HALIFAX, Pa. (WHTM) – A Dauphin County man has been arrested on charges he gave false testimony before a grand jury hearing evidence in the case of Tracy Kroh, a Halifax teenager who disappeared nearly 30 years ago.
Matthew Webster, 54, of Halifax, was arrested in a Dauphin County courtroom following his testimony Thursday, the district attorney’s office said.
In June 2018, a woman named Holly 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 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.”
Mallett’s statement to police was recorded.
In May 2019, a Superior Court judge approved a wiretap of Webster’s phone. Once the wiretap was in place, Mallett was subpoenaed to appear before the grand jury June 6.
During telephone conversations on June 3-4, Mallett told Webster that police coerced her to give the recorded statement. Webster said he forgave her and made arrangements to pay for an attorney to represent her before the grand jury, the complaint states.
Webster and Mallett also discussed how to address her upcoming grand jury appearance and how to account for her prior statement to police, according to the complaint.
Webster was at the courthouse when Mallett testified June 6.
During his testimony Thursday, Webster repeatedly denied his conversations with Mallett prior to her grand jury appearance. He was arrested for felony perjury and placed in Dauphin County Prison on $500,000 bail.
District Attorney Fran Chardo said Webster faces up to seven years in prison if convicted of perjury. Mallett has not been charged.
“This is important,” Chardo said. “I mean, this is the first arrest in connection with this investigation, so I think it’s a big step.”
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.