CLEARFIELD – A man who told police he had been kidnapped recently pleaded guilty to unsworn falsification to authorities and false reports in Clearfield County Court.
Matthew James Kelce, 24, of Austintown, Ohio, was sentenced to 21 days to one year in jail and one year consecutive probation. He was fined $1,025 plus costs and must pay restitution of $2,728. He was also ordered to have a mental health assessment.
Kelce explained to the court that he was living in Brockway when he was thrown out of his residence, which is why he went to police. He also stated that he suffers from depression and a mood disorder.
According to the affidavit of probable cause, on Sept. 9, 2012 Kelce entered the Lawrence Township Police Department, stating he wanted to report that he had been kidnapped. He told an officer that while out walking on Woodland Road, two men hit him on the back of the head with an unknown object that rendered him unconscious.
When he awoke, he had a cloth sack over his head and his hands were tied behind his back to a chair. The men asked him for a phone number for his grandparents, so they could demand a $10,000 ransom. He refused and eventually one man left and the other fell asleep.
At that point, he claimed he was able to get the sack off his head, break the chair and get the handcuff key off the sleeping man. Then, he was able to uncuff himself. The sleeping man awoke, but he said he kicked him in the face several times before getting away.
He then ran into the woods until it was dark when he made camp. He said he traveled through the woods until he arrived back at his residence with the exception of Sept. 4, 2012 when he stopped at Gio’s in Woodland. He didn’t tell anyone there he had been kidnapped.
When asked how he survived in the woods, Kelce stated that he killed chipmunks and squirrels by throwing rocks at them and cutting them with a sharp rock. Kelce wrote a three-page statement detailing these events.
Further questioning led to him admitting he made up the entire story because he was being evicted from his residence and didn’t have any place to live. He said he had been staying with a friend during the time he claimed to have been kidnapped.