The ultimate nightmare has come to life for two parents whose daughter went missing June 22nd nears Johnstown, New York.
Rachael Mattice left her parents’ house after eating dinner with them that fateful Wednesday night. She headed back to her family’s campsite just outside of Wells, where she was staying in their camper while she worked as a home health aide in the area. At the end of her 53-mile trek, she sent her mom a text message reading: “I’m at the bottom of the hill. Goodnight and I love you.”
That was the last time the Mattices would hear from their daughter for a hellish two weeks.
Wendy Mattice, Rachael’s mother, first had an inkling something was amiss when she didn’t speak to her daughter the next day. She said she typically talked to Rachael one to three times a day and it wasn’t like Rachael to go off without letting someone know. When Rachael still hadn’t contacted them on Friday, her father made the trip out to the camper. There, he found what every parent dreads: his daughter was missing. Rachael’s car was there, the door ajar, her phone and purse left behind, but there was no sign of the 24 year old.
Rachael was reported missing June 24th, launching a massive manhunt involving helicopters and dogs. A vigil was held a week after her disappearance by family members, who pleaded that she be returned safe.
Thankfully, Rachael was found alive in the early morning hours of July 6th, exactly two weeks after she disappeared. Sheriff Karl Abrams of the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office reported that morning: “[Rachael] is currently being medically evaluated at a local hospital. She appears to be in good condition. There is still currently an active investigation on going.”
As of a press conference held at 1:00 p.m., Rachael has been cleared from the hospital, and the State Police are leading the investigation. Rachael told police she was held against her will for the last two weeks, before finally being dropped off close to her parents’ home. She was able to walk a block or so to her mother’s house where Wendy Mattice, upon seeing her daughter, called the police.
Rachael has indicated the person who held her is male. Currently, the State Police have no one in custody and no suspects. They have not provided a description of a person or vehicle and there is no answer to whether or not there is a person of interest. Through the course of their missing persons investigation, they followed over 300 leads, including ex-boyfriends, family members, sex offenders, and more. Police have said there is no threat to public safety and Rachael was uninjured when she arrived home.
Hamilton County Sheriffs have asked the media and public to respect the family’s privacy and approach the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office with any and all questions.
Police are also urging people to exercise caution, taking care to secure their cars and homes and keep doors and windows locked.