A 24-year-old woman, who had been “held against her will,” miraculously appeared back at her home in New York after singer Shania Twain appealed for information about the case on Twitter.
Police in New York previously said they didn’t “have a lot to go on” after Rachael Mattice vanished from a family camping trip on June 22. Two weeks after going missing, Mattice returned to her family home in Johnstown, New York, about 50 miles west of Albany, on July 6.
It was Rachael Mattice’s father who contacted police on June 24 when he saw his daughter’s car, abandoned, close to a family campsite on Algonquin-Lake in Wells, New York. While her mother, Wendy, says that she normally talks to Mattice multiple times a week. The last time Wendy Mattice heard from her daughter was through a text message on June 22.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Shortly After Authorities Released a Sketch of the Man Who Allegedly Abducted Mattice; There Were Reports That She Was Implicated in a Drug Theft
Just after a sketch of the man who allegedly kidnapped Mattice was released, ABC Albany reported that Mattice had been implicated in a prescription drug theft. Sources told the station that Mattice was being investigated prior to her disappearance.
Sheriff Karl G. Abrams had told the media on June 30 that the family regularly went camping at Algonquin-Lake. He added that at their site, there was no sign of a struggle or a suicide note. He concluded, “There’s no good direction to go.” The Albany Times-Union reports that the family had been going to the campsite for years.
Mattice’s mother told Fox News that her daughter texted her just before she got to a no service area in the campsite. The message read, “I’m at the bottom of the hill. Goodnight and I love you.”
In a statement after Mattice was found, Sheriff Abrams said:
In the early morning hours Rachael Lynn Mattice returned to her Johnstown address after being gone for approximately 2 weeks.
She is currently being medically evaluated at a local hospital. She appears to be in good condition. There is still currently an active investigation ongoing.
ABC Albany reports that Mattice was treated at Nathan Littauer Hospital and was released. After she was found, Mattice’s cousin, June Mattice Robinson, wrote on Facebook, “This is better than winning the lottery!! I love you Rachael Mattice!”
While another cousin, Ron Mattice, wrote, “Rachael has been found and is alive! Normally I dread a call at 1:00 in the morning, but this is the best news I could have ever imagined! I don’t have any other details other than that she was taken to the hospital and I am told will be OK. I huge thank you to everyone who has helped the past 2 weeks. Rachael is back with her family!”
2. Her Mother Believes Mattice Was Abducted While a Friend Said That Mattice Was ‘Held Against Her Will’
The Albany Times-Union spoke to Mattice’s mother, Wendy, who said, “I think she was abducted.” While Sheriff Abrams said on June 30 that there was “nothing to indicate foul play.” Her mother also told the Times-Union that her daughter had no enemies.
One of Mattice’s friends told CBS 6’s Kari Beal that Mattice was “held against her will and managed to escape.” Police later confirmed that Mattice had told them she was held against her will but they said that she did not escape. Officials added that they did not believe there was a greater threat to the community.
3. Mattice Is Such a Huge Shania Twain Fan That Her Nickname Is ‘Shania’
Mattice’s favorite music artist is country star Shania Twain. After the campaign to being Mattice home reached out to Twain, the singer responded on her official Twitter account saying, “I’ve heard the story of Rachael Mattice & urge anyone with information to come forward to the police & help her return to her family. Thinking of you Rachael.”
In a now-deleted Instagram post, it was Mattice’s friend, Cynthia Nellis, who contacted Twain, saying, “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. 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.”
4. A Candlelight Vigil Was Held for Mattice on the Night of June 29
A candlelight vigil was held for Mattice on the night of June 29 in the town of Wells. The Albany Times-Union reports that around 400 people attended. The newspaper also said that “the case has drawn strong social media interest.”
According to her Facebook page, Mattice works as a home health aide in Hamilton County, a job she’s been doing since May 2016. She is a native of Johnstown but had been living in Wells. She lists herself as single on Facebook.
5. A Press Conference Is Scheduled for July 6 at 1 p.m.
CBS Albany reports that a press conference will be held to clarify some details on Mattice’s disappearance at 1 p.m. on July 6. It will be a joint briefing from the Hamilton County Sheriff’s office and the New York State Police.
The Albany Times-Union reports that the search for Mattice included forest rangers as well as state police and sheriff’s deputies.