Date: January 9, 2017
REMARKS BY THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY ON CHARGES AGAINST ANGELA DIAZ AND EXONERATION OF MICHELLE HADLEY
SANTA ANA, Calif. – “Thank you all for coming. It is often said that true life is stranger than fiction. 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 who is innocent gets arrested and charged with some crime, that’s not just a bad day – it’s a nightmare!
This is the tale of a woman who faced such a nightmare, but with the help of her attorney and law enforcement, who continued to seek the truth, she will be able to be exonerated.
I am here to announce the filing of a felony complaint against Angela Maria Diaz by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office. The charges include -- numerous felony charges including two counts of kidnapping, two counts of false imprisonment, perjury, two counts of forgery, two counts of possession of forged instrument, grand theft, one misdemeanor count of filing a false report with an agency, and 21 misdemeanor counts of filing a false police report.
As important as the filing of charges against Ms. Diaz, is the dismissal of the previous complaint and full exoneration of Michelle Suzanne Hadley. The complaint number 16NF2004 previously charged Ms. Hadley with several felony counts that carried a maximum sentence of life in prison.
This is a complex and detailed case and I can’t share all of the details now. I wanted to make sure, however, that Ms. Hadley is cleared in every possible way – in the courtroom, in the court of public opinion. It should be made clear in the media and in cyberspace. Ms. Hadley is an innocent victim of a diabolical scheme.
These two women, Michelle Hadley and Angela Diaz, are connected through a common man. We will identify that man as John Doe. Michelle Hadley is the former fiancée of John Doe. Angela Diaz is John Doe’s soon-to-be ex-wife.
Here are some relevant dates in this unusual timeline.
In 2013, Ms. Hadley and John Doe started dating after meeting online. After a whirlwind romance, they eventually purchased a condominium together in Anaheim. To part ways in August 2015, Ms. Hadley moved out of the residence.
In September 2015, Ms. Hadley and John Doe argued over email and text messages about the status of their relationship and financial issues surrounding their condo. Some of Ms. Hadley’s emails contained accusations toward Doe, descriptions of events in their relationship and included language with religious overtones. Ms. Hadley and Doe then ended contact with each other in the Fall of 2015.
John Doe met Angela Diaz in January 2016 on the same dating website where he met Ms. Hadley. They married at the end of February 2016 and Angela moved into the condo with John Doe, the same one which had been purchased by Ms. Hadley and John Doe. In mid-May 2016, Diaz claimed she was pregnant with twins.
On June 1, 2016, Diaz is accused of reporting to the Anaheim Police Department (APD) that Ms. Hadley sent her threatening messages over email that included accusations toward Doe that contained language very similar to Ms. Hadley’s September 2015 emails that she had sent to John Doe. Diaz provided copies of these emails to APD.
Throughout the month of June, Diaz is accused of providing APD officers with copies of emails showing Ms. Hadley continually threatening to have Diaz raped. Diaz is accused of adding links to graphic images and photographs of dead human beings, decapitated bodies, and aborted fetuses.
Diaz is also accused of reporting and providing documents to APD supporting her claim that Ms. Hadley was impersonating her and asking men to come to her condo to engage in violent “rape fantasy” sexual encounters, providing photographs of Diaz and her address.
Starting June 13, 2016, Diaz is accused of reporting to APD officers that men arrived at her residence eager to engage in such a “rape fantasy” sexual encounter with her. Her story was bolstered by the fact that law enforcement contacted and intercepted some of these men near Diaz’ residence who admitted to responding to the Craigslist ad and believed they were being invited to engage in a consensual encounter with Diaz.
On June 24, 2016, Diaz is accused of calling 911 and reporting that a man attempted to rape her in her condo’s garage. She is accused of crying and meeting the police with her shirt ripped and with visible redness to her neck and breast area. She is accused of claiming to APD that a man attempted to rape her.
Ms. Hadley was arrested later in the evening on June 24th and bailed out the next morning, June 25th, on $100,000 bail. It should be noted that pursuant to Marsy’s Law, Diaz was notified by law enforcement when Ms. Hadley was taken into custody and when she bailed out. Diaz is accused of claiming that while Ms. Hadley was in custody, the threatening emails and rape fantasy solicitations stopped and that after Ms. Hadley bailed out, the threats and solicitations began again almost immediately. Diaz is accused of sending emails containing language that made them appear to have been written by Ms. Hadley.
