Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Judge allows mother accused of arson to go on Outer Banks vacation

Monica Lamping, 30, was charged with arson in connection to the Jan. 22 fire of her Sullivan Boulevard home. (Adrienne Mayfield/Southside Daily)

VIRGINIA BEACH — A mother accused of burning down her Virginia Beach rental home and fleeing to another state in January was granted legal permission to go on a family vacation to the Outer Banks.

Virginia Beach General District Court Judge Daniel Lahne granted permission for Monica Claire Lamping to go on the vacation on Thursday.

She needed his permission to go on the trip — which is scheduled for Aug. 30 through Sept. 24 in Kill Devil Hills, N.C. — because her $25,000 bond does not allow her to leave the cities of Virginia Beach and Chesapeake.

Lamping was charged with arson of an occupied dwelling on April 3 in connection to a January fire that destroyed her Sullivan Boulevard home and killed a dog and cat living in the house.

The felony offense carries a sentence of between five years and life in prison if she’s found guilty.

Prosecutors say Lamping started the Jan. 22 fire, leaving the home with her children as the fire blazed in her bedroom. She allegedly knew that four animals remained inside the house, including her own cat, Kenji.

A cat and dog belonging to Lamping’s roommate, 24-year-old Courtney Bullock, died of smoke inhalation.

The fire was reported around 3:30 a.m. — about four hours before Lamping and her children, Kai, 7, and now 10-month-old Oria, were reported missing.

A three-day search by police found the trio safe at an off-the-grid commune in Asheville, N.C.

Prosecutors say that Lamping may have been motivated by a custody battle between herself and her ex-husband, Kevin Lamping.

Upon Lamping’s return to Virginia, Kevin Lamping was granted full-time custody of Kai. Lamping is still able to see her son, but only during supervised visits, defense attorney Otis Forbes said in April.

In an interview with Southside Daily, Kevin Lamping confirmed that Kai has seen his mother during supervised visits.

Evidence against Lamping includes wood flooring taken from the home. A forensic analysis of the flooring showed that some samples contained medium petroleum distillate, an ignitable substance that can be found in charcoal starter fluid, according to documents filed in VBGDC

Lamping’s case is scheduled to go before a grand jury on Sept. 5. A trial date in Virginia Beach Circuit Court has not been set yet.

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