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Child Kidnapped by Fake Social Worker
September 30, 2014 permalink
In North Carolina Jeanette Medleycott-Lopez, an ordained minister with a degree in criminal justice, has been accused of kidnapping a child under pretense of being a social worker. There is no word of the fate of the abducted child.
Outreach founder charged with child abduction
A community outreach founder — whose website says the woman is an ordained minister with a degree in criminal justice — appeared in court Tuesday, accused of impersonating a social worker and abducting a 3-year-old girl from the child’s father, according to court documents.
Jeanette Medleycott-Lopez, 43, of Poodle Lane in Holly Ridge was charged Friday by Onslow County Sheriff’s Office with misdemeanor impersonation of law enforcement and abduction of children.
Warrants list a Hubert address for the complainant.
Medleycott-Lopez — whose name also appears as “Jeanette Lopez” in other court documents — is accused of telling the child’s father that she was a Department of Social Services worker and Guardian Ad Litem court advocate for children, according to warrants.
“And (she) threatened to call law enforcement if (he) didn’t give his 3-year-old daughter to her,” according to warrants.
The date of offense was May 22, according to court documents.
Contact information for the child’s father could not be found.
Guardian Ad Litem District Administrator Rusty Brown told The Daily News that he cannot confirm or deny whether Medleycott-Lopez “has any past experience” with the organization.
“It is a volunteer position and she is not a volunteer with this program,” Brown said of Medleycott-Lopez.
State law defines child abduction as unlawfully taking custody — possibly by persuasion — of a child “who is at least four years younger than the person to leave any person, agency, or institution lawfully entitled to the child’s custody,” according to N.C. General Statutes.
Medleycott-Lopez indicated she was a “student-volunteer ... at community outreach,” is responsible for five dependents and receives $2,096 monthly in food stamps and Social Security, according to an affidavit of indigency.
Medleycott-Lopez was released Monday on $50,000 bond unsecured, according to documents for appearance bond and pretrial release.
Court documents list multiple phone numbers for Medleycott-Lopez and while one of the numbers — posted multiple times — is to The Daily News’ circulation department, a number listed in an affidavit for indigency reached an answering service with a woman’s welcoming, recorded voice.
“Hi. You’ve reached Jeanette at Mama J’s Helping Hand,” the woman says in the voicemail in reference to a community outreach organization based in Sneads Ferry. The voicemail later signs off, “Thank you and have a blessed day.”
A similar voice is recorded on the greeting at the answering service for the number listed at Mama J’s Helping Hand, “a local community outreach program. ... We specialize in feeding and clothing families in need,” according to the organization’s website, MamaJsHelpingHand.com.
The organization is “solely based on donations” and accepts food, clothing, household goods and money, according to the website, which claims the woman is an ordained minister who leads support groups for domestic violence and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Jacksonville attorney Janine Dunn was appointed to represent Medleycott-Lopez, according to an order of assignment or denial.
Medleycott-Lopez’s preliminary hearing is scheduled for Oct. 20 in Onslow County District Court.
Source: Daily News (Jacksonville NC)
The next day, her side.
Woman accused of impersonating DSS worker responds to allegations
ONSLOW COUNTY -
An Onslow County woman accused of impersonating a DSS worker to abduct a 3-year-old child issued a statement Wednesday, saying she never claimed to be with DSS and doesn't understand the charges against her.
Jeanette L . Medleycott-Lopez, 43, of Holly Ridge, was arrested by the Onslow County Sheriff's Office on Monday. She is charged with abduction of children (felony) and impersonating law enforcement (misdemeanor), according to warrants.
The warrants say Medleycott-Lopez allegedly approached Jonathan Davis, of Hubert, on May 22 and claimed she was a DSS worker and a court advocate for children. Medleycott-Lopez threatened to call law enforcement if Davis didn't give his 3-year-old daughter to her, the warrants state.
But Medleycott-Lopez said the allegations are false. She issued the following statement Wednesday:
"I truly do not understand why I have been charged with these crimes. I run an outreach program. It is my calling and my life's work to help people.
"This all started when a young mother contacted me and my program, Mama J's Helping Hand, trying to get help for herself and her children. She said she feared for the safety of her oldest child, who was staying with her father. The father was refusing to return the child to her. She asked me to help her have the father return the child to her.
"I told her we would try to help but we would have to call Child Protective Services. She agreed, and the mother and I went to the father's house. I told the father I was with Mama J's Helping Hands, gave him my card with the Mama J's information on it, and explained we were there to have the child returned to her mother. After talking with him, he turned the child over to her mother and we returned to Sneads Ferry.
"From there, I called Child Protective Services and turned the matter over to them.
And please, I want it understood that at NO TIME did I ever represent to anyone that I was from DSS or that I was a social worker. I do not know why these charges were taken out against me, but I am confident this is all a misunderstanding and once my side is explained in detail, this will all work out."
On Tuesday, the father of the 3-year-old girl gave NewsChannel 12 his account of what happened. Davis said Medleycott-Lopez was accompanied by the mother of his child when they knocked on his door. Davis said he believed Medleycott-Lopez when she claimed to be a DSS worker. Davis said he then handed his 3-year-old daughter to the two women.
Davis said he knew his daughter's mother was planning to leave the area, so he called DSS to find out how to legally get his daughter back. But an official told him DSS never took his child, Davis recalled.
The DSS then contacted law enforcement, Davis told NewsChannel 12.
Davis said when he was in court, he saw that his 3-year-old daughter was with another family-- one he did not recognize. Davis told NewsChannel 12 he believes his child was put up for adoption without him knowing, and that the girl had been under the care of the other family since May. Davis also claimed his child's mother and the suspect received money for the adoption.
Davis has since been reunited with his 3-year-old daughter. The Onslow County Sheriff's Office has not confirmed Davis' account of what happened.
Medleycott-Lopez posted a $50,000 bond and appeared in Onslow County District Court Tuesday morning.