Police say airman found in Amador County ditch was not victim of a crime

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — The Sacramento and Jackson police departments say a U.S. airman that was discovered in a ditch on the side of the road in Amador County was never the victim of a crime.

“He claimed that he that he had been kidnapped in Sacramento and held in a warehouse for several days,” Jackson Police Chief Chris Mynderup said.

Mynderup says Staff Sgt. Keith Keiffer’s story did not add up.

“None of the injuries really matched what he was telling us,” the chief said.

Police said Keiffer stuck to his story through several interviews.

“We gave him several opportunities to tell us what was going on but he kept claiming he was kidnapped,” Mynderup said. “I don’t know what his motive for this whole thing was.”

But Keiffer’s wife, Shanika Keiffer, spoke with FOX40 about why he may have made it up.

“He mentioned to me that he did it to try to get out of the military,” she said. “Because of the harassment that we’ve been getting especially me.”

Shanika Keiffer claims both Travis Air Force Base and Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota, where the family was relocating to, and others were calling Child Protective Services on her.

She says she home schools her 7-year-old son and takes care of her 2 ½-month-old daughter.

“I do think he fell apart and with the police saying that they didn’t find any foul play, I do believe that there wasn’t any as well,” she said.

In a brief phone conversation with FOX40, Sgt. Keiffer said he’s “trying to understand the situation” himself and deferred all other questions to Minot’s public affairs office.

We called Air Force representatives at both Travis and Minot to ask what discipline Keiffer could face if he indeed lied to police. We have yet to hear a response.

Meanwhile, both the Sacramento and Jackson police departments say they will not be charging Keiffer for filing a false report or any other crime.

“We could but then again we’re talking about more resources to write this thing up,” Mynderup said.

The case has certainly wasted the time of the Air Force and two police departments — time Chief Mynderup says is invaluable.

“We’re a very small department,” he said. “Very limited resources.”

Travis Air Force Base deferred all questions to Minot.

The Air Force released a statement about the incident:

SSgt Keith Keiffer with 91st MW Security Forces is returning to Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota from his leave in California where he was discovered injured and hospitalized Jan. 22, 2020. Currently the incident is under Air Force investigation. No more information can be provided at this time.

It’s unclear if Keiffer will remain in the Air Force.

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