VIRGINIA BEACH, Va (WVEC) — A mother who had people on alert nationwide after she disappeared with her children is facing new criminal charges.
Virginia Beach Commonwealth's Attorney's Office spokeswoman Macie Allen said a grand jury indicted Monica Lamping on two counts of Felony Torture to Animal Causing Death earlier this week. The charges came after two pets died in a house fire Lamping is accused of setting in January 2017.
Investigators said Lamping knocked over an oil lamp to start the fire. They said she was in a custody battle with her ex-husband and ran away to North Carolina with her children after she started the fire. The pets that died in it -- a Husky puppy and a cat -- belonged to Lamping’s former roommate, Courtney Bullock. Two other cats survived the fire. Inspectors condemned the home because of the damage to it.
Bullock told 13News Now the animals died from smoke inhalation after they were locked in her room. Bullock was not at home at the time of the fire.
"Knowing that the house was on fire, in general, and knowing that there are animals in that room, open the door,” Bullock said. “Give them a chance to try to get out of the room. But she didn't do that, so, I totally agree that ‘torture’ is very fitting for that."
Each animal torture charge carries a maximum sentence of five years. Lamping’s next court appearance is scheduled for October 30.