LAURINBURG, NC (FOX Carolina) - North Carolina deputies say the search for a supposedly missing woman and baby ended when it turned out the plea for help was a hoax all along.
Scotland County deputies posted on Facebook on Thursday that they were searching for a 2 or 3-week-old baby girl who is not in her mother’s custody and is believed to be in danger.
However, in a later Facebook post Friday evening, deputies revealed they learned of the hoax and arrested 30-year-old Danilla Mitzia "Missy" Bethea on 10 counts of felony obtaining property by false pretenses and one count of felony false reports to law enforcement pertaining to a missing child.
According to deputies, they got the report on Thursday from two women, a mother and daughter, who believed there was an infant girl born to a woman named April Morrison that was in danger. The reports initially indicated that Morrison was being held against her will and provided information that led investigators to suspect may be victims of human trafficking or prostitution. The report initially suggested that the infant child was sold for monetary value or in exchange for elicit narcotics either by Morrison's consent or by force.
When investigators interviewed Bethea on Thursday and Friday, she stated that Morrison was safe and her baby in the care of unknown third parties. However, deputies say they were able to identify inconsistencies in Bethea's statements and determined she was lying; April Morrison was determined to be a fictional character as was baby Lee Ann Morrison. These false statements were allegedly made and provided for the purposes of allegedly receiving money from the Berea, who believed she was supporting an infant child in need, and one whom she believed she would gain custody or guardianship over. The image of the infant child provided was an image obtained allegedly through social media.
Bethea was granted a $100,000 secured bond and remains jailed at the Scotland County Detention Center.
The latest information from deputies follows: