Prosecutors are used to doubting convicted felons who recant their confessions, but it's rare for them to ignore the victim of a crime who says she made up the entire story that sent six people to prison.
Authorities say, despite Megan Williams' new denial, there is overwhelming evidence that she was indeed held captive in the rural West Virginia shed where she originally said she was raped and tortured over the course of several days.
Williams' story made national headlines in 2007, when investigators said the young woman had been beaten, stabbed in the legs, raped and forced to drink urine and eat animal feces. Williams is black; all of her alleged attackers were white.
Seven people, including Williams' then-boyfriend, Bobby Brewster, all confessed to their crimes and pleaded guilty. All but one was sentenced to jail.
Williams' lawyer, Byron Potts, told reporters Wednesday that his client made up the story to get back at her boyfriend for hitting her.
"She is recanting the entire incident. She says it did not happen, and she's scared," Potts said.
Potts said Williams stabbed herself with a straight razor to help embellish her original story.
"She told me the only thing not self-inflicted were the bruises on her face," Potts said.
Authorities, however, do not believe Williams made up the whole story.
"I can't believe what she is saying now," said Brian Abraham, the former Logan County district attorney who prosecuted the case.
"What Williams initially told the told the police is substantiated by overwhelming evidence against them. They confessed to their own crimes and made statements against each other. And everything they said was further substantiated by physical and forensic evidence."
None of the accused ever denied responsibility, maintained their innocence or attempted to appeal their convictions, he said.
"To a person, everyone admitted it," he said.
At the time, Williams' mother described the woman as "slow." Abraham called her "a special education-type student."
He said Williams, who now lives in Columbus, Ohio, had a history of making changes to her story, and early on in the case he decided not to rely on her testimony but on the physical evidence and the confessions of the suspects.
Each of the seven suspects were put in separate rooms by police and questioned independently.
"They were all interviewed separately. None knew what any of the others were saying. And all their evidence went along with exactly with what the others were saying," said Logan County Sheriff Eddie Hunter.
In an interview in July, Williams told a West Virginia news blog that her captors "never made me eat any feces or perform oral sex on the women, either."
Frankie Brewster, mother of Bobby Brewster, pleaded guilty to sexual assault after confessing that she forced her son's girlfriend to give her oral sex in front of her.
Valencia Daniels, who lives with and takes care of Williams, told The Associated Press that the young woman regularly "goes back and forth, back and forth" about the allegations of being beaten, raped and tortured.
Daniels said Williams sometimes says the story is true and other times denies it happened.
Williams' case became a cause célèbre at the time, with prominent black leaders rallying to her side, and sympathetic people across the country sending her money.
The Rev. Al Sharpton urged the suspects tried for hate crimes, and gave Williams a $1,000 gift.