VIRGINIA BEACH — Monica Claire Lamping, a 30-year-old mother who disappeared with her children hours after her Virginia Beach home burned down in January, was arraigned in court on Tuesday.
Lamping was in tears when Virginia Beach General District Court Judge Elizabeth Hodges read the charge against her: arson of an occupied dwelling.
The felony charge is punishable with a sentence of five years to life in prison.
A magistrate denied Lamping bond on Monday, but a bail hearing has been scheduled for her case on Wednesday.
Lamping is currently being held at the Virginia Beach City Jail. Other charges are pending against her.
The house she was renting, which was located at 4932 Sullivan Blvd., caught fire around 3:30 a.m. on Jan. 22, claiming the lives of two pets owned by Lamping’s roommate, Courtney Bullock.
The 9-month-old husky, Nevada, and 3-year-old cat, Boss, died of smoke inhalation.
Lamping, her 7-year-old son, Kai, and 9-month-old daughter, Oria, were reported missing hours later. A preliminary police investigation showed her car traveling through the Portsmouth Downtown tunnel in the early hours of Jan. 22.
Monica Lamping and her children were found safe on Jan. 25 at a North Carolina “off-the-grid” commune, Bullock said.
On Jan. 26, the Virginia Beach Fire Department determined that a space heater caused the fire. VBFD spokesperson Art Kohn said that an investigation has ruled out all accidental causes for the fire.
As a result of her disappearance, a court gave full custody of Kai to father, Kevin Lamping.
“My wife and I have been granted permanent custody of Kai,” Kevin Lamping said in a Facebook message with a Southside Daily reporter.
“Life has been great and Kai had adjusted amazingly! His welfare has always been our top concern,” he said.
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