A Phoenix woman has been accused of posing as the victim of a fabricated Craigslist “rape fantasy” ad to frame her husband’s ex-girlfriend.
Angela Maria Diaz, 31, faces charges of kidnapping, false imprisonment and falsely reporting crimes, along with other charges.
Orange County Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas said Monday that charges will be dropped against Michelle Suzanne Hadley, a 30-year-old Ontario woman who had been facing the possibility of life in prison if convicted of charges related to the alleged frame-up.
“Ms. Hadley is an innocent victim of a diabolical scheme,” Rackauckas said in a news release.
In July, the district attorney’s office announced that Hadley was being charged with 10 felonies, including stalking, making threats, assault and attempted forcible rape.
Prosecutors said at the time that Hadley had apparently stalked and threatened Diaz, the wife of a U.S. marshal who had dated Hadley for two years before his marriage.
Hadley had been accused of going on Craigslist in June 2016 posing as Diaz, advertising that she wanted to engage in “rape fantasies” and furnishing photos of Diaz and details about her routines.
According to the district attorney’s office, the online solicitation announced that Diaz wanted men to have forcible sex with her, “even if she screamed or resisted.”
Last summer, in announcing charges against Hadley, authorities said men had appeared at Diaz’s home with the intention of raping her, and one actually attacked her but fled before police arrived.
After Hadley was arrested in June and bailed out, she was accused of continuing the harassment against Diaz. Hadley was arrested again in July and held on $1-million bail.
The district attorney’s office said Hadley was released in October, after evidence materialized — in part thanks to her attorney — pointing to her innocence.
The district attorney now says that Diaz herself was behind the Craigslist ad.
Prosecutors now say that Diaz sent emails to herself while making it appear that Hadley sent them, and that Diaz made false claims that Hadley had threatened her life and that of her unborn child.
Diaz is also accused of faking cervical cancer, faking a pregnancy, forging a check, posing as an attorney and as two of her husband’s ex-girlfriends, and forging doctor’s notes.
Michelle Hadley has been living in the shadows, according to her attorney, Michael Guisti. “Her life has been pretty much taken away from her. She feels the eyes of everyone on her when she goes out — wondering if she is that person who did all those things — so she stays inside,” he said of Hadley, who spent 88 days in jail.
“She’s asking herself how does one go on to rebuild after something like this,” Guisti said.
He said Hadley, who has been living with family members, plans to resume MBA studies at Chapman University.
The district attorney’s office said Diaz was arrested Jan. 6 in Phoenix and is awaiting extradition to Orange County.
Times staff writer Anh Do contributed to this report.
2:05 p.m.: This article was updated with comments from Michelle Hadley’s lawyer.
This article was originally published at 12:10 p.m.