HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A second person has been charged with providing false testimony to a grand jury hearing evidence in the case of Tracy Kroh, a Halifax teenager who disappeared 30 years ago.
Holly Mallett, 44, of Halifax, is charged with felony perjury. She is in Dauphin County Prison on $25,000 bail, according to court records.
“She remains presumed innocent, but we charged that she lied before the grand jury, and that is not going to aid in getting to the truth in any case, especially the Kroh case,” Dauphin County District Attorney Fran Chardo said Wednesday.
Authorities said Mallett falsely claimed she had not discussed what she would tell the grand jury prior to her June 6 appearance. They said Mallett spoke with Matthew Webster about her testimony and those conversations were captured with a wiretap.
Webster, 54 of Halifax, was charged with perjury in August. He pleaded no contest to the felony on Tuesday.
”The lesson, especially in a grand jury investigation, is that you have to tell the truth,” Chardo said. “We rely on that to get to the truth and justice.”
According to a criminal complaint, Webster once owned property on Middle Road in Halifax Township where police in 2016 and more recently in May searched for evidence of Kroh’s disappearance.
In June 2018, Mallett told police that Webster was at her home after the initial search in 2016 and spoke of his involvement in Kroh’s rape and murder.
Webster, according to Mallett, said he and some buddies came in contact with Kroh on the Millersburg square in 1989. Mallett said Webster had been drinking alcoholic beverages when he said, “It was supposed to be just a rape and done, but then it turned out to be a lot more than that.”
During the intercepted telephone conversations between Mallett and Webster, Mallet claimed that police had coerced her into giving a statement. She claimed she was mentally handicapped and not fit to testify.
Webster told Mallett he forgave her and would pay for an attorney to represent her before the grand jury. The pair also discussed how to account for Mallett’s prior statement to the police, according to the complaint.
During her testimony, Mallett acknowledged she had spoken to police, but she claimed she could not remember what she told them during her 47-minute statement, authorities said.
Webster was at the Dauphin County Courthouse when Mallett testified During his testimony, he repeatedly denied his conversations with Mallett prior to her grand jury appearance.
No one has been charged in Kroh’s disappearance Chardo said he will not call Webster or Mallett “persons of interest.”
“I will not use terms like that,” he said. “We are pursuing this case as we have throughout and hopefully we will get justice for this family.”
Webster was sentenced to 4-6 months in prison. He was given credit for time served and released to serve 12 months probation.
Mallett has a preliminary hearing scheduled for Jan. 13.
Kroh was 17 years old when she was last seen at the Alex Acres Trailer Park in Halifax Township on Aug. 5, 1989. She was trying to visit her sister and brother-in-law who lived at the trailer park and dropped off a barbecue grill and some grocery store coupons when the couple wasn’t home.
Webster’s former property on Middle Road is a quarter-mile from the trailer park.
Kroh was reported missing the next day when her parents realized she didn’t spend the night at her sister’s home as she sometimes did. Her 1971 Mercury Comet was found at the town square in Millersburg, but her belongings were not in the car.
Parts of her wallet, including her driver’s license and National Honor Society card, were found in December 1993 in an area along Wiconisco Creek, off Rakers Mill Road in Washington Township, nine miles from Millersburg.
“There is something to be said about a case where there is no body,” Chardo said. “Those are haunting because you don’t have closure for the family.”