Audrey Seiler, the University of Wisconsin-Madison student who faked her abduction, was sentenced Thursday to three years' probation after she pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts.
Seiler read a statement during the court hearing in which she attributed the ordeal to severe depression that caused her to act irrationally.
"I'm taking care of myself now, so someday people will see I'm still a girl to be proud of," said Seiler, who withdrew from school after the widely publicized incident and is in therapy.
Seiler, 20, pleaded guilty to two counts of obstructing officers as part of a plea agreement. She nodded softly as Dane County Circuit Judge James Martin ticked off the conditions of her probation. They include reimbursing the Madison Police Department $250 a month during her probation, an amount that could increase to $400 a month if she graduates during her probation and gets a job.
Seiler, of Rockford, Minn., can have the charges expunged from her record if she completes her probation.
Seiler disappeared from her off-campus apartment March 27 without her coat or purse. She was discovered curled in a fetal position in a marsh four days later, and told police that a man had abducted her at knifepoint.
But police concluded Seiler made up the story after obtaining a store videotape that showed her buying the knife, duct tape, rope and cold medicine she claimed her abductor used to restrain her. Seiler confessed after she was confronted with the tape, saying, "I'm just so messed up," according to authorities.
But she later recanted the statement, insisting she had been abducted.
A criminal complaint depicted Seiler as upset by a fading relationship with her boyfriend.
The disappearance had touched off a furious search as national TV played footage from a surveillance camera that showed her leaving her off-campus apartment building around 2:30 a.m. with no belongings.
Dozens of volunteers from her hometown traveled to Madison, slogging through marshes and woods around campus looking for any sign of her. She turned up March 31 near a state office building after a worker spotted her and called police.