Woman faces federal charges in Amber Alert hoax
Posted September 10, 2009
Updated September 11, 2009
Smithfield, N.C. — More than a year after Amber Alert was issued for a Johnston County boy who was never missing, federal authorities said the woman who made the false report was actually the child’s aunt, not his mother as she claimed.
Rosnah Hassan Thomason told authorities 3-year-old Siraj Munir "Roji" Davenport disappeared from Brightleaf Flea Market, on U.S. Highway 301 South in Smithfield, on May 18, 2008, while she was loading groceries in her car.
Smithfield police, Johnston County deputies and the FBI searched for the boy on the ground and in a helicopter for three days before determining he hadn't been abducted and that the report of his disappearance was false.
Thomason was charged with knowingly and willfully making materially false, fictitious or fraudulent statements to law enforcement, according to a criminal complaint filed Sept. 4 in U.S. District Court.
Throughout the court documents, the child is referred to only as “MHK.”
The complaint states that Thomason and the child had tickets to fly on May 12, 2008, from Raleigh-Durham International Airport to Atlanta and then Minneapolis-St. Paul. Travel records show Thomason then returned the same day to RDU without the child.
Authorities also said they found an Internet printout explaining how to report a missing child in Thomason’s possession. The printout was dated May 12 – six days before the child's alleged disappearance.
According to the court document, on May 19, 2008, Thomason admitted that she lied to law enforcement authorities. She claimed her brother, Kamarudin Hassan, had forced her to give him the child. In a written statement, Thomason said she had to turn over the child to her brother to ensure the safety of the child, herself and the child’s father, David Davenport.
Thomason claimed that in October 2008 she was to reclaim the child when she signed over part of her inheritance, according to the court document.
On May 19, 2008, border crossing information determined Hassan and the child were on a flight that would be stopping in Japan. FBI and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents met and interviewed Hassan in Japan.
Hassan told authorities he was the child’s biological father and that Thomason refused to return the child to him after a visit. Hassan said after he threatened to involve authorities until Thomason agreed to return the child.
Hassan and the child’s passport information were determined to be legitimate. Authorities also found that in e-mails from Thomason to Hassan she referred to the child as his son.
Thomason is expected to appear in federal court on Friday.
Authorities said Thomason was unable to provide proof of Siraj Munir "Roji" Davenport’s birth and that she was his mother. There were also inconsistencies with Thomason’s story about the child’s birth location. She reported he was born in the United States and then later said he was born in Singapore and then entered the U.S. with a passport. She claimed the passport later expired.
Further investigation showed Thomason did have a son in his teens with the same first and middle names as the child she reported missing. The teen’s birthday was also the same as the allegedly abducted child – Aug. 23.
Eric Thomason, the father of the teen and Thomason’s ex-husband, confirmed to authorities that the child “MHK” belonged to Hassan.
Rosa Cortez and her husband, Olegario, run the Brightleaf Market. They remember the massive search when the incident was reported.
Since the flea market was a potential crime scene, Cortez said, they lost a lot of business during the three-day search for the child.