Sheriff: Meade Co. woman claims she was abducted, forced to swim in river

Sheriff: Meade Co. woman claims she was abducted, forced to swim in river
Linda Mattingly (Source: Family friend)
Linda Mattingly (Source: Family friend)
Mattingly's SUV was found in the Wolf Creek area of Meade County. (Source: Katie Bauer/WAVE 3 News)
Mattingly's SUV was found in the Wolf Creek area of Meade County. (Source: Katie Bauer/WAVE 3 News)

BRANDENBURG, KY (WAVE) - A Meade County grandmother who was last seen Tuesday morning and found safe Wednesday on the banks of the Ohio River told investigators she was abducted.

Linda Mattingly's family said the former in-home daycare operator went missing after she went to run an errand. Tuesday morning, her family alerted Meade County Sheriff's Office and together they determined there was no need to enter her as a missing person at that time because there was no indication that she was a threat to herself or others.

According to Sheriff Butch Kerrick, Mattingly said a man approached her in the parking lot of the Meade County Kroger, forced her to get into her SUV and drive to the Wolf Creek boat dock. Mattingly said she was then forced to swim in the Ohio River and the man left.

Mattingly's vehicle was located on the boat ramp around 10:30 a.m. Wednesday. Officials said the vehicle was unlocked and Mattingly's keys and purse, which had cash and credit cards, were inside. The engine of her car sat cold, according to Kerrick.

"We determined the worse, that she might be in the water," Kerrick said.

A Good Samaritan provided a boat for investigators to use to search the water. A few hours later, Mattingly was found waving down police while standing on the side of the river, approximately two miles from the boat dock. She told investigators she spent the night on the Kentucky riverbank.

Kerrick said while this is a bizarre case, they will not stop until they have answers.

"If you come to us with any type of crime, we are going to investigate it to the fullest," said Kerrick. "It may lead us to a blank wall, it may lead us to an arrest, but we are going to take it very seriously, here in Meade County and we are going to run with it."

Friends turned to social media Tuesday night after Mattingly failed to return home. A friend, Kimberly Vessels, said Mattingly left home in her 2005 pewter GMC Yukon Denali sometime between 7 and 7:30 a.m. Tuesday morning, but her husband had no idea where she went.

Vessels said the garage door was left open and Mattingly did not have her cell phone with her. There had been no activity on her bank account since her disappearance.

Mattingly told investigators she was not sexually assaulted. She was cleared by EMS after they found no cuts or bruises, according to Kerrick.

Detectives are currently checking surveillance cameras to help form a better description of her abductor. Anyone with information in the case is asked to call the Meade County Sheriff's Office at (270) 422-4937.

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