It’s a story that seems too outlandish even for a Hollywood script.
Michelle Hadley was arrested in July 2016, accused of sending threatening emails to her ex-boyfriend’s new wife, and going as far as posting “rape fantasy” ads on Craigslist in the woman’s name, leading men to show up at her house. Hadley was charged with attempted forcible rape, first-degree burglary and stalking. She was booked on $1 million bail and faced up to life in prison. The case made national and international headlines, with Hadley’s mugshot and headlines deeming her a “crazy ex-girlfriend” splashed across websites.
After three months in jail, Hadley, 30 was released with help from her attorney, Michael Guisti, who pressed investigators to look deeper into the case. Prosecutors announced months later that she had been cleared. Hadley had been set up by her ex-boyfriend’s wife, Angela Connell Diaz, prosecutors said.
Guisti called it the “perfect storm of catfishing.”
Now Angela Diaz, the 31-year-old wife of Hadley’s former boyfriend, a U.S. Marshal named Ian Diaz, is the one facing serious charges, including several felonies. Prosecutors say she sent the emails to herself and also posted the ads on Craigslist.
“It’s often said that true life is stranger than fiction,” Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said. “And the facts of this case make that statement spot on. When a person who has committed a crime gets arrested and charged, that’s a bad day. But when someone that’s innocent gets arrested and charged with a crime, that’s not just a bad day, that’s a nightmare. This is the tale of a woman who faced such a nightmare.”
The case is being featured tonight on Dateline NBC, with Hadley speaking out about her experience for the first time.
"This is the most shocking form of love rivalry that I've ever seen." #Dateline Friday 10/9c pic.twitter.com/Iab55je55x
— Dateline NBC (@DatelineNBC) February 22, 2017
Tomorrow on @DatelineNBC, you'll finally get to hear Michelle's story. The best part? It has a happy ending. #InnocentUntilProvenGuilty pic.twitter.com/afIbHUy9gh
— Michael L. Guisti (@OCLegalHelp) February 23, 2017
You can Heavy’s previous reporting on Michelle Hadley here and Angela Diaz here.
Here’s what you need to know:1. Diaz Is Accused of Creating a Fake Crime Scene to Make it Look Like She Was Attacked by a Man Who Responded to One of the Craigslist Ads
Angela Diaz applied for a restraining order against Michelle Suzanne Hadley, her husband’s former fiancee, on June 6, claiming Hadley was harassing her, prosecutors said in their press release in July 2016.
Prosecutors accused Hadley of violating the restraining order from June 6 to July 13 by sending Diaz “numerous emails including threats against the life of Jane Doe and her unborn child and disparaging comments about the victim’s husband. Hadley is accused of routing the emails to the victim through different computers and servers in order to avoid detection by law enforcement,” the district attorney’s office said.
In court documents, Angela Diaz described the alleged harassment:
Ms Hadley has been emailing me for over one week, repeatedly threatening my life, my marriage, my safety, and slandering my husband. Ms Hadley has used over six different email addresses to contact me, despite a request to cease communication. I am now fearful of leaving my home, have had to delete my online presence, and am incredibly emotionally distressed. I am fearful of being ‘raped,’ ‘attacked,’ ‘killed.’ I have had to completely uproot my life, including missing work at a new job to quash this issue. he tone and tenor of these emails escalates and there seems no sign of stopping.
The emails came from a man named “Jason Ray” on Linkedin, and Angela Diaz replied to those emails accusing the sender of being Hadley, and also told police she believed Ray was Hadley.
The emails included several Biblical references:
There are legends that Adam had a wife before Eve who was named Lilith, but this is not found in the Bible. The legends vary significantly, but they all essentially agree that Lilith left Adam because she did not want to submit to him. According to the legends, Lilith was an evil, wicked woman who committed adultery with Satan and produced a race of evil creatures.
I hope you are scared of death tomorrow. Be prepared. Don’t sleep, be watchful of the Daughters of God. We will steal your child and we will watch as it dies. (He) is using you for everything. Don’t you see this? He is obsessed with me, I am his treasure princess, you are nothing. Watch your back tomorrow.
Police also began investigating claims that Hadley had been posting Craigslist advertisements soliciting rape in Diaz’s name.
“Hadley is accused of replying to men who had posted on Craigslist, including sending them photos of the victim and details of the victim’s daily routine. Hadley is accused of telling the responders that the victim wanted the responders to have forcible sexual intercourse with her, even if she screamed or resisted,” the district attorney’s office said.
Police now say those posts were made by Hadley.
Before watching #Diabolical tonight on @DatelineNBC, familiarize yourself with the timeline of the #MichelleHadley case