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Press Release

Pennsylvania Man Convicted For Kidnapping And Death Of Woman Whose Body Was Found In Nevada Desert

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Nevada

LAS VEGAS – A federal jury convicted a Pennsylvania resident today for kidnapping a woman in Pennsylvania then driving her to Nevada and killing her in the desert.

John Matthew Chapman, 44, was found guilty of one count of kidnapping resulting in death. United States District Judge James C. Mahan scheduled a sentencing hearing for August 2, 2024. Chapman faces the maximum penalty of life in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

According to court documents and evidence presented during the eight-day trial, on November 14, 2019, the Bethel Park Police Department in Pennsylvania conducted a welfare check on the victim at the request of a friend. During the welfare check, neighbors stated that they had not seen the victim in approximately two months, but they had observed a person whom they believed to be her boyfriend (Chapman) entering and leaving the victim’s residence. Inside the victim’s residence, officers found identification cards with Chapman’s name and photograph, the victim’s cellular telephone, multiple zip ties, and a roll of duct tape.

On November 15, 2019, Bethel Park Police Department detectives arrested and interviewed Chapman. During the interview, Chapman admitted that in September 2019 he drove the victim from Bethel Park, Pennsylvania, to Las Vegas, Nevada. He further admitted that he misled the victim to believe the trip was a vacation and they would potentially purchase a residence in Las Vegas. Chapman, however, had planned to kill the victim before their departure to Nevada. Chapman told investigators that he drove the victim out to the desert in Lincoln County, Nevada. Under the pretext of a bondage photo shoot, Chapman bound the victim’s hands and feet with plastic zip ties and affixed her to a signpost. Then he applied duct tape to her mouth and nose and watched her die from asphyxiation.

The joint investigation revealed that Chapman returned to Pennsylvania. He pretended to be the victim, including using the victim’s Facebook messenger account, and he continuously used the victim’s residence and money following her death.

United States Attorney Jason M. Frierson for the District of Nevada and Special Agent in Charge Spencer L. Evans for the FBI Las Vegas Division made the announcement.

The FBI Las Vegas Division, the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office in Nevada, and the Bethel Park Police Department in Pennsylvania investigated the case. Assistant United States Attorneys Penelope Brady, Megan Rachow, and Steven Rose are prosecuting the case.



Updated May 1, 2024

Violent Crime