Arrest made in hoax case of missing mother and infant in Laurinburg NC

LAURINBURG, NC-

On Friday, February 1, 2019,

The Scotland County Sheriff’s Office arrested Danilla Mitzia “Missy” Bethea, on 10 counts of Felony Obtaining Property by False Pretenses and 1 count of Felony False Reports to a Law Enforcement Agency Pertaining to a Missing Child. Bethea is 30, and resides off of East Side Drive, Rockingham, NC.

Scotland Co Sheriff Office

On Thursday, January 31, 2019, the Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigative Unit received a report from two female parties, mother and daughter, who believed there was a female infant child, born to a female named April Morrison. 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 Morrisons consent or by force.

During the investigation, investigators interviewed Bethea on January 31, 2019 and again this day, February 1, 2019. Bethea stated Morrison was safe, and that her baby was in the care of unknown third parties and was also safe. Investigators identified inconsistencies that gave concern to the safety of this infant child, and the legitimacy of the care or caretakers who allegedly would possess the child. Investigators believed the child was in danger, and was possibly sold or exchanged to parties engaged in elicit prostitution or human trafficking.

Upon further investigation, investigators determined that the statements provided by Bethea were allegedly false. April Morrison was a fictional character and there was no infant child named Lee Ann Morrison. These false statements were allegedly made and provided for the purposes of allegedly receiving money, from the reporting party, 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.

The Scotland County Sheriff’s Office takes every single report of a missing person and/ or child seriously. The Scotland County Sheriff’s Office is trained and ready to respond to, and act swiftly and thoroughly in all reports of any person who may be suspected of being victim to human trafficking or, sexual servitude. The Scotland County Sheriff’s Office believes that in any report of a missing person and, especially any missing juvenile or infant child regardless of the nature of how they came to be missing, is extremely important and a matter that must be addressed immediately and as expediently as possible. This includes information sharing, local, state and federal resources, and information sharing with all available media outlets. This ensures maximizing the potential that a missing person, and especially a child, could be found safely by law enforcement and search and rescue personnel.

The Scotland County Sheriff’s Office extends a sincere and deep gratitude to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Rockingham Police Department, Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office, Fayetteville Police Department, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

The Scotland County Sheriff’s Office would also like to thank the media outlets and reporters who worked hard, and were patient and enduring in their efforts to collect information and provide it to the public as quickly as possible. Your dedication is important in sharing vital information especially in this case.

Bethea has received a $100,000 secured bond. Bethea is being held at the Scotland County Detention Facility.

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