Lawsuit: Calif. Woman Held for 13 Days After Case of Mistaken Identity

Bethany Farber was stopped at LAX because she had same name as wanted woman
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 24, 2022 4:09 AM CST

California woman Bethany Farber is suing the Los Angeles Police Department, saying they wrongfully detained her for 13 days—including three days after they allegedly realized they had the wrong Bethany Farber. The 30-year-old aesthetician says her nightmarish experience began in April last year, when she was detained at Los Angeles International Airport as she tried to board a plane to join her family for a vacation in Mexico, the Guardian reports. She says she was told there was a warrant out for her arrest in Texas—and TSA agents refused her pleas to double-check their information after she told them she had never even been to Texas. they completely blew me off," Farber tells ABC7. "They said, 'Nope, Bethany Farber, we have you.'"

TSA agents passed Farber to LAX police, who turned her over to the LAPD. She was held without bail at the Lynwood women's jail. Attorney Rodney Biggs says Farber was apparently viewed as a flight risk because she was leaving the country, but authorities failed to check "basic information that Bethany was not the other Farber," Fox 11 reports. "The fact no one checked her middle name, her birth date. No information representing her person," he says. "The woman wanted for property damage in Texas has an "extensive criminal history," Biggs says. "Her fingerprints are in the data base." Farber, whose family hired lawyers in California and Texas as they tried to free her, does not physically resemble the other woman.

Relatives say the Texas prosecutor promised to expedite Farber's release after receiving photos—and phone records proving Farber was in California on the day of the crime. Farber, who says her only previous trouble with the law was a speeding ticket when she was 16, is also suing the city and airport police for allegedly violating her civil rights. According to her lawsuit, the stress of her ordeal caused her grandmother to have a stroke that led to her death. She said this week that her time in jail was "traumatic" and she was emotionally scarred by the wrongful arrest and imprisonment. "It could happen to anyone," she said. (More wrongful arrest stories.)

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