At the police station, Cece Sims told a frightening tale explaining her disappearance.
"Cece said that she walked out of the dorm and a truck pulled up," Fortner said. "It was a man and a woman, and they dragged her into the truck...they forced pills and alcohol down her, and, there, they kidnapped her."
But this wasn't the truth. Sims faked her kidnapping to escape the pressure she had been under. On the night students saw her storm out of her dorm, she ended up at a Walmart just miles from school and waited 18 hours before calling it quits.
Sims later decided to share her lapse in judgment with the media movement "I am Second." "I didn't want to disappoint my parents. And so I thought, 'What better of a way than to say I was kidnapped?' That way, I wouldn't have to quit and be known as a quitter," said Sims, in a video posted on the website iamsecond.com.
"Clearly she was desperate to get out," Kathie Sims said.
Fortner, who has a lot of experiences with teenagers, said, "There were a lot of positives that were going to happen for her, but she didn't want to fail so she tried another way out. The only way an 18-year-old knows how to do it. They act impulsively and I think that's what she did."
Today, five years after the incident, Sims is still struggling to get back on her feet.
"It's hard," Kathie Sims said. "She's not out of the woods yet. But she is going to be okay."
The once rising basketball star is living at home, in counseling and playing music again.
"I would've pulled back the reins on her basketball, and helped teach her more about balance," Kathie Sims said. "And, if your child calls you from college and says, 'I don't want to be here anymore. Come get me,' hear 'em out."