Mother arrested after officials say she lied about daughter being kidnapped

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LINCOLN COUNTY, N.C. - A mother accused of lying about someone kidnapping her daughter is under arrest.

Mary Bowen, who is accused of falsely claiming her 3-year-old daughter was kidnapped, spoke to Eyewitness News minutes before her arrest Tuesday.

“I did what I thought I had to do to get my little girl back,” Bowen said.

Bowen called 911 Sunday, claiming her ex-boyfriend, Troy Koonce, abducted the child.

"He is not the father of my kid and he just snatched my daughter and told me that, he was, I was not getting her,” she said in the 911 call.

That call triggered an Amber Alert that appeared on cellphones, tablets and TVs across the state.

But Koonce is the girl's father.

Bowen said Tuesday she initially agreed to let Koonce take the child to his home on the North Carolina coast. But after he left, she changed her mind.

“Was that the right thing to do?” Eyewitness News asked.

“No. In my opinion, I wasn't even going to do nothing,” Bowen said.

She said a cousin then convinced her to make the bogus call.

“I shouldn't have done it,” she said.

Police arrested Koonce and returned the child to Bowen after the Amber Alert.

Eyewitness News asked Bowen what she would say to all of the people who frantically searched for her daughter.

“I feel that they had to do it,” she said.

Eyewitness News showed Lincoln County Sheriff's Lt. Tim Johnson our interview with Bowen.

He said officers across the state were searching for the child in the most extensive Amber Alert ever launched in the state.

“It is sad that it has been used on a senseless report that should never have been made to start with,” Johnson said.

Koonce has since been released and all charges were dropped.

Bowen is charged with filing a false report, which is a misdemeanor.