Fresno woman claims she was mistaken for a criminal, now pleads her case

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Melissa Neylon says authorities mistook her for a wanted felon, and she could be extradited in January. (KFSN)

A Fresno mother is fighting extradition to Indiana for crimes she says were committed by another person.

Melissa Neylon was arrested in Inyo County after deputies say her fingerprints matched a wanted felon from Indiana.

Neylon bailed out of jail Friday and since then she says she's been working around the clock on her case. "I am not going to have them tarnish my name," Neylon said. "I want it cleared."

Neylon is a working mother and has three kids. But right now her full-time job is to prove she's not the woman she claims authorities have her confused with -- Melissa Chapman. "This poor girl is human just as much as I am, but it doesn't give them the right to do this to me," Neylon said crying. "I'm just trying not to lose it right now."

The wanted woman in question is accused of stealing someone's identity in 2002 and has been running from authorities for years. Deputies in Inyo County say Neylon and Chapman's fingerprints are a match, and a judge agreed Friday that they are the same person.

But Neylon says she has timecards from June 2002 that show she was in the Bay Area on the day of the crime and that a manager confirmed. "I sent him a copy of the timecards and he verified through email that, yes, that's my signature," Neylon's husband Shawn said. "He said, yeah, I remember her."

Pictures of the two show some similarities, but also major differences such as a Texas booking photo of Chapman we uncovered from 2004.

"She is clearly Caucasian, what is your ethnicity?" an Action News reporter asked. "I've never claimed white," Neylon replied. On any license, any school, all my kids we always claim Pacific Islander or Guamanian and other."

Now Neylon is out on bail, but Indiana authorities will decide in January if they want to extradite her.

"The truth will prevail," Neylon said. "I will come out on top of this because everything life has thrown at me I've overcome it. Because there's always that mountain you're going to climb."
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