SCOTLAND COUNTY, N.C. — A North Carolina sheriff's office says a multi-agency search for a missing woman and her newborn were based on false reports meant to solicit donations.
Authorities said Danilla Mitzia "Missy" Bethea, 30, of Rockingham, was charged Friday night with 10 counts of felony obtaining property by false pretenses and one count of felony filing a false report to a law enforcement agency pertaining to a missing child.
Deputies were told Thursday that newborn Lee Ann Morrison was missing and mother April Morrison may have been deceased or was being held against her will.
Authorities initially said the mother lived a dangerous lifestyle as a transient and the baby was believed to be in danger.
Authorities searched across Scotland, Richmond and Cumberland counties for the newborn.
The sheriff's office says authorities were led to believe the Morrisons were victims of human trafficking, but an investigation concluded that April Morrison and her baby didn't exist.
Investigators say Bethea told them the pair was safe, but gave inconsistent details.
It's unclear if she has a lawyer. Bethea will face a judge on Monday.
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