A western Illinois teenager admits making up a story that he was attacked by a mountain lion while he was deer hunting.
"My name is Jeremiah Dice. I am 14 years old and I would like to make a public apology. Saturday, October 1st, I made up a story that I had been attacked by a mountain lion. That was a lie. The truth is I got sleepy in my deer stand and while I was climbing down, my feet slipped and I fell to the ground and I hurt myself. I was afraid if I told my parents I fell, they would not let me go hunting again by myself."
This is how Jeremiah's letter of apology began. Click here to read the complete letter.
Dice was bow-hunting on his family's property in Baylis, Illinois in Pike County that Saturday night when he said he nearly escaped an attack from a mountain lion.
His parents Gary and Pam Dice have released a statement to DNR further explaining the situation.
"After many days of carrying the guilt of lying he confessed to us the truth. There was NO mountain lion, nor was there any kind of an attack," they say in the letter to DNR. "We are truly sorry for all of this. Jeremiah is now in the process of apologizing and learning the importance of telling the truth. Thanks to all of the DNR officers for their genuine concern and help in this matter."
Jeremiah says in his letter that he saw a bobcat earlier that day and that's how he came up with the story to cover his scratches from the fall.
But before he knew what happened, the lie quickly got "out of control."
He admitted that he has never used the internet or Facebook and had no idea how fast something could travel. "Before I knew it, my lie spread like wildfire like throwing a match in a pile of dry leaves."
He didn't do it for attention or to hurt anyone, he just felt like he was "in a trap and couldn't get out."
"During a talk with my parents, I broke and I couldn't lie anymore. I told them the truth. There was no mountain lion. I'm sorry and ask for forgiveness. I've learned it's better to tell the truth even if you get in trouble because if you keep on lying you'll be in even more trouble than you can imagine."
A hard, but very important lesson for us all to learn.
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(This story provided by KTVO's sister station, KHQA-TV.)