Man charged with falsely reporting assault

A McCracken County man who reported getting attacked on Interstate 24 is in jail Monday night, charged with falsely reporting an incident.

The McCracken County Sheriff’s Department says the man, 34-year-old Robert Pena, originally reported that he was beaten by three men Friday night when he stopped to help with a car he saw broken down on the side of the I-24. 

Sheriff’s detectives say on Monday a witness claimed to have followed Pena on Friday, that Pena never pulled off to the side of the road and that the witness never saw a stranded motorist. Investigators say they then spoke with Pena, who they say admitted he made up his explanation for the assault. 

Detectives say they do believe Pena was assaulted, but  that they cannot comment further about the case at this time due to the ongoing investigation. On Saturday, the sheriff’s department said Pena was treated at Massac Memorial Hospital for injuries to his head, eye, cheekbone and arm, and that he may have also sustained an injury to his liver. He was flown to a hospital in St. Louis for further treatment of those injuries. 

In a news release Monday. McCracken County Sheriff’s Detective Capt. Matt Carter said additional details will be provided as soon as they can be released. "The only further comment concerning this assault I can release at this time is we can assure the public that this was not a random act of violence," Carter said.  

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