Meade Co. sheriff finds discrepancies in woman's abduction claim

Published: Jul. 14, 2016 at 7:27 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 14, 2016 at 7:45 PM EDT
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BRANDENBURG, KY (WAVE) - More than a day and a half after she disappeared, Linda Mattingly turned up safe but soaked on the banks of the Ohio River about two miles downstream from the Wolf Creek Boat Dock on Wednesday.

Thursday, Meade County Sheriff William "Butch" Kerrick said that investigators have made little progress in confirming her claims of an abduction, nor more than a bare-bones description of a possible suspect.

"It is bizarre," Kerrick told WAVE 3 News Thursday. "We're hoping she will have had enough time to collect her thoughts, so that we can reinterview her Saturday."

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

Deputies found Mattingly several hours after her family received a tip that her GMC Denali SUV was at the boat dock.

"The family reached the car before we did," Kerrick said. "In that sense, the scene has been contaminated. But we have processed the vehicle for fingerprints and for any other evidence we might find."

Mattingly first told investigators that she was headed to the Brandenburg Kroger about 6 a.m. Tuesday, when she stopped to retrieve a spilled coffee cup, Kerrick said.

"She said a man jumped in the back seat and told her to drive," Kerrick said. "She told us she never got a look at his face, or what he was wearing, except that he had sunglasses. He never claimed to have a weapon, but she said she felt he would harm her if she didn't comply."

Investigators have found a number of discrepancies in Mattingly's claims.

"She says he made her drive to Breckinridge County, to Leitchfield in Grayson County, to Elizabethtown and then back," Kerrick told WAVE 3 News. "But there's too much gas left in the tank to have done that."

Mattingly told investigators the alleged abductor never explained why he took her on the circuitous route, nor why they returned to Meade County and Wolf Creek.

"She says he told her to jump in the river, so she did," Kerrick said. "Her family told us she's a strong swimmer, and the current is such that it could have carried her."

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Detectives are poring over security camera footage from Kroger and other sites.

"We'd told (Mattingly) that video could make it easy to confirm what happened, and she altered her story a bit," Kerrick said. "First she said he got in at Kroger, then it was the back of McDonald's. McDonald's doesn't have cameras back there."

Reportedly, Mattingly declined medical treatment beyond a once-over from an ambulance crew.

"She was very glad to be reunited with her family when she got to the dock," Kerrick said.

WAVE 3 News has been in touch with two family members. They've asked for privacy.

"We need to get this resolved," Kerrick said. "We're getting calls from the community wondering whether somebody dangerous is out there. All we can tell them is, 'Be aware of your surroundings, be cautious and let us know if you see anything suspicious.'"

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