A Lincolnton woman will appear in court later this week after deputies charged her Tuesday with falsely reporting that her daughter had been kidnapped from their home, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Deputies issued an Amber Alert Sunday night for 3-year-old Christina Grace Koonce after her mother, Mary Grace Bowen, told deputies a relative of her ex-husband forced the child into his van at her residence, 360 Grandview Lane, and drove away, according to an agency press release.
Beaufort County authorities located the child early Monday morning in Washington, N.C., where the Sheriff’s Office said the family lived earlier this spring.
The woman and her children moved to Lincolnton on May 3.
Bowen first told deputies that Troy Koonce Jr., who was charged Monday with kidnapping the child, was not related to the toddler and that he had come to the woman’s new home to ask her to move back to Washington. When she refused, he took the girl, she said.
During further questioning, investigators said they learned the man was actually the child’s father and that the woman had lied.
Pitt County Register of Deeds maintains the child’s birth certificate with the man’s name listed as the father, the release said.
Bowen has been charged with one misdemeanor count of false/misleading/unfounded report to police/law enforcement.
According to the arrest warrant, the woman “unlawfully and willfully did make to law enforcement officer Det. Kelly Paris a false report and state that her…child had been kidnapped by Troy Lee Koonce, Jr.” and that he “was not the biological father of this child when in fact he was for the purpose of interfering with the operation of a law enforcement agency.”
The felony kidnapping charge against Troy Koonce Jr., has been dropped, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Lieutenant Tim Johnson noted his agency would not have issued a statewide Amber Alert Sunday had they known the child’s father took her.
Amber Alerts are not issued when a parent takes a child, unless the child is believed to be in serious danger, according to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety website.
Bowen remains in the Harven A. Crouse Detention Center under a $10,000 bond.
Her first court appearance is set for Friday.