Since I have posted about this story before I'll continue it here. It doesn't need a thread of its own, even though this woman is into finger-picking.
Woman who found finger arrested
Police raid Vegas home of Wendy's diner who claimed bowl of chili was tainted
- Ryan Kim, Chronicle Staff Writer, Friday, April 22, 2005
Anna Ayala, the Las Vegas woman who claimed to have bitten into a severed finger at a San Jose Wendy's restaurant, was arrested Thursday night in connection with the case, San Jose police said.
San Jose police spokesman Enrique Garcia said Ayala, 39, was arrested, but he declined to provide further details. "We've arrested her in connection with the Wendy's investigation. She's currently in custody'' in Las Vegas, said Garcia late Thursday night.
Police did not say on what charges Ayala was arrested. A press conference is scheduled at the San Jose Police Department at 1 p.m. today to discuss details about the arrest, Garcia said. A Clark County Detention Center official said Ayala was booked Thursday night as a fugitive from San Jose.
Family friend Ken Bono said officers raided the home around 9 p.m. and caught Ayala alone as she was watching "Meet the Fockers" on video. "I had just left to get some soda at the store, and when I came back she was gone and there were cars from the (Las Vegas and San Jose) police," said Bono, 23, who lives with Ayala. "They said it for grand theft or something."
Bono said Ayala is innocent and eventually will be exonerated. He said she has been unfairly targeted by the police and Wendy's International Inc. "They don't got jack s -- . They got her for something she didn't do. It's just something Wendy's is trying to do to her," Bono said.
The arrest comes almost a month after Ayala visited the Wendy's restaurant in San Jose on Monterey Road, where she says she bit into a 1 1/2- inch fingertip as she ate a bowl of chili. Her March 22 report prompted several investigations -- including one by San Jose police and another by Wendy's, which concluded Thursday that the finger did not originate in its food preparations or ingredients. Wendy's officials declined comment Thursday night on Ayala's arrest, saying they had not been contacted by law enforcement.
After her reported discovery of the finger, Ayala said she had trouble eating and sleeping and was forced to take medicine to help settle her nerves. At one point, she recounted her horror at finding the finger on ABC-TV's "Good Morning America." On April 6, investigators served a search warrant on Ayala's Las Vegas home. Ayala, who has steadfastly maintained she did not plant the finger, accused police of harassment.
She initially filed a claim against Wendy's but withdrew it after the raid, saying the media and police scrutiny was causing her family "emotional distress."
"People can say what they want and destroy my family, but it's not true," Ayala said last week. "This is really ruining my kids and me and dragging my family through the mud. It's killing us."
Ayala has a history of filing unsuccessful legal claims against companies. Ayala claimed that she had received a $30,000 settlement from the El Pollo Loco restaurant chain after her 13-year-old daughter fell ill with food poisoning. But El Pollo Loco officials said Ayala had been paid nothing in response to her claim. In 2000, Ayala sued a San Jose car dealership and Goodyear Tire Corp., and in 1999 she filed a sexual harassment suit against La Oferta Review, a San Jose Spanish-language newspaper.
The finger case took another turn last week when authorities compared the Wendy's finger with the DNA of a woman whose fingertip was chewed off by a leopard in Nevada. Authorities, however, ruled out a match. The probe put to rest speculation that the finger might be that of Sandy Allman, 59, of Pahrump, Nev. Allman lost the tip of a finger Feb. 23 when a leopard kept on her rural property attacked her.
The case of the Wendy's finger has drawn media attention from around the world and, according to Wendy's officials, led to a sharp drop in sales. Last week, Wendy's doubled its reward to $100,000 for leads in finding the finger's original owner. On Thursday, Wendy's announced it would offer free Frosty shakes to all Bay Area customers this weekend as a show of goodwill and commitment in the wake of its investigation.