TOLEDO — A pregnant Ohio attorney lied about being kidnapping left her family behind because she “experienced a meltdown,” her husband said Tuesday.
She never was abducted last week outside the city’s juvenile court building or forced into a vehicle, said police Capt. Ray Carroll.
Instead, she drove by herself to the Atlanta area, where she was found three days later outside an amusement park, investigators said.
Karyn McConnell Hancock, 35, a former city councilwoman, had been having psychological issues for several years, her husband said Tuesday.
“She experienced a meltdown and attempted to handle those matters without the assistance of professional help,” said Lawrence Hancock. “Karyn elected to leave everything because she felt that she was unable to continue.”
Police said at a news conference Tuesday that she recanted the story Monday after meeting with investigators for about eight hours. Hancock will likely be charged with making a false police report, said Police Chief Mike Navarre.
All she said was that she was tired and wanted to get away, said police detective Vince Mauro. She was six months pregnant with her second child.
Hancock’s father, C. Allen McConnell, is a Toledo Municipal Court judge, and her husband is bishop of Final Harvest Church.
In the first few hours after her disappearance on Dec. 5, her husband thought she may have just needed to get away and figured she would come home soon. He filed a police report that night.
But on Thursday afternoon, his wife called him, saying “they have me.” She said she thought she was going to die and “told me don’t let her son forget her and that she loved me,” he said.
Investigators say they don’t think her husband or anyone else knew what she was doing.
The family had said they believed the purported kidnapping had something to do with a case McConnell handled before he was a judge. The family also had said both the judge and his daughter had received threatening calls.
McConnell said on Tuesday that the calls were real and “still of great concern to the family.”
“We still do not know the source of those calls,” he said.
The family went on national television asking for help and community members gathered at churches to pray for her return.
Hancock was found after she flagged down a motorist near Six Flags in Austell, Ga., and the motorist called police, authorities had said. Her car was found nearby.
She told authorities that a man with a gun abducted her in downtown Toledo and forced into the back of a van, Mauro said. She said another abductor followed behind in her car, Mauro said.
One of the attorney’s former clients recently filed a lawsuit against her, accusing her of taking money from him that he was owed from an accident settlement.
Maurice Morris, of Toledo, said Hancock negotiated a settlement but never gave him the $10,000 settlement.
Hancock’s husband said he wasn’t sure if the lawsuit or the suspicious calls triggered her actions. “Her meltdown has been occurring over multiple years,” he said.
He did not know why she ended up in the Atlanta area, where the couple has friends.
“There was no destination,” he said.