JOHNSTOWN, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office confirmed Rachael Mattice, last seen on June 22 in the Town of Wells, was found alive and safe.
The disappearance of Rachael Mattice sparked a massive search and a vigil that pleaded for her return. Those pleas were answered when Mattice knocked on her mother’s door in Johnstown around 12:45 a.m. Wednesday.
“A lot of times it’s not a happy ending,” Mary Calder, who helped with the search effort, said. “Thank God this time it really was.”
Mattice was safe and uninjured. She was taken to Nathan Littauer Hospital to be evaluated and later released.
“Welcome home,” Calder said. “It’s nice to have her back.”
But now police are investigating what happened during the two weeks Mattice was missing. After being treated at the hospital, Mattice and her family spent several hours at the state police barracks being questioned.The 24-year-old claimed she was held against her will, and the person involved was a man.
“Why would someone do that?” Calder questioned. “I don’t understand why somebody would do that to another person.”
As police work through more than 300 leads, close friends said they can now go to bed at night knowing she’s not in danger.
“It was literally, like, a weight was lifted off your shoulders type thing,” Shannon Mellis, whose husband was close to Mattice, said. “To know that she was safe and okay and back with her parents.”
Mattice’s mother said she last saw her daughter when they had dinner at her Johnstown home on June 22. Two days later, a family member went to the family’s campsite on Hernandez Road in Wells where Mattice was living in a camper, but she was nowhere to be found. Her camp and car door were found wide open with her purse and phone still inside.
Mattice had been living at the camp because she worked in the area as a home health care aide.
Police do not have a suspect or vehicle description in the case, but they do have a lengthy investigation ahead of them.
“At this point, when we have more information, we’ll be able to pass that along,” Hamilton County Sheriff Karl Abrams said. “We’re still working on that. Miss Mattice needed to get some rest, and we’re going to be working with her further.”
The investigation is ongoing. Mattice’s mother and aunt did not wish to speak on camera on Wednesday. New York State Police should have more details by the end of the week.
Watch the full press conference: