Ph.D. student falsely accused of robbery in Webster released from Philadelphia jail; officials speak out on ‘mistaken identity’ arrest (2024)

WEBSTER, Texas – It’s a case of mistaken identity out of Webster, Texas that landed an innocent woman in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania behind bars for a robbery she never committed.

Julie Hudson’s family says she’s a Ph.D. student who stays out of trouble and has never even been to Texas.

Now, officials at the Webster Police Department say the warrant issued for her arrest is an unfortunate mistake.

“It’s very bizarre, and when our family learned of it, we were like, ‘no way, Julie would never,’” said Julie’s cousin, Kesha Warren.

Julie was sitting in jail in Philadelphia since last Wednesday. She was released early this Thursday.

“She’s on five medications and till this day, Julie still has not received her medication,” said her sister, Charon Hudson.

The 31-year-old Ph.D. student ended up behind bars after going to the police department there to see why a warrant for her arrest was filed in Texas, which was preventing her from getting a job.

“Julie went down to our local police department in Philadelphia thinking, ‘I’ll get to the bottom of it in person.’ And when she went there, of course, if you have a warrant out for your arrest, they have to arrest you,” Charon said.

After much digging, she learned that Julie was mistakenly linked to a shoplifting and assault incident at the Webster Academy Sports and Outdoors back in May.

“We were able to detain one of the people who matched one of the suspects in the video, she agreed to an interview, brought her back, and in the interview, she identified the other person as her sister by the name of Julie Hudson,” said Assistant Chief of the Webster Police Department, Jeremy Edge.

Edge says a surveillance photo of the suspect looked like social media images found of Julie Hudson in Philadelphia, convincing them she was the culprit.

“It looked to multiple people, not just within our agency, but also within the district attorney’s office,” Edge said.

After proving Julie was at work in Pennsylvania during the time of the crime in Texas, Webster police had the charges dropped, but Julie’s family is now contemplating legal action against the department and wants more than that.

“We want to shed light on the situation, whether that be education for the department or whether that means more training,” Charon said.

Webster police say they are sorry this happened and are working on ways to prevent it from happening again in the future.

Now, they’re not entirely sure if the real suspect’s name is even Julie Hudson at all but are asking anyone who knows who and where she is to come forward.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney on Thursday issued the following statement:

We commend the rapid response and coordination between the Police Department, Courts, District Attorney’s Office, and Department of Prisons to ensure that Julie Hudson was released as quickly and as safely as possible. We are dismayed by the ordeal that she and her family went through due to an erroneous warrant from another jurisdiction, and thankful that she is now home.

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner on Thursday also issued the following statement:

The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office became aware of Julie Hudson’s predicament last evening, thanks in part to media reports out of Houston and in Philly. I am not aware of any efforts by Texas authorities to contact my office directly about the misidentification of Ms. Hudson, which led to her arrest by Philadelphia Police on January 6 based on a fugitive warrant. Once the District Attorney’s Office independently became aware that Webster Police had confirmed to local media that they had wrongly sought Ms. Hudson for arrest, we mobilized quickly to make sure Ms. Hudson was released from custody as soon as possible.

“Julie Hudson is a Philadelphia resident who has no criminal record and is pursuing a Ph.D. What happened to her should not have happened, and her family deserves a great deal of credit for successfully advocating for her freedom with the media in Houston and in Philadelphia. I am also thankful for the quick action of our Charging Unit, led by Supervising ADA Amanda Hedrick; city Managing Director Tumar Alexander; the First Judicial District; Northwest Detectives; and Department of Prisons for effectuating Ms. Hudson’s release within a matter of hours. I am proud to lead a prosecutor’s office that works closely with law enforcement and the judiciary to ensure a rigorous process of approving arrest and search warrants.

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Ph.D. student falsely accused of robbery in Webster released from Philadelphia jail; officials speak out on ‘mistaken identity’ arrest (2024)
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