The mother told officers that a stranger tried to grab the toddler from her arms Tuesday night.
In an interview with ABC7 News she said, "My daughters and I were playing outside and this guy was walking by and he started talking about how pretty my daughters were, and the nationality and all that. He knelt down to talk to my 3-year-old and he just picked her up by her ankles and started pulling her from me."
She added, "I couldn't get her away fast enough. Her boots fell off. Her pants were coming off because he was pulling hard enough." The mother then said she went into her house and called police while the man ran away and escaped.
Detectives started noticing inconsistencies in her story and it fell apart when they re-interviewed her on Thursday.
Police say she caused unnecessary fear in the community and wasted untold man hours investigating the report. Police also said the woman has a criminal history.
There is now relief and anger in a San Jose neighborhood where word is out about the mother's story. On Thursday night, the child's father, Curtis Wordlaw, spoke with ABC7 News about the ordeal. The mother did not want to speak to the media on Thursday night.
"I'm upset this lie was perpetuated by my baby's mother for reasons unknown," said Wordlaw. Like everyone else, Wordlaw believed the story despite warnings from family and friends who reminded of him of things the girl's mother had said in the past. "And I was basically telling them, 'Well, she wouldn't go to this length to make up a story this big.'"
"The investigators started pushing a little bit harder, decided to bring the mother in again and it didn't take too long and she finally confessed to fabricating the entire story," said San Jose Ofc. Albert Morales.
Neighbors are relieved and upset, at the same time.
"Well, I was angry when I heard it was a lie because I thought, 'Wow, she put us through a lot of anxiety,'" said neighbor Melissa Balderas.
Wordlaw, who's been embroiled in a custody battle with Jenny Araujo over their two daughters, has no idea what the motive might have been. He says it's the latest in a string of lies.
"She told all my friends and her family that my daughter had leukemia and it wasn't until one of her friends who's a nurse asked her about the treatment that she was receiving that she came clean," said Wordlaw.
San Jose police plan to file charges against Araujo for filing a false report. That is a misdemeanor punishable of up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.