Rachael Mattice, a New York woman who was reported missing in June before she was found earlier this month, allegedly made up the entire story of her abduction.
At a news conference on Saturday, state police said the 24-year-old woman from Johnston surrendered in Mayfield and was charged with falsely reporting an abduction, which is a misdemeanor. She could face up to one year in jail and a fine of $1,000.
Mattice was reported missing from a remote camper on June 23, and she was found about two weeks later. Police said they investigated 400 leads and spent more than $100,000 on the search, the New York Daily News reported.
A witness since came forward, saying Mattice concocted the whole thing.
“Nothing Mattice said happened. It’s all made up,” a state police spokesman, William Keeler, said in a news conference. “That [search] money is lost. We can not recover it,” he added, according to the Times-Union newspaper.
A man came forward, saying he gave her a ride to a camp in Canada Lake, New York, which belonged her boyfriend’s relative. Two hikers verified the driver’s story, police said.
Mattice, however, is sticking by her story.
She claimed she was abducted in a camping trip in Hamilton County and was held captive in a shed, adding that a bearded man assaulted her during that time, reported ABC 10. She described the man white, in his mid- to late 50s, about 6′ tall, with brown eyes, gray hair, full beard, and weighed between 200 and 250 pounds.
But police said she made up the description of the man.
“Exactly what she was doing, exactly where she was. There’s still some blanks in there, and we’re going to continue investigating them,” state police investigator Jefferey Ullman told the ABC affiliate.
Mattice’s mother, Wendy Mattice, said she believes her.
“I don’t believe she made the story up,” her mother told the Times-Union. “When she was dropped off at home, she ran to the house. I wish I had a camera to show you what she looked like. She looked like hell. She lost 10 pounds. The whole thing pisses me off because we don’t have the money to fight this. But I will stick with my daughter until my grave. There is someone out there watching my daughter. The police will be sorry when someone else is kidnapped.”
Police are also investigating whether she stole prescription drugs from the Hamilton County Public Nursing Service, which is where she was employed, the Daily News reported.
Mattice is scheduled to appear in court on August 9. She hasn’t been charged with the alleged theft of prescription drugs.