'Meltdown': Pregnant Ohio Lawyer Made Up Abduction

September 10, 2008, 2:58 PM

Dec. 11, 2007 — -- There was no abduction, no gun in her face, no blindfold and no ties binding her wrists.

Officials announced today that pregnant Ohio attorney Karyn McConnell Hancock confessed Monday to fabricating a story about being kidnapped by three people at gunpoint in Toledo last week.

McConnell Hancock had previously told her husband, Lawrence Hancock, and police that she was kidnapped by two white men and one black woman in front of a juvenile court building in Toledo and driven 600 miles to Georgia, where she was found early Saturday morning wandering near a Six Flags amusement park.

Toledo police Chief Michael Navarre said it was all a lie. "She traveled alone and on her own free will," Navarre said.

Navarre says his department will work with prosecutors to seek criminal charges against McConnell Hancock for filing the false abduction report.

During the course of the seven-hour interrogation by police and FBI agents, her story was systematically picked apart, Toledo lead investigator Vince Mauro said at a morning news conference today. Among other things, they discovered financial transactions that didn't add up and phone calls that were not made from the places she had told police.

Mauro also said that as far as authorities were concerned, Hancock, her preacher husband, knew nothing about his wife's lie when she called him Thursday.

Police offered few details about what her motive may have been and where she was between Wednesday and Saturday morning. "She just indicated that she was tired and she wanted to get away," Mauro said.

But her husband, the bishop of the Final Harvest Church, appeared at the same news conference and said that his wife "experienced a meltdown and attempted to handle those matters without the assistance of professional help or others," but also did not elaborate.

Hancock apologized to the police, the media and citizens who rallied behind his wife's case. He maintained that he did not know that she was lying when he spoke to her Thursday, a fact that he called "very disheartening."

Hancock added that his wife's decision to run away "is the culmination of a series of events," but declined to elaborate further. He said his wife asked for his apology Monday night and he gave it to her.

Family and friends described the former member of the city council who runs her own law firm as having little reason to run away. Her husband and father told police about recent instances of threatening phone calls and of clients of Hancock McConnell acting aggressively. She has also been the target of a lawsuit by one client, who claimed she tried to defraud him of $10,000.

McConnell Hancock's father, C. Allen McConnell, a local judge, also said that their family will stand by her. He emphasized that whether or not his daughter was lying to the family, the fact remains that both his family and his daughter's family had received threatening phone calls that remain "a great concern."

"She's my child, I love her and we just want to make sure that she's well and that her life continues," her father said. "Regardless of what happens, her mother and I will always love her."

Late last week, both men appealed to the public for help finding the missing pregnant woman. Hancock filed the initial missing person's report Wednesday when the family's day-care center called in the evening to say his wife had failed to pick up their son.

Her family members rejoiced when the woman was discovered Saturday after flagging down a motorist who then called 911. Police in Cobb County, Ga., put her on a plane, but they also kept her vehicle, found along an interstate about a mile away, to process as evidence.

Sgt. Dana Pierce, a spokesman for the Cobb County police, told The Associated Press that her car showed no signs of a struggle or a kidnapping.

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