State Police say Rachael Mattice made up abduction

Adirondack-area search for 24-year-old cost "deep into the six figures"

Albany Times Union
By Wendy Liberatore
July 23, 2016

Rachael Lynn Mattice is charged with third-degree falsely reporting an incident, a misdemeanor for claiming she was abducted in the Adirondacks, State Police said on July 23, 2016. (State Police photo)

The 24-year-old woman who claimed to be abducted by a bearded man and held in a shed for two weeks made the whole story up, State Police said at a press conference on Saturday.

Rachael Lynn Mattice of Johnstown surrendered in Mayfield and was charged with falsely reporting an abduction, a misdemeanor.

She could face a year in jail or a fine of $1,000 or both. At this time, no other charges are pending.

But Mattice's mother disputes the police version and says she believes her daughter.

The search for Mattice began on June 22 in the Hamilton County community of Wells, where the family had a camp, and ended when she returned home on July 6.

The search for her in the Adirondacks, which involved a 130 police offices, rangers and volunteers, cost "deep in the six figures," State Police Maj. William Keeler said. "That money is lost. We can not recover it."

On June 29, a friend of Mattice contacted country singer Shania Twain on Instagram asking for help finding her.

"You are Rachael's favorite country artist. She absolutely adores you. Her parents use to call her Shania when she was little because she would sing your music all the time. She had every tape, cd, knows every lyric to every song," she wrote in the caption, according to the Huffington Post. "I'm reaching out to you in hopes that you can make one of Rachael's dreams come true by sending a message out to her."

Twain responded with several tweets attempting to help:

I've heard the story of Rachael Mattice & urge anyone with information to come forward to the police & help her return to her family. (1/2)

Shania Twain (@ShaniaTwain) June 30, 2016

Thinking of you Rachael. (2/2)

Shania Twain (@ShaniaTwain) June 30, 2016

During the search over rugged terrain, the State Police as well as the sheriffs' offices from Hamilton and Fulton counties followed up on 400 leads.

When Mattice returned home, she described her abductor as a white man in his late 50s with gray hair, a full beard and smelling like cigarettes. A composite sketched was released.

"The man in the sketch does not exist," Keeler said.

Mattice also said she was blindfolded and continually assaulted throughout the two weeks.

While police would not say what she was doing during her disappearance or why she left the family camp, they had their suspicions about her story early on. For one thing, when she returned home in Johnstown, she was examined at the Nathan Littauer Hospital in Gloversville where she was deemed to be in unharmed by the alleged ordeal.

Despite the charge, Mattice has not changed her story and still says she was abducted.

Mattice's mother, Wendy Mattice, said she stands with her daughter.

"I don't believe she made the story up," said her mother. "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."

Soon after her return home, Mattice's family hired an attorney, whose name has not been disclosed.

Police, asked during a press conference about allegations Rachael Mattice stole from an employer in Hamilton County, said a theft charge is under investigation. They did not provide details.