From June 25 to July 13, 2016, Diaz’s reporting to APD continued.
Diaz is accused of reporting to APD that, in some of these emails, Ms. Hadley requested Diaz contact her. These email requests included Ms. Hadley’s parents’ phone number as well as an email address that Ms. Hadley had told police was, in fact, her email address, including emails that appeared to have originated from Ms. Hadley’s verified email address.
On July 13, 2016, Diaz called 911. When officers arrived, they found a 17-year-old boy outside who admitted to responding to the solicitation and believed the advertisement was real.
Due to the seriousness of the threats, the alleged attack on Diaz in her garage, the escalation in both the frequency and nature of the threats, and yet another man arriving at Diaz’ residence to engage in a rape fantasy encounter, law enforcement believed a serious threat to public safety existed. Based on the fact that the available evidence pointed only to Ms. Hadley, an arrest warrant was issued and charges were filed against her.
On July 14, 2016, the court issued an arrest warrant and Ms. Hadley was charged in a felony complaint with stalking with a restraining order, stalking, criminal threats, attempted rape, assault with the intent to commit rape during a residential burglary, violating a protective order, and a crime-bail-crime enhancement. These charges carried a maximum sentence of life in prison and she was held on $1 million bail.
At the time of Ms. Hadley’s arrests, all of the available evidence pointed toward her guilt, including, but not limited to:
- The emails, email addresses, and rape fantasy solicitations used specific and relevant language and religious tones which were nearly identical to emails we know were sent by Ms. Hadley to John Doe in September 2015 and signed by Ms. Hadley.
- Real men showed up in response to the Craigslist ads
- Diaz reported she was attacked in her garage and appeared to have physical evidence corroborating her claims.
- When Ms. Hadley was taken into custody on June 24, 2016, the email traffic ceased. It began again soon after Ms. Hadley bailed out of custody.
- Some of the emails contained Ms. Hadley’s verified email address, her parents’ home and business phone numbers, and other personal facts.
- Ms. Hadley maintained her innocence and she communicated to third parties that she thought she was being set up.
APD investigators attempted to serve emergency search warrants in order to determine the Internet Protocol (IP) addresses for the emails to find the location from which the emails were being sent, but the use of Virtual Private Networks (VPN’s) and third party proxy servers masked the IP addresses and originating locations of the messages.
In all of these cases, Diaz now stands accused of pretending to be Ms. Hadley and sending the emails and rape fantasy solicitations to herself in order to frame Ms. Hadley.
I want to give kudos to APD, in particular Detective Michael Cunha, who worked tirelessly and devoted hundreds of hours to uncovering the truth. I would also like to thank OCDA’s Investigative Bureau, and our prosecutors for continuing to investigate the case after Ms. Hadley was taken into custody on July 14 and spent approximately three months in jail. It took months of painstaking work to remove the disguise from some of the IP addresses and reveal the real source of these emails.
Our joint investigation eventually determined that the true origins of these emails and rape fantasy solicitations were not Ms. Hadley, but they originated from the condo shared by John Doe and Diaz, Diaz’ cell phone, and Diaz’s father’s home in Arizona. The evidence we currently have does not show involvement by John Doe.
During the course of the frame up investigation, we uncovered other fraud activity by Diaz, including check forgery and other deceptions including faking cervical cancer, pretending to be an attorney, forging doctor’s notes, faking a pregnancy, and impersonating another one of John Doe’s ex-girlfriends over email.
Once police investigators and our office suspected that Ms. Hadley may not be involved in these crimes, we began working closely with Ms. Hadley and her defense attorney, Mr. Michael Guisti, who provided critical documentary evidence.
OCDA and APD interviewed Ms. Hadley at length and were able to verify the information she provided during the interview. On October 7, 2016, we were able to release Ms. Hadley from custody on her own recognizance while the investigation continued.
When this case is fully revealed, the evidence will show how much work law enforcement did to discover additional evidence on Diaz’ computer and cell phone including user accounts for different Virtual Private Networks and other applications designed to mask a phone’s or computer’s IP address.
Angela Diaz was arrested by the Phoenix Police Department in Arizona three days ago on Friday, January 6th. We will be requesting her extradition to Orange County to face these charges.
I want to again reiterate that Michelle Hadley was not involved in this matter and is fully exonerated. We will be dismissing all charges against her this afternoon.
Thank you. APD has requested the OCDA answer all questions since this case is still under investigation. I will now offer the podium to Mr. Guisti.”