case was not filed against her, and based on what I’ve seen so far … I have no intention of filing that case.”

Carter’s intent in telling police that Teutsch had kidnapped her appears to be avoiding returning to the group home, he said.

Carter went missing Nov. 14, after the friend of a sister she had been visiting in Gilroy dropped her off at the bus and train depot. Two days later, Carter called her sister and said she was being held against her will. She later repeated that claim when police contacted her, and the following day identified Teutsch, 29, as her kidnapper.

With Carter claiming she was in hiding, Teutsch was arrested the next day on suspicion of kidnapping Carter, and attempting to kidnap a 40-year-old woman the night of Nov. 13. He was never charged with kidnapping Carter, who remained missing and out of contact with family and police for another three weeks.

Meanwhile, prosecutors went forward with a charge of kidnapping, to which he pleaded not guilty on Dec. 21. The night before Carter went missing, a McDonald’s employee told police a man, who she later identified as Teutsch, tried to force her into his van in the parking lot of the First Street restaurant.

“The witness in that matter testified (Wednesday) in San Jose at the preliminary examination and the court indicated that there was not enough evidence to hold Benjamin Teutsch over (to trial),” Carrubba said.

“There are certain elements that have to be met in proving a case,” said Teutsch’s public defender, Louella Tsai, and the judge didn’t think the facts supported the charge. She declined to elaborate.

Until Wednesday, Teutsch was being held in county jail without bail on a probation violation charge.

What will happen to Carter, who was being held in San Mateo County Juvenile Hall after being found by Oakland police, also is unclear. Her probation officer was not at work and could not be reached Friday. A Gilroy police detective close to the case said she may be relocated out of state.

Carter has a checkered past, but police said she was “doing well” at the group home before disappearing. Her parents told police she “lies continually,” has habitually run away in the past, and likely fabricated the kidnapping story to avoid returning to the group home, according to court records.

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