Woman Wrongly Imprisoned for 53 Days, Thanks to Name Mix-Up

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Channel 2 Action News

File this under Despicable Things Police Have Done: An Atlanta woman was mistakenly imprisoned for 53 days due to police mixing her up with another woman with the same first name.

Teresa Culpepper thought that police who turned up at her house last August were responding to her call earlier that day reporting her truck being stolen. Instead, they arrested her for aggravated assault—a crime that was committed by another woman named Teresa, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“Her birth date didn’t match. Her address didn’t match. Her description didn’t match. Other than the name Teresa, nothing matched,” said Culpepper’s attorney, Ashleigh Merchant.

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On Oct. 12, Culpepper was released after her public defender brought the crime victim to court to explain that she was not the right Teresa. WSBTV Channel 2 Action News tracked down the real Teresa police were looking for, who told the station she hasn’t been arrested. Well, that’s reassuring.

There’s now an internal investigation by Atlanta police looking into how a mix-up like this could occur. Not surprisingly, Culpepper’s attorney is saying the city should settle or be prepared for a lawsuit.

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Aylin Zafar is a contributor to TIME. Find her on Twitter at @azafar. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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