PACIFICA -- The terrifying tale of a 10-year-old girl who slugged a would-be abductor in the stomach near the busy city pier and escaped turned out to be just that: a story, according to police.

The girl confessed Wednesday night to making the whole thing up, including the description which led to a suspect sketch and police spending "thousand of dollars," on a full-scale response, Pacifica police Capt. Dan Steidle said. Her confession came the day after her friend, who had initially corroborated the tale, admitting the girls lied.

Why would they do that?

Steidle said the victim-turned-suspect lied to cover up for "something she wasn't supposed to do," but declined to specify. He said there was no need to "drag her through the mud," and she's too young to face any charges. Police surmise she didn't realize how seriously the report of an attempted kidnapping would be taken.

The girl told police Sunday she was walking near Beach Boulevard and Santa Rosa Avenue around 4:25 p.m. when a man appeared and told her "she was coming with him," police said. But when the would-be kidnapper tried to grab her the girl punched him in the stomach, which sent him running, or so she said. The girl's friend claimed she saw the suspect run off after the purported attack.

Steidle said police had to take the report seriously, but within 24 hours they began to have doubts. Normally once a story like that hits the media people who were witnesses, but didn't realize it, will begin to call with information.

Despite the constant activity from dog walkers and fishermen near the municipal pier, just feet from the alleged abduction try, no one reporting seeing anything. People called police to offer various tips and Steidle thanked the community for helping, but they didn't relate directly the area where the girl claimed she'd been attacked.

While still investigating the report as though it were real, police late Monday also began to pursue a "parallel" probe into the possibility she was lying. The investigation took up two full days of a detectives time and also prompted overtime for other officers. Steidle said he had not tabulated the cost, but said it "will run into the thousands."

No suspects were brought in for questioning.

"There were a couple of people spoken to in the field the day of the report, but they were quickly ruled out as suspects," he said. "Most of the work being done was research into local sex registrants, research into locals that we may have had concerns about in the past, and canvassing local neighborhoods for witnesses and video evidence."

Contact Joshua Melvin at 650-348-4335 and Eric Kurhi at 408-920-5852. Follow them at Twitter.com/melvinreport and Twitter.com/erickurhi